Mind you, I don’t know half of these people. They will never join me for a cup of tea or a glass of wine. I’ll never see most of them, except on social media. It dawned on after a conversation with my husband, Scott.
Me: This is terrible! Mary still has her migraine.
Scott: Mary who?
Me: I don’t remember her last name, but she has curly brown hair and an ugly dog.
Scott: Is she a neighbor?
Me: I don’t know where she lives.
Scott: So how do you know Mary?
Me: On social media. She’s just adorable. She has the best sense of humor.
Scott: So it’s sad news that Mary, who you don’t know, who has brown curly hair and an ugly dog, and lives somewhere, has a sense of humor, and a migraine, is worrying you?
Me: I think her car broke down, too. No wait…that was Jessica.
Scott: Who’s Jessica?
Me: She has short blonde hair, two cats and a parrot with a foul mouth.
Scott: Where does she live?
Me: I think she lives near the jungle. That’s where she got the bird.
Scott: So she just has a broken-down car, two cats and foul-mouth bird.
Me: And lots of mosquito bites from the jungle.
Scott: Which jungle? Is she in Africa?
Me: I might have her mixed up with Cary who likes to wash elephants in Tibet.
Scott: Are all of your friends animal lovers?
Me: I can’t be sure. There are thousands of friends. I can’t keep them straight.
Scott: So how are your local friends doing?
Me: I’m too busy to see them. Anything could happen on social media. I don’t want to miss anything. Last week while I grocery shopped, Miriam had a huge fight with her stupid husband.
Scott: How do you know he’s stupid? Maybe it was her fault.
Me: That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows not to mess with Miriam. She’ll chew you to pieces!
Scott: Why do you have a friend who chews people up?
Me: She has interesting political views. She posts them in Russian.
Scott: You don’t speak Russian. How do you know what she’s saying?
Me: I don’t, but I don’t want to get chewed up, so I always like what she says.
Scott: You have thousands of friends you don’t really know vs. local friends, who would love to spend time with you. Even if they don’t have foul-mouth birds, ugly dogs, speak Russian or chew up their husbands, I seem to remember they are your closest friends.
Me: Hmmmmmm … My social media friends will have to do without me for a while. I’m making time for my “real life” friends. You can find us in our beach chairs at Passa-Grille. We’ll be the loud ones laughing and sipping wine, while we watch for dolphins jumping the surf.
Me: Who knew I missed my real life friends so much!
— Anne Bardsley
Anne Bardsley lives in St Petersburg, Florida, with her “wrinkle maker” of a husband and two spoiled cockatoos. She’s still recovering from raising five children. She is so happy she didn’t strangle them as teenagers as they’ve given her beautiful grandchildren. She is the author of How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood and Menopause. Her latest book, Angel Bumps, will be published by Mill House Publishing this spring. She blogs at www.annebardsley.com.