From the Blog

The Drawbacks of Being Findable On The Internet


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Probably like most, there are people from my past with whom I choose to no longer associate. Not armies of people, or even scores of people, mind you, but enough to need more than one hand to count them. These include ex boyfriends, former bosses, not-so-great friends that I don’t really miss, and people I would maybe like to slap if I saw them. But instead of slapping them, I would likely puke on their shoes.

I wonder if I have more “regretful associations” than most people. It sure feels like I have a lot. I’ve racked them up through the years. From youthful lapses in character judgment, to manipulative former coworkers, to horrendous bosses, to psychotic psychos, and not-so-youthful lapses in character judgment.

The majority of these fade with time and distance. But I do have to come to terms with an ugly aspect of my personality: I hold grudges. Five, ten, twenty years may go by and I still won’t be happy to run into a dubious friend from my past.

I wonder if I have more former friends than most because I don’t always make it apparent that my feelings have been hurt, or I would rather withdraw than confront, and I would rather smile and nod, rather than clear the air and make amends. I’m most comfortable as a diplomat, and I’ll use whatever evasive tactics necessary in order preserve polite decorum. It’s weaselly, I know. I’m not proud.

This is one of the reasons I don’t care to be on Facebook. I don’t want to be so easily findable that some ex someone or other can look me up, and see where I am, and what I’m doing, and what I look like. Ulg.

But then, I write this blog. I’m so weird! I need so much attention! But I venture that the majority of the people who read this blog are strangers, and I don’t mind those people. I’ll tell embarrassing stories to strangers all day long. And family and current friends know me well enough to already KNOW the embarrassing stories. They were probably there when it happened.

But so far, there isn’t much connection between my name and my internet life. I can google my own name (shut up! You do it too!) and I see former jobs, places I’ve lived, and a whole slew of “real life” things I would rather keep private. The kind of stuff I’d rather not have exes able to find. In comparison, this blog is somewhat “private.”

I’m thinking about all this because last week, a former friend found me on google and sent me an email. I haven’t spoken with him in fifteen years. He was apologetic for things that occurred back then, back when I was in my early 20s. A lifetime ago. There’s no emotion left there, no anger, remorse or regret. But it wasn’t a welcome email. What can I possibly say? Plus, I didn’t care to be reminded that I’m so easily “found” out there in internetland.

I’m not changing my name when I get married. It was an easy decision. It wasn’t important to Dave for me to take his name. Nothing about our relationship has been “traditional” or governed by convention. I have nothing at all against anyone who takes the name of their spouse. It is an entirely personal decision. But we personally like to thumb our noses at the implied patriarchy of that tradition.

But then, dammit, I realized how it might make me harder to find. At least for a little while. Maybe I’ll make up a name that will be forgettable and unobtrusive. Like Spring Dangerkitty. Or Velocity Superbomb. Or Harrison Ford.

Comments

  1. Here’s how I fixed most of that Googleability:

    1) discover at age 23 (after most of those youthful indiscretions are done and gone) that you can confer upon yourself a compound nickname based upon your legal name that’s freakin’ hilarious.
    2) Whenever a form asks for your first and last name, put in your first first name and your last first name.
    3) Profit!

    The great part is that even people who met me in real life after I embraced my essential Mary Sue-ness don’t think to just search “Mary Sue”, they try to cram my last name in there, too.

    And just plain Googling “Mary Sue” leads to madness and Rule 34 all over the place.

    Muahahaha.

  2. I benefit from being one of about a million people with my first and last name. I’m no John Smith, but on the internet it’s the same difference.

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