The Social Network

Yep.  It’s the blog about Facebook.  What a hipster I am.

To preface, I feel the urge to brag about my current relationship with Cat Petroccia, something that was Facebook news earlier this month. And some people are itchin’ to hear the story, so here comes my condensed version of The Notebook (except we’re not old…yet). Catherine is the cat’s pajamas, the bees’ knees (yep, PLURAL bees). She’s the Black to my Jack, a quickly learned mutual idol between the both of us. We met in Ferrara, as part of my study abroad program in Italy. I’ve never hit it off as fast as I hit it off with Petrocc’. Those grand-slam-over-the-wall-good-night-sleep-tight-ballpark-emptying-walk-off-in-the-bottom-of-the-ninth-kinda-butterflies, baby! Ain’t this sappy? Since our stint overseas, we decided to show the world of our early twenties love online, something coined nowadays as making it ‘Facebook official’. And since then, all I can say is that I’ve been completely enamored by the best relationship to date. Cat don’t care if I talk to other girls. Cat don’t care if I don’t call her all the time. Cat don’t need no man to make her happy, but she sure as hell enjoys one that does. But you know what the best part of it all is?

Our relationship is entirely staged.

If I’ve yet to give you a reason to despise me, this is it. I accept my ass-hole antics that probably lowered your trust in me, all part of a social experiment that I felt like participating in just to prove some gaudy point about Facebook. Fuck you, Sam! But before I justify myself, I’d like you to hear from my soon to be ex-fake-long-distance-girlfriend. Please welcome the Leaky Faucet’s first guest writer, Kitty Purrtrocia.

Let me start by saying I have never been in a relationship; I’m extremely ugly and annoying and boys run away from me. Just kidding, I’m gorgeous and hilarious-I have just never found someone who I thought was worth shacking up with. ANYWAY, this faux relationship I have been in for the past four weeks has been my first relationship ever, but Facebook made it seem as real as could be.

Samuel and I started to ‘date’ on February 29 (mhmm, Leap Day) and were set to break up on April 1 (mhmm, April Fools, fools). We decided to be in this Facebook relationship and were excited to see how others would react to our new relationship. What jerks, right? So we edited our Facebooks and within a few clicks, I was in a long distance relationship with the talented, handsome yet quirky boy that is Samuel. Well, Samuel’s Facebook friends really took our relationship to heart; liking it, commenting and stalking my page to see who the fuck this New Jersey girlfriend was. On my Facebook page, a few people liked the change, but mostly Samuel and my mutual friends commented on the status since they knew it was fake.

I’m going to be honest, part of the reason I wanted to be in this fake relationship was to make another boy jealous. This someone, let’s call him Romeo (pshh) and I have been really good friends and recently hooked up a couple times which is awesome but scary because when you actually like someone and start to connect physically, you start to ask questions like “what is this?” or “where is this going?”. When Samuel asked me to be his Facebook girlfriend I was like YES, perfect-something I can throw at Romeo that would make him jealous and influence that “want what you can’t have” mentality. I’M AN IDIOT. I was waiting for Romeo to send me a text about my new boyfriend like “who’s your new boyfriend, huh?!?!” or “wait, I like you! Why are you dating this loser?”. But I got nothin. NOTHIN. Now my relationship with Samuel was making me paranoid- did Romeo actually not care? Was he relieved that I was in a relationship so now we didn’t have to talk about our “feelings” for each other? Damn you, Samuel, this Facebook relationship is making ME crazy. Maybe Romeo was smart enough to NOT believe what was on Facebook. Oh, Romeo.

Someone I work with asked me the other day, “Do you have a boyfriend?” And because I actually do NOT have a boyfriend, I replied with a huge “NO.” with a touch of my “fuck love” attitude. But then I realized, on my Facebook, I DO have a boyfriend and if you don’t know me that well, you’re probably using my Facebook page as a way to “get to know me”. Social media makes it really hard for people to hide their lives. There are some ways to keep your social media profiles discreet, but a lot of people decide to put it all out there. And people usually believe everything they see on Facebook. Apparently when you’re in a real relationship with someone, it’s officially “official” when the relationship is on Facebook. What the hell? Why do we need to expose our intimate relationships on the internet to the world (seriously, the WORLD)?

Facebook relationships are silly and I think if you’re in a real relationship you should enjoy being happy with your cute boyfriend or girlfriend and not care about what it says on your Facebook page. Maybe I just should have said that at the beginning so you didn’t have to read my rant and stupid boy problems.



So what the fuck, Sam? Why throw yourself into an artificial situation, only to be falsely viewed and bombarded with questions that would merit legitimate answers? People’s lives are at stake, man, and you think this is just a game!

