So essentially this is how it begins. It’s three and a half years ago and I am sat in the kitchen of a house I don’t like, have never liked, yet, for reasons unbeknownst to myself I found unable to leave and I am unhappy.
I should also mention that perhaps it wasn’t entirely the house I didn’t like, but perhaps the landlord.
Now I know what you think I’m going to say, after all, I am reasonably young, it is safe to assume I am a bit of a party animal, look at me, i clearly am not, you are wrongly assuming that i’m going to say, I had a little party and then he came round to inspect the house and just because the lounge was missing presumed dead and he deduced by bond what a twat.
No. In fact that is completely wrong for two reasons, firstly that the house was so terrible, so inappropriate for developing any sort of socializing arrangement that it had no lounge. And secondly that there had never been a party in that house, nor would there ever be on account of the 3 chairs available for the housemates to utilise. The nearest we came to excitement was a minor argument about fridge space or perhaps when someone bought Tesco Value hummus instead of the Taste The Different.
However my landlord used to come round and inspect the house, spend the entire day in the house mending something that didn’t need mending or perhaps leave some junk on the landing or walk mud into the hall carpet, with his family, yes his family, his large family of loud irritating children, on a Saturday morning, pre-9am of course, when else, do their washing, have lunch and let the kids terrorise the inhabitants of this dive of an establishment. Now I don’t have a problem with children. I just don’t think that letting them scream and shout before midday is acceptable.
However the landlord is not the reason I was quite so glum and unhappy. The reason for my unhappiness was facebook. It wasn’t obviously facebook, I couldn’t have turned to a friend and said, “I’m unhappy because of facebook”, but, now retrospectively looking back I realise it was making me very sad.
Now at that point in my life, I was in a solid relationship, had a solid job and regularly passed solids. I had the fundamental elements of happiness. But on facebook people I knew, my facebook friends were in another land, a land very clearly defined as a better, greener and brighter land. Facebook was simultaneously telling me that my facebook friends, were the following:
Happier, Having more fun, Liking more things than me, Looking forward to more things than me, Getting drunker, Getting more stoned, Having kids and, now this is the kicker, smiling more.
Everywhere I looked people were uploading pictures of them smiling everywhere, it was like a colgate advert or auditions to be John Bishops double:
“Here’s us smiling at the park”
“Here’s us smiling at the Cemetery”
“Are you smiling hard enough?”
“Here’s us smiling at the supermarket buying some floss!”
All around pictures of people smiling. I looked at them smiling, I looked over the fence at the smiling people and saw lushious green healthy grass and then looked at my side of the fence and saw a barren patch of dead yellowed grass.
You see if you imagine that distance and time are barriers, a wall if you will, preventing you from seeing how the other half live, then Facebook you see is a window through that wall. But it’s not a normal window, it’s a selective window, a window that is polarised and evil. It shows snippets of the best of times or the worst of times with no middle ground and that, that is what I had failed to realise.
(To be continued in part 3…)