If a man looks good on his social media pictures, you can be sure he looks even better in person. Well unless he is the special kind of men that pout for selfies and have more than two photo editing apps on their phones. For the female species, would make a longer story next time. Take yours truly for example, my best virtual friend Bob says I look like a certain advert girl on TV. Every time the advert comes on, he remembers me. He even says my hair flows just the same and my teeth have the same shine. My armpits, he swears have the same depth. The said girl shuts her eyes at some point of the advert and Bob says we have the same eyelashes. Bob has never seen me in person, neither have I him. He has a clean heart. I know you don’t have to meet a person to know that.
We are the best of friends. We have been for the last seven years. Nobody has ever believed my saying that I’ve never actually met him in person. He is my faithful follower. One of those who know the comma I didn’t put in a sentence in the year 2014 and has stalked and found out the married men who persistently comment like senior bachelors on all my posts. I send him on virtual errands like pretending to be my boyfriend among others not worth revealing. We live in the same small town, small enough for people to bump into each other accidentally; we have lived here for these many years. I know all the places he could be on every single evening, I know where he lives. I know his family, his likes, dislikes and where and when he does his locks. I know he laughs with his mouth wide open, his stomach vibrating and how far he throws back his head. He knows things about me that I never imagined anyone did. He knows how I feel about things as trivial as baby oil. We have never met.
Bob gives the best advice. He really knows me this guy. I even believe in another time he could easily have been my brother-in-law. We connect on an impossible level. I can never pick his call when in public. He is the kind of caller that makes the person on the other end speak in an overly raised voice (I’m naturally loud), laugh without self-respect and use words that would make peoples’ mothers cringe and make noise with saliva. Bob is a happy being. Ever seen one of those who make you wonder about the reality of problems? I never speak to him if I am planning on being angry at anyone for even five minutes. He makes every mountain of emotion fly past. I know for a fact Wanyambura feels exactly the same way about him as his wife feels about me!
Well, the thought to meet has crossed our minds but that is all that’s happened; thoughts sliding by swiftly. There is a certain palpable beauty in mystery. I would never want to ruin that. I would never want to let go of the suspense, the questions. I have created a world that I intend to live in for as long as it is possible. It is my perfect little bubble of peaceful friendship. Oh don’t get me wrong we fight and block each other at least twice each year, but I don’t even remember a single reason why. It is a beautiful friendship. I love it.
There is comfort in not knowing what you don’t have to. Nothing compares to having what you can never really lose because it isn’t really there in the physical sense: the real sense. I live in a beautiful time. I live in a virtual time. You see, these are the times my ancestors would never have imagined. I have a feeling they would go right back to their land if they came out now. They would be scandalized back to death.
We live at a time when social media rules. Where families and relations have been made or broken by simple typed words and a single press of the reactions button. People walk around with enough screenshots to bring down a government. Where people put out everything that was initially hidden in hearts, minds and diaries that would render homes grave silent because the mother read her teen age daughter’s diary. Where people we know are strangers online because what is out there isn’t what we actually know to be true. I live in such a time. I live at a time when it is enough to type Amen on the sufferings of the world. At such times when decency is relative.
We have strangers for friends and friends for strangers. We share photos of food and tag the hungry. We embarrass others and laugh with our over a thousand friends at their misfortunes. And it is okay. We live in a time where a day spent away from social media is questionable, it makes people wonder, and worry even, and the only sensible explanation, the only reason why our friends are offline can only be loss of phone. They couldn’t be sick, there would be hospital photos, and selfies of the good friends on the hospital bed, crowding, suffocating the patient, visiting. The only sensible social media break that you are allowed to take is if on holiday and upon your return, lavishly upload all pictures of while you were away, ask how many missed you and get welcome back greetings!
Such are the times we live in. Such are the times I live in; see Bob!
Photo courtesy: Humble Arts Foundation.