Friday, 26 November 2010

When is it time to drop your Mother on Facebook?

This week something happens that causes a departure from my usual blog subject of being a sometimes lost, sometimes found, Welsh Alien in New York.

My mother changes her Facebook profile picture to one of her drinking a pint.

I show it to The Teenager (who I always defer to on booze related matters) and she tells me it's actually Sangria.

"But in a pint glass?" I say.
"Now you know how I feel." she says.

Hardly. My daughter refuses to be my friend on Facebook on the basis that she wants to be able to slag me off to her 565 friends. She briefly changed this rule in the summer when she went home for 6 weeks, after much begging from me. Her only communication for the entire time was to post "Your a massive Twat" on a Black and white 'arty' photo of me pissed in a L.E.S. bar. I posted back about her grammatical error and that she should remember her apostrophe 're. She dropped me soon after.

She will however, be friends with my Mother. Her 66 year old Grandmother. And she is unapologetic about her rejection of me. Whereas I personally felt it's a bit rude not to accept my Mum's FB friendship-what with the small matter of her baring me life.

Now I wonder if my own Mother is 'doing a me' and embarrassing her offspring on Facebook.  Is it time for me to cut the virtual apron strings? But before I click 'remove from friends' I ponder that my Mother's very existence on a social networking site is miraculous to the point of being an evolutionary shift. 18 months ago she couldn't even write an email. Now she can post pictures online, send attachments and nag me via several new mediums. There is likely a whole new section of her brain that has developed to process this new technology and her fingertips have grown little webbed pads to protect from RSI.

She has now taken to writing me emails that quote my Twitter/Facebook/Blog. In them, she will complain about information she is hearing second hand from any given social media platform:

Subject: Rubbish daughter

Hello Darling, I see from your Twitter that you have recently  *insert small, insignificant piece of news*  this is nice to hear at the same time as the rest of the world. You also Facebooked that there was  *insert small, insignificant piece of news*.   Your Mother would like to know these things. And I read your blog, it was funny, except you didn't tell me that  *insert small, insignificant piece of news*.  As The Teenager would say- WTF?

Love Mum xxx

This roughly translates as:

Hello Darling. You are a bad daughter and I will make sure to spend all of your only-child inheritance on a series of luxury cruises and overpriced M&S food.
Recently, when I complained on Facebook of my Blackberry breaking my Mother wrote the following "Did you throw it against the wall, like you did with that other phone?" I deleted this comment, as it was not only defamatory, but unfortunately true. I can assure though, that my phone hurling incidents were purely restricted to cheap nokias. I would never do such a thing now. Now I have a Blackberry that I take to bed at night. And I'm 35, of course.

Facebook has become a communicative shorthand for us all. This is what my Mother's generation might fail to get. If I emailed everyone individually to tell that what was going on in my oft' bad soap opera of a life I would never leave my computer, or sleep, or eat. 

I ask The Teenager's advice. I say that getting ticked off by my Mother on Facebook in front of my 200 'friends' is a bit irritating.

"It could be a lot worse", she says "At least she's not blogging or tweeting every detail of your life for everyone to see. Hmmm? MOTHER?"

And she fixes me with that cold stare she does so well.

"Oh right...yes."
"You really are such a twat Mother."
"Now get out of my room."
"Love you."
"Yeah whatever, shut the door behind you."


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Lost time, found again...

In order to find yourself in New York, you gotta get lost first.

Which is good, as I have absolutely no idea where I am and it's been this way for the last two hours. My blackberry keeps telling me I am where I want to be, which is not helpful, as clearly I wouldn't be attempting to get there if I already was.

The beauty though, is that I'm having such a great time being lost I've forgotton my original endeavour of trying to find an antique jewelers in the Lower East Side. Two of the diamonds fell out of my Victorian engagement ring. It survives a century intact and after just one year on my big, clumsy hands, it's screwed.

In the time that has passed I have walked past The Cooper Union and mused how it looks a little of the Armadillo exterior of the Wales Millennium centre:

I then realise I'm not even in the LES anymore finding Fonda Lolita with it's actual VW camper van parked inside at Tacombi.

I sit down with a rib and chicken taco and ended up talking with the owner who tells me tales of setting up the same restaurant in Mexico. He'd had two successful places until bird flu killed the tourist trade. Then he started making beer and got the funding to move to the U.S. and open here. In New York everyone has a movie script-worthy back story.

I leave when it's just getting dark and the blinking neon of the 99 cents store glows large. The promise of cheap tat lures me, until I realise it's a $99 store and just sells leather jackets.

Down the block is American Apparel. The very same one that used to be deluged by hipsters on the benches outside. Today there are four hobos drinking from brown paper bags on the seats that remain and AA is hawking leotards on a rack outside for cheap. Oh the economy!

I walk around to East Houston and find an Army and Navy store being run by possibly the nicest bloke in NYC. I buy combat boots and some studded leather gloves from him and his Chinese Mum who doesn't speak any English, while he tells me he doesn't have a computer, but that customers tell him "Everyone write nice things 'bout me on internet".

I find the jewelers eventually, not by means of google maps on the Crackberry but by asking human folk the way. The woman in the store chastises me for having such a dirty ring. I avoid the obvious entendre and instead thank her and express how much of a pleasure it will be to pay hundreds of dollars to get it fixed.

I take the F train home and when waiting for it close my eyes to appreciate the Jazz trumpet player busking on the platform next to me. It's the perfect soundtrack to the day. Close my eyes, breath in the last few hours, smiling, smiling...

"WHAT THA' FUCKING FUCK MAN?" the girl sat next to me is suddenly going bonkers and flailing around. I realise it's because she was listening to her ipod and the jazz trumpeter is drowning out her music.

"'Dat's some fucking buuuuulllshit right there! Shut up man! SHUT UP! No one wanna here your fucking jaaaazz ass music."

The Trumpeter doesn't even blink. She screams, he plays Miles Davis. She screams some more, he's riffing some high notes. A guy in a suit gives him $20. The girl's still screaming. Together they sound like a hybrid alternative Jazz fusion you would hear at a downtown club.

New York makes it's own music.

Today I love the sound.



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