Irish pt. XXXIX
By Pete Moss
"How come you don't do social media?" says YoYo to Ramona.
"I used to do Facebook, when it first came out. I had a MySpace account. But I thought MySpace was stupid."
"MySpace was lame," says YoYo. "How about Twitter?"
"I don't do any of them," says Ramona. "My agent said if I wanted a Twitter account I would have to let him check any Tweets before I posted. I tried it anyway but I it wasn't fun. Twitter is for idiots and celebrities. 140 characters? What can you possibly say in 140 characters? Every post is a shitpost!".
"They doubled the number of characters you can use a while back, but I see your point," says YoYo. "I never got into Twitter either. What about FB, or Snapchat?"
"Like I mentioned, I did FB for a bit when it first came out. I don't know anything about Snapchat. Either way, it's not my style. When I kept a journal I wrote it out by hand in one of those splotchy notebooks. Then, when I turned it into a book, I typed it out on an old typewriter I got at a yard sale."
"What year was that?" says YoYo.
"Around '02...'03?" says Ramona. "It was fun. I would be up late, pounding away on this obsolete machine. The last survivor of a decrepit monastery translating ancient writings before the world burned...I guess I was a bit of a Goth."
"How you stay in touch with your agent in NYC?"
"He wanted me to use Email. I tried that, but it was intrusive. Every time I opened my account there were half a dozen bossy emails from the guy. I really didn't like him. I wanted to keep my distance so I turned off the computer and went back to writing letters. He couldn't be bothered to write a letter and put a stamp on it and drop it in a mailbox. All he cared about was when's he gonna have the next shipment of product for him to pedal."
"Well...what was the problem with FB?"
"Oh god it was horrible! I was mobbed by weirdo fans and armchair critics. People saying really nasty stuff. They think they know all about me cause they read my book for high school English."
"Why didn't you use a fake name?"
"I tried that but FB shut it down. They said I had to use my real name."
"They do that. I can help you out to get around it," says YoYo.
"Sure. How do you think drag queens and whatnot have pages?"
"I wouldn't know about that," says Ramona.
"So you want to start a FB page?" says YoYo.
"You know....I kinda would," says Ramona. "After my book took off, I wanted to keep writing. I love to write. I just didn't want to be a 'writer'. I couldn't stand the hoopla or the...camp followers. So I started writing music reviews and stuff for 'zines and obscure websites. That was really fun. And I met a lot of cool people. But that was more than 10 years ago. I lost touch with most of them. I wouldn't mind reconnecting."
So YoYo gets out her laptop and her and Ramona spend half an hour huddled over the formica tabletop in the RV.
A few days later I say to YoYo: "You sure that was a good idea getting Ramona on FB? She hasn't come out of her room lately."
YoYo and and I are drinking coffee. YoYo is working a crossword puzzle.
"Since when do you do crossword puzzles?" I say.
"I used to do them all the time. Then I quit. Now I'm starting back up. Possessing a copious vocabulary is an admirable trait, don't you concur?"
"Huh?" I say.
"What's a 4 letter word for a variety of lettuce?" says YoYo.
"Bibb," I say.
Ramona comes out of her room at the back of the RV.
"Well look who's returned from Facebookistan," says YoYo.
Ramona is preoccupied. She gets her mug and pours some java.
"So how is it?" says YoYo.
"It's a bit different from how I remember," says Ramona.
"I don't use FB much myself," says YoYo.
"Practically as soon as I signed on I was inundated with friends suggestions. Like 90 percent of them were complete strangers."
"Yeah, that's annoying. They started doing that a couple years ago," says YoYo. "What about the other 10 percent?"
"I found my old editor from this 'zine I wrote for in San Francisco."
"There you go!" says YoYo. "How's she doing?"
"She lives in Chula Vista. On the east side....She's having a baby shower." Ramona looks crestfallen.
"Oh that's wonderful!" says YoYo. "Are you invited?"
"Well...yeah...she was really happy to hear from me..." Ramona looks perplexed.
"So what's the problem?" says YoYo.
"I can't believe it. I mean, like...Kat was a crazy, wild rrriot grrrl back in the day. Now she's a soccer mom out in a SoCal 'burb? What happened?"
I feel like I'm duty bound to enter this conversation. "People change. Once upon a time I was a straitlaced young Republican hell bent on getting into law school so I could defend the 2nd amendment til my last breath. Now look at me: I'm a guy who lives in a van on the streets of a generic California metropolis, with his black girlfriend," I say.
"I ain't your girlfriend," says YoYo.
"I was talking about my other girlfriend," I say.
YoYo and Ramona exchange glances.
"So are you going to the baby shower?" says YoYo.
"Yeah...I guess...I wanna see Kat again. But I don't know about baby showers!" says Ramona, a distinct note of panic in her voice. "Apparently I'm supposed to bring a gift. I have no idea what kind of gift you bring to a babyshower.
"I got this!" says YoYo. "You bring diapers."