Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My Mom is Stalking Me on Facebook

My mom is stalking me on Facebook.  Well, the entire Internet, really. She didn't want Facebook.  She was perfectly happy getting all of her information from my blog.  But when I took a break from writing, it caused a hitch in our giddy-up.  My mom likes news, but neither of us like to talk on the phone.  Or honestly, to talk to anyone, ever.  It's my sister-in-law's fault.  She sends pictures of my niece and nephew to my parents every time they have a trip or a school function.  I haven't sent a print picture since 2007, even the school pictures.  I mean to.  I really do.  I cut them out and clip them together with a post-it that says "Grandparents", and then they sit there until the kids have aged out of them, and I have to shred them.

So, in the meantime, I decided to hook mom up on Facebook.  That way, she could see pictures all the time.  Most of them are of cats and my chihuahua, but still.

Just getting her on Facebook in and of itself was a challenge.  She had very specific parameters.

Mom:  I don't want to be friends with anyone (truer words)
Me:  You have to have some friends, Mom.  That's how you see people's stuff.
Mom: Okay, I only want to be friends with you and J (my brother).
Me:  Well, J doesn't post.  What about M (J's wife)? What about the girls?  Your grandchildren?
Mom: Okay.  Only them.

She is also the least visual person in the world, next to me.  So, trying to verbally guide her through this process over the phone (she's three hours away) made me appreciate my husband even more than I already did.

Mom: ____ sent me a friend request.  I told you I didn't want any friends (truer words).
Me:  Mom, people can see that you're on Facebook, they are going to try to friend you.
Mom:  But I don't want any friends (truer words).  I just want family.
Me:  There's not a family button.  Just ignore the friend request.
Mom:  I can't do that.
Me:  Why?
Mom: Because that's rude.  She'll know.
Me: Okay, so you can accept her and then hide her.
Mom: You can do that?
Me: Yes, Mom.
Mom: Okay, how do I do that?

From there ensued the longest and most frustrating teaching experience I have ever had.  And I taught 7th grade.  For a long time.  The concepts of hover and drop-down do not translate between two people who cannot visualize anything.  Neither of us could visualize our way out of a paper bag, and I'm in the Target parking lot trying to picture the Facebook interface well enough to tell her how to hide someone.  It didn't go well.  I started yelling at her and hung up.  Of course, once I got home, I found out that you now had to hide someone from their page rather than hover over their name in your news feed.  So, I was wrong AND ugly about it.  And I was very sorry.

But not as sorry as I am now.  Turns out my mom is a menace on the Facebook.  She doesn't check it all that often, and when she does, she's usually several days behind me.  She also loves to look at what I've liked or commented on, which, after a couple of days/hours/minutes, I've completely forgotten about.  This combination results in a sort of stream-of-consciousness, completely contextless series of questions and responses that borders on the surreal.

This was after I posted a link to the National Zoo Panda cam.  Fairly straightforward, right?  Only she doesn't comment on the link.  She just texts me.

This one was a fairly timely comment on a profile picture of a cat.  And her travel plans.

She saw a random picture I posted (I kid you not, like 18 months before) and sent this.  I caught on fairly quickly this time.  I would not be so lucky later on.

It's hard to tell from here, but this is where I made my crucial mistake.  See that long text there on the right?  Where I said she could leave the settings like they were?  BIG MISTAKE.  So, now, when I like something just to be nice, I leave myself open to inquiry at any time.  You would think it would end here, right?  You would be wrong.

Now, the back story to all of this is that both of my grandparents died long, terrible deaths from dementia -- one from stroke, the other from Alzheimers.  You can imagine that we are all very attuned to any potential symptoms, and the texts were getting progressively more bizarre.  At one point, I thought she was trying to gaslight me.   That or the time had come to find a nursing home with the right mix of compassionate care and security doors.

I thought it would be so easy.  I set up the account.  I create the password.  She can see vacation photos.  Check, please.  What could possibly go wrong?  What could go wrong is that I have created a monster.  I've created a monster AND forgotten her password, so changing those settings without her knowing cannot happen.

I'd like a private room, please, and has anyone seen my dentures?


  1. Probably for all the same reasons R doesn't FB! Thanks for the warning; I won't request friending; don't want her to feel rude!

  2. Sorry, Mama O. Can't help myself. Posting here for you AND Mama W: