Dear citizens of Not Yet Named City,
Every single morning at 5:45 AM, you beseech me via Facebook Notifications:
The citizens of not yet named city want you back because they miss you! Their happiness is now at 100%. Check on your city now!
I’m sorry, I’m not coming back. Never. Give it up. Please stop calling me.
I know you miss me, I know it must be rough for you. But I don’t miss you at all. Fortunately, your happiness is now at 100%, which tells me a) our virtual relationship is maintenance-free anyway, and b) missing me is one of those simulated-friend things you only do in simulated-friend-land because you are bored with your non-existence. You don’t really miss me, you just e-miss me.
I thought about checking on my city, maybe for the weekend or something, I thought I might just show up and say something like “Hi, sorry I didn’t call, but I figured if you actually miss me you’ll drop whatever you’re doing and hang out with me for the length of a pint of cheap beer or so.” But then I realized that was selfish and manipulative, and wrong. I’ve got to stop treating my friends like that. And also, you don’t exist.
My people, you do look fabulous, not existing like that. They say you can’t be too rich or too virtual. You color-coordinate well with the avalanche of status symbols and nominal Facebook clutter spring-loaded in my toolbar, that seething tower of festive to-dos that threatens to leap out and crush me if I dare click near it. Crammed into this virtual glovebox are three melting snowballs, five urgent questionnaires, two flat beers, three stale donuts gone uneaten for months, the festering underpants of Batman’s sidekick Robin, and a li’l green patch that died. None of these things are real, but all of them were gifts, so I am forbidden by ethics to ever throw them away. Non-existent gifts from absent friends, on Facebook.
Loyal Unnamed-ians, please understand: I am mortal, human; there’s only so much of me to go around. I cannot be upgraded to faster hardware just because my hit count has risen. And I am busy, with real things in the real world … if you can call writing real … well, hmmm … but I also have yardwork! Yes, yardwork is real, and I am behind on a whole lot of it! Pruning, weeding, mulching! The happiness level of the Citizens of Mykle’s Ostentatiously Large Yard never seems to rise above 85% or so, and is now hovering near 50%. Being vegetables, those citizens don’t so much miss me as they die like flies the minute I ignore them. If you, Citizens of Not Yet Named City, could come out of Facebook and visit me for once, just to help me out with the landscaping, or maybe clean the chicken coop once a week, or turn the compost, then perhaps I would be inclined to visit you too.
I also have a family to care for and support, although they are somewhat more self-sufficient than my yard. But they too crave my attention, and deserve it. They are real. I can touch them. I like to touch them, smell them, see them, jump up and down next to them, yell at them, drag them to boring events. They are physical. You are just one more source of typewriter cramps and numb butt. I know you can’t help it, I know the Facebookverse has its own physics and limitations. I’m not mad at you, I’m just tired. And you don’t exist.
Is that offensive? Is it rude for me to judge you on the basis of your reality? Am I a close-minded bigot of an existentialist? Many people are happy, proud even, to dote upon the citizens of their Already Named Cities, cities with names like Gingeropolis, Kevinlandia, The Isle of Shanelle. Civic pride thrives in these hip, humming, fictitious towns. They are the virtual cities of the internet future. Have you considered moving there?
Citizens of Not Yet Named City, I beseech thee: get a life.