What’s the Deal with: Punctuality, Unitarians, Facebook?

17 April 2010

Once again today, I showed up early. Well, technically, I wasn’t early; but I was earlier than nearly everyone else.

I’m not sure, exactly, what happens in my mind that puts me in a different time zone than everyone else, but it goes something like this: I get an invitation to go to someone’s house at 5:00. So, thinks I, it will take me a half hour to get to their house, plus maybe another ten minutes in case I need gas or in case I make a wrong turn and have to turn around. So I plan to leave the house at 4:20. But wait! I’ve learned through the years that no one shows up at someone’s house exactly on time, so I give myself some leeway: I’ll leave at 4:40.

So all day I’m looking at the clock: It’s 2:00, do we have time to run to the grocery store first? It’s 3:00, maybe I should go inside and take a shower. At 4:00, I’m pretty much ready to go, so I sit down and read a book or check my email. Around 4:30, I stand up, put my shoes on, encourage everyone else in the house to meet me at the front door (as appropriate) and, at approximately 4:38, I am turning the key in the ignition.

It turns out, I DO need gas, so I stop and pay at the pump. Then I’m on my way. I knock on the door at 5:04 – for an event slated to begin at 5:00 – and, guess what? I’m the first person to arrive. This wouldn’t be so bad except the host wasn’t even expecting anyone yet – they’re still vacuuming, or their waiting for their spouse to get back from a last-minute errand at the corner store. So I stand in the kitchen with the host and chat, and maybe help get things ready. At about 6:15, other people finally begin arriving, and no one seems to care that all involved have been so woefully incompetent. Except me.

If you don’t want me there until 6:15, then SAY 6:15. I, apparently alone among my peers, have my life in order.

18 April 2010

Today, we attended the First Unitarian Church in Minnecrapolis. This, I think, is the fourth time we’ve attended their services (it’s also where I delivered my presentation on the Winter Solstice back in December). Jennifer arranged for us to visit a couple of closer (READ: not in Minnecrapolis) Unitarian Churches last summer but, apart from that, we pretty much only go when we’re invited.

As far as churches go, they have the smallest percentage of crap. By a wide margin, actually. There’s a hymnal book made up of Yusuf Islam tunes (as far as I can tell), many rituals that leave me privately asking WTF? every five minutes, and the occasional references to Him,  but, otherwise, it’s fine.

Today, their main discourse focused on evolution and the importance of caring for our planet. I think it was a tie-in to Earth Day. Regardless, it was interesting, inspiring, and a kick-ass substitute for the “Special Talk.”

The thing is, I don’t get it. As my friend Ryan once said, the Unitarians welcome people of all faiths and religions, but as I retorted: if you do belong to another religion, wouldn’t you attend that religion’s services instead? Also, if these people have accepted the facts about life and don’t ascribe the unknown to a whiny deity, what’s with the religion? Why not just get together and have lectures?

As always, we were love-bombed upon entrance. Even before we could check to see if our friends had arrived yet, a greeter at the door was handing us packets of information and encouraging us to enroll our son in their Sunday School Program – a program that continues into his teenage years. We took the paperwork, but I was more concerned with showing Owen the playroom than with setting up a 10-year plan for his religious education. The religious education program, incidentally, calls for a Bible literacy program from 3rd through 5th grades. I personally think my son, at that age, will still be a bit young to read a book of such wholesale violence, sexuality, and immorality. Conversely, the program “Dealing with Death” is set to begin with 6th grade, which is, evidently, eight years too late for Owen.

Anyway, I don’t mean to knock the good folks at the Unitarian Church. If you need religion, go there.

19 April 2010

Have you heard of Facebook? It’s like, all the rage. It’s kind of like MySpace, only it doesn’t take 15 minutes to load a single page, and it does not assault you with poorly encoded images and sounds.

Facebook is another thing that I don’t get.

Okay, so I get the appeal – it’s fun to check my page and see who has posted new things lately: who has a new job, who found a cool new site, who is getting married – stuff like that.

But it’s become this weird thing. When I first joined, I sought out a few of my good friends. Then “friend requests” started coming in from more peripheral people: cousins I hadn’t seen in years, ex-coworkers, and even people I’ve never actually met in person. The first time this latter request occurred, I wrote back saying, “Hey, no offense, but I have no idea who you are.” He replied with a few facts that ‘proved’ why he and I were relevant to each other, and so I figured I’d friend the guy. But when he posts things like “Cruising to Onamia to check on Kathy,” I have no clue what sort of benefit that’s conveying to me.

Then there’s the idea of commenting on and “liking” someone’s post. It seems weird that our interaction with each other has become so artificial, that we don’t even have to type “That’s cool” any longer. We can now just click a button that does it for us – as if we are just THAT busy.

I also don’t get the level of interest shown to certain comments. Here’s a rough breakdown of the four types of comments, offered as archetypes, with accompanying estimates on the number of comments each will receive (and, yes, there are exceptions):

1. BIG DEAL: I will be performing on stage at the State Fair on Sunday, if anyone wants to support me. (0 comments)

2. KIND OF A BIG DEAL: I bought a new car today. (2 comments)

3. NOT A BIG DEAL AT ALL: It’s raining out and I don’t feel like cleaning today. (4-10 comments)

4. SOMETHING I DON’T EVEN WANT TO KNOW: I just farted. (12+ comments)

And then there’s this “defriend” option. It’s kind of a way to diss someone without offering any reason and without requiring the backbone to say “I hate you” in person. First, this one person I knew from my teenage years requested my ‘friend’ship. So I accepted. About a month later, I made a post, she commented, I responded, and then she evidently felt that was reason enough to conclude our rekindled virtual friendship. We weren’t even arguing. Then another guy asked to be my friend, I accepted, but then he defriended me, only to re-friend me some months later. We had no contact – in person or electronically – during that span of time.

Last week, another person I knew from way back asked to be my friend and, again, I accepted. A few days ago, she said she was gonna be having dinner with her Dad, so I commented “please give him my regards.” Now, her Dad is a Witness, so he probably wouldn’t want to hear from me, but I have nothing against the guy. Also, his daughter is not a Witness, so she couldn’t have been offended at my comment. Still, today, whilst checking Facebook, I see she has de-friended me. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with the “say hi to pop” comment but, if so, wow…touchy. If not…then what?

But do I really care? I mean, it’s cool to see pictures of people I knew 20 years ago, to see how they’ve grown, who they married, how many kids they have, and where they live…but do I really need them back in my life? What’s more, if they are someone who IS in my real life (such as my coworkers, my close friends, and my wife), then do I really need to ‘connect’ with them on Facebook?

I tried to check Facebook again about a half hour ago. It said I need to put in my password. I did. It said that my password was incorrect. It says this everytime. Sometimes I just have to type it in like 5 times before it accepts it. Tonight, I didn’t retry.

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2 Responses to What’s the Deal with: Punctuality, Unitarians, Facebook?

  1. Cory says:

    Cory likes this.

  2. James says:

    Cory, that is pretty much the perfect comment for this post. James liked that.

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