jeudi 25 avril 2013

Before Facebook

Imagine being Jesse and Celine.  Well, one or the other, probably – you can’t be both.  Pick one.

OK, you’re Celine and it’s 1993.  When you meet a hot American boy on a train in a picturesque European city, you can’t just look him up and friend him on Facebook.  Because there is no Facebook.  There is no email and there is no texting.

When you agree to meet at a certain place in one year’s time, you have no way of seeing what he is doing in the meantime – no ugly drunken photos to put you off, no photos of him with girls for you to obsess over, no ambiguous quotes to drive you fifty shades of mental as you ask all your girlfriends ‘but what does it MEAN?’.

In fact, one year later you would not even have any way of knowing whether he actually turned up.  You couldn’t just send him a quick text to explain that your grandmother was really ill and you weren’t actually standing him up on purpose.

Nine years later, you could casually meet him in a bookshop in Paris as if it was just fate – without having seen a million links and ‘so-and-so is going to this event!’ and ‘please come to my book signing in Paris [insert emoticon here]’.  You could pretend it was organic with some credibility.

If the same thing happened now, one of two things would happen:
1)   I would become an online stalker; or
2)   I would never see that person again.

Either one is not quite right, even though it’s not like 1993 was perfect.  I don’t miss trying to find a phone box and 10p in the rain in London.  I don’t miss having to make reverse-charge phone calls to my parents if I needed an emergency lift at an odd time, like the time I spent all my money at Reading Festival and my mum had to come and collect me from outside TGI Fridays.

I like the future, I just don’t like it.

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