Let’s break it down:

Motive One (to enter into a fake facebook relationship): Attention.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll proudly say it again: I love my internet attention. I’m a constant self-promoter and avidly use social networks to get my work seen. So when the thought of doing something drastic like dating somebody presented itself to me, I knew I would stir up the gossip pot. Sam, who’s the new girl? Sam, we just talked and you didn’t mention anything to me about a lover! Sam, props on the new ladyfriend! All of that attention I got the first week was entertaining, but something inside of me felt sick. I suppose I’d best describe it as deception, as living a lie. I was bullshitting everybody, and they bought it. Of course that only means that I have a lot of trust in my friendships (and I hope that this doesn’t ruin things), but deep inside I worry about the boy who cried wolf. I got what I sought, but it didn’t feel right.

Motive Two (in the deceit of my internet friends): The Wedding Band Theory.

You know the scene: The 30-something single, independent woman finds herself sitting at a barstool, chatting to an equally independent and attractive male while sipping a Gin & Tonic. The conversation is full of sparks. Yet, she keeps finding her attention drawn away from her partner’s eyes towards the ring finger of the married man eating dinner at a nearby table. She finds her urges doing the same. Cat alluded to this above: the ‘you can’t touch this’ mentality. Somewhere inside me was a voice telling me that if I wanted girl attention, I’d have to create a conversation piece in which ‘Juliette’ could safely reveal her feelings to me without expecting a confession in return. Like being exempt from the dangerous land of emotions. I was waiting for the female attention. It never came.

Motive Three (in the solidification of my egotistical doom):
Testing the Waters.

In acting upon my desires to fulfill this experiment, I swore oath to live the life of a taken man for the entire month of March. Yes, I had to throw away the Cassanova lifestyle I was leading in the sacrifice of social science, a brutal challenge for a Don like myself. But I survived. And in that, I learned a lot. For example: if an actual relationship were to present itself to me, I would want to be ready. Part of being ready is understanding just exactly how much difference there is between living a single life and nurturing a healthy relationship. No more this, no more that kinda thing. I wouldn’t want to fuck up the potential because my heart was elsewhere, be it in my independence or in my creative endeavors. I would want to be ready to make that transition, and the past month was a test drive of that mindset. And in the end, this is the only motive that proved positive for my life. I was more confident with the idea of being taken (even if I technically was single, even though I wasn’t. It’s a mess).  I didn’t find myself fantasizing about imaginary romances with the stranger on the bus. I stopped being so infatuated with the idea of spontaneous love, the kinda shit you only see in RomComs. I was just more myself.
And that was cool.

Insomma. I’ll end tonight’s ramblings with two completely honest paragraphs. Cat, you are actually the coolest. And you know that. My homegirl, sister-love. I suppose it was a bit spontaneous that you Facebook-chatted me the night that this idea was building in my brain. But really, you’re the only ragazza with whom I’d have wanted to fake a relationship. I hope this doesn’t change our friendship. It probably will. Guys and girls can never be just friends. See When Harry Met Sally. Just kidding, they totally can. We totally will.  Love you, girl.

To come full-circle on my hipster-ness, I conclude with one biased criticism of the alternate reality that we have accepted called Facebook. It’s a social construct. If anything, I’ve learned that we have the power to create ourselves like never before. I choose my profile pictures. I choose who can see them. I lead people on a predetermined path in their judgment of me. I have the power to become who I want, first on the internet, then transport that persona into real life. Secondly, Cat said something along the lines of:  ‘I think Facebook influences the way people perceive things’. I think so too. What used to be reflected from real life has been reversed; news comes from Facebook to the real world. I learn things about people that I never would have thought to ask. It’s quite voyeur. But it all depends on whose hands are manipulating these powers. I use Facebook to keep in touch with all of my friends around the world. It’s a borderless reality that is fufilling when the distance is too great. Truly, I use the social network to be social. But there’s a dark side, too. And I think we all know the evil potential of being deeply bound to everybody around you.

Ten points for Zuckerberg.

Anyway, April fools bitches. My prank lasted a month. And it’s probably true that I Punk’d myself harder than any of you guys. But it was entertaining, and I’m glad it happened. I found some more social awareness. I also had a reason to write.  And in the spirit of today, I will celebrate a mildly effective joke.

Unless all of this is bullshit, and Cat and I are actually together. (Theme to ‘The X-Files’) 

-Sammy G


A Collective Encumbrance

Earth.  Northwestern Hemisphere.  America.  United States.  Colorado.  Boulder.  30th Street.  House.  First room on the left.  Computer chair.  Fingers.  Keyboard.
The current hour is 22:34, Mountain Standard Time.

To my left lies a half-full carton of King Soopers brand almond milk nestled close to a tower of Kroger Crispy Rice.  On my right sits a curvy white bowl where these two simple ingredients couple in a whispering orchestra of snaps, crackles and pops.  The residue reveals a dozen stranded grains, those fortunate survivors of my mouth-attack; (wait, can anybody actually eat every single krispie?  In a cereal apocalypse, these fuckers would be the first to survive and the fittest to repopulate.  Good luck Cocoa Puffs).  I swivel in a fancy computer chair sporting only boxers, winding down after a three mile uphill run. And for the record, I stink like hell, so don’t start thinking all sexy.

It is Wednesday, the 7th of March 2012, and I’m halfway through another suicide semester.

During this time, my life tends to go a little something like this:

7:30, wake up.  Shower, shave, brush teeth.  Hobble towards fridge for food.  Turn on computer.  Facebook.  Check e-mail.  Eat food.  Read.  Drink water.  Take vitamins.  Pull out homework.  Do homework.  Read.  Facebook.  Figure out wardrobe.  Think about who I see today in order to further decide on wardrobe.  Put on cologne.  Go back to bathroom, check face, check hair, check teeth.  Finish homework.  Pack up backpack. Walk to bus.  Wait for bus.  Think about the world.  Look at the mountains.  Bus comes. Flash bus pass.  Strut my shit while searching for a seat.  Sit down.  Peoplewatch.  Get off bus.  Walk to first class.  Strut my shit.  Take out notes.  Drink water.  Leave first class.  Strut shit.  Second class.  Talk.  Take notes.  Eat an apple.  Leave.  Strut my shit. Third class.  Eat a Snickers.  Take notes.  Leave.  Strut shit towards bus stop. Peoplewatch.  Bus pass, walkway, seat.  Walk home.  Think about my day.  Make lunch. Play Gears of War.  Play guitar.  Get on computer.  Leave house.  Get in car.  Drive to work. Work. Think about kids.  Think about the world.  Play. Leave work.  Come home. Order food, make food, or skip dinner.  Relax.  Pull out homework.  Read.  Write.  Take notes.  Go to gym.  Do gym.  Listen to music.  Peoplewatch.  Come home.  Shower. Facebook.  Eat cereal.  Go to bed.  Think about life.  Think about sleeping by myself. Think about my pillow.  Roll over.  Sleep.  Repeat.

Damn, thanks for reading all that.  Sure, it sounds monotonous, but it’s a routine, and at the core of every repeated day lies some sort of established pattern.  And of course all the oddities that freckle the day keep it worthwhile, but for the most part I have just sketched my every Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday.  Hell, at the rate at which these weeks fly by, I would be more inclined to use that routine to describe one extremely long day opposed to the length of a week.  And with each new week that passes, the workload grows.  I can’t say what will happen come the end of April, but I imagine it being just like my run earlier this evening: a constant uphill struggle.  The weekend is an entirely different monster, though, and thankfully so.  It keeps people sane.  We need our release.  We need a checkpoint, even if it just means we’re now closer to returning to the race.  But you know what I’ve noticed lately?

Nowhere in my day-to-day do I leave space for anybody else.

Oh Sam.  You selfish prick!

Hey now.  Before the gavel can proclaim death to my social world, I’d like to call upon myself to testify.

It’s no doubt that my life, like most of the lives of everybody I know, is a swirling goliath of obligations and motivations that consume body and psyche.  Between work and school, I hardly have time to satisfy my craving for something creative, and even when I do it is at the sacrifice of at least three other interests.  I haven’t painted since Italy because I started writing again, which severely cut into time to watch films.  I just began reading Life of Pi, which means two other endeavors are about to exit my schedule of recreation. And I haven’t drawn since January, which is when I picked up where I left off in the gym. Something always tends to balance another.  So what happens when we add people to the mix?

I recall a diagram of a triangle labeled “College”.  On each corner of the triangle are three simple phrases: “Social Life, Good Grades, Enough Sleep”.  And underneath the title there is a key to interpret the drawing, labeled with only one direction: “Pick two”.  In an ideal world, this diagram would have no guidelines, it would be drawn in the shape of a square, and the fourth corner would say “Lots of sex”, but god damnit this isn’t American Pie.  So we’ll stick to the realistic triangle model for now.  At this point, it’s clear which corner suffers the most in my life, and I’ve made my decision based on what I value least: sleep.  (P.S., after 784 words, the time is currently 12:10am, 8 March 2012).  Onwards.

If I have no room in my schedule for people, then technically shouldn’t I be constantly alone?  Surprisingly, I find myself always in the company of another and almost never finish a day without spending time with friends.  The kicker: my company always exists inside of the routine.  That is to say that I tend to make space for people only if we’re spending time over a mutual productive interest.  I’ll invite somebody to the gym with me: productive and social.  I’ll ask people to coffee to study: productive and social.  I’ll grab a quick dinner between work and homework to discuss classes: productive and social.  Almost all of my daily interactions revolve around the personal motive of spending time well, and as terrible as it sounds, I can hardly afford to do something completely unrelated to this model.  It goes back to the perfectionist mindset.

I don’t know when it started, or why, or any of that psychoanalytical bullshit.  All I know is my obligations will linger like a raincloud until I see their full completion.  I can’t enjoy myself fully knowing that there are things that must be done.  Yeah, it’s a beautiful trait when homework is split by days, but as you can imagine those long projects can be the death of me.  Some see this as exhausting, unbalanced, somewhat psychotic way to live (because after all, everything you finish will only bring something bigger to be chiseled way.  See the Myth of Sisyphus).   But I see no other way to live a complete life.  After all, productivity only inspires more productivity.  In response, we often think of ideal situations in which time is abundant.  Man, I’ll have so much time to do everything I want this summer.  If I didn’t have school today, I would clean the house.  If work gets canceled, I’ll finally be able to catch up on homework.  The fantasies keep going.  The irony?  After the second week of May, I can’t seem to find the inspiration to shave my face, let alone mow the lawn.  Without something to do, we’re swallowed in the whirlpool of boredom, and there’s nothing more unproductive than an idle mind.

The real issue then exists in doing something outside of that routine.  Since time has become a commodity, I’m always thinking about the best way to spend it productively. And I won’t enjoy myself if I feel it being wasted.  So to be offered an experience outside of that skeleton is the same as driving North to go East: not entirely the wrong way, but still not the right one either.  Here’s my finality:

Sometimes I want to be alone.  Sometimes I want to do my own thing, in my own space, at my own time, without having to respond or react to anybody.  In a healthy and respectful relationship (of which I have many), this basic human desire is awarded without question.  The burden of all of our friendships together, however, can be overwhelming at times.  We feel the need to reward appropriate time to everybody, to keep up with everyone’s lives, to fight the natural tendency that drifts people apart. Think about the last time you ran into somebody with whom you haven’t spoken in a while.  A normal semi catch-up conversation, a couple of awkward silences, and more often than not an ending that lands somewhere along the lines of “Hey, let’s get together soon!  We definitely should hang out!”  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s that kinda phony shit.  More often than not, neither of you truly mean it, and if you do, you wouldn’t have to say it. And besides, there’s always a reason for not seeing somebody for a long time. It’s an upstream swim to try and force a relationship.  People’s lives are in constant motion. Since my first trip to Europe in 2007, I’ve accepted the fact that most of the people in your life will be around for a short while.  Enjoy it while it lasts.  And next time, a “It was really nice to see you again” works just as well.  You may even surprise yourself with your own honesty.

I can’t say I’ve had another epiphany about friendships throughout this writing.  If anything, I’ve only affirmed that I want to live my life according to the urges that dictate it, not by the people that demand it.  It’s selfish, but I have no time to be living somebody else’s journey, and I don’t imagine anybody wants to take on mine.  So let’s give each other a break, shall we?  We’ve all got half the world on our shoulders as it is.  I don’t want to add to the burden.  Instead, I want to remind people how much I love them without needing them to be near.  Drop a comment on Facebook.  Send a text.  Hell, write a letter.  But don’t expect anything back, or you’re doing it wrong.  If your friendships are worthy, I’m sure understanding will be mutual.  And something like that could just make somebody’s day.

Anyway, since the beginning of this wordtrek, I’ve moved from room to shower to room to bed, leaving me in the quiet dark, guided by the backlight of my computer screen.  I left my almond milk on my desk, and I’m too cozy in between my sheets to creak along the hardwood floors and return it to it’s frigid homeland.  If tomorrow I wake as an optimist, I’ll be happy to not have to walk to the kitchen to make my breakfast.  If I play the pessimist, I’ll complain that the milk is warm.  And if the actual reason that I don’t want to take the milk back is because I sleep commando, then I suppose that makes me an honest realist.  But I prefer “imaginationist”.  Time to roll over.  Sleep is near.

The current hour is 1:15am, Mountain Standard Time, somewhere along the Milky Way.