Sigh. Some people get rewarded for quickly implementing and sticking to New Year’s resolutions. Me? I get told off for jumping to wrong conclusions. That it happened at all arose from a noble desire to spend less time on FB (which I cannot delete from my life because it enables me to communicate instantly with IRL and online friends at a time when I am still building up the phone book in my new smart phone) and focus more on homeschooling (which I ignored during the Christmas holidays). Then again, it may also be attributed to my ignorance, stupidity, curiosity and propensity for putting a foot in my mouth.
Indeed, I’m not exactly new to being caught with a foot in my mouth. Years