The other night, when T and I were out to dinner with a couple of friends, my BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) pinged with an urgent message from my best friend that read: "Your mom just requested me on Facebook!!!" Faster than I could order another glass of wine, I switched from BBM to my mobile Facebook and there it was, glaring at me, "Mama UnPlain would like to be your friend."
Cracking up, I hit "confirm" and turned to my friends saying, "Oh my gawd...Mama UnPlain is my new Facebook bestie." Immediately, I navigated the Facebook App on my Blackberry to the "Write on Someone's Wall" option and posted the phrase, "Hey Hook!" on Mama U's wall. Hey Hook is a phrase my mother has been shouting to my best friend and I every time we walk in the front door of my parent's house since the time we were about fifteen. Hook is short for Hooker and it sounds hilarious in my mother's Strong Island, NY accent. (For the record, my grandmother prefers to call us Ho's instilling in us an even greater sense of self-esteem.)
The morning after, when the vino wore off and I checked my Facebook to see if Mama UnPlain had updated her status to reflect that she was having a hot flash, I started to think about if I really wanted my mother having the same deep insight into my life that I give to my close, personal Facebook network. You know, like people I haven't seen or spoken to since the fifth grade. I delved deep into thought and contemplated if I wanted to take the time or the effort to create a "limited access" friend list leaving my mother with the same online persona I would provide to my employer or clergyman (if I had either of those.)
But when I really think about it, my Mama UnPlain (well both Mama and Papa UnPlain) are cool and have been especially since I entered my twenties (which I'm scarily inching closer to exiting.) They've reacted calmly to all my little fender benders over the years, calmly made sure I paid my fine after the police issued me a citation of public nudity after one night at the beach, and more often then not will indulge in a few cocktails with their adult daughter not complaining when my friends think they're being quiet at three in the morning. So what's the big deal about my mom perusing a few pictures of me wearing a handkerchief and calling it a dress or reading friends comments about my threatening to drop kick a cab driver/bartender/priest for not giving me my money's worth?
But then I thought a little further about the real negative affects Mama UnPlain being on Facebook could have on my life. First of all, our already three times daily phone call habit would increase with every status update (which is constant thanks to Facebook for Blackberry - I'm just short of updating, "UnPlain Jane is taking a piss). Furthermore, Mama UnPlain would no doubt be contacting me, my husband and my best friend every single time she logged on, not to comment on whatever was on our page, but to ask yet another question about how "this interweb site works." You may think I'm lying, but this is the same woman to who I am STILL trying to explain that that tying "JCPENNY" into a search engine is NOT the same thing as going to the JCPENNY website. So when I say, Mom, go to Google. What she does is type the word google into her MSN search that automatically opens when she logs on and then insists that she went to Google, but it doesn't work.
As I thought about the zillion other reasons this was a bad idea, my phone rang. I saw it my was my mother, so I picked it up and said, "Mama UnPlain!! What is up with you and Facebook?!"
"Oh UnPlain," she replied. "Your aunt and I don't even know how the hell we got to that Facebook thing last night. I just wanted to see the picture you told me about." At that point I realized I didn't have to change a thing life would remain the same. It would take her another year to figure out how to get back and by that time she'll have forgotten her password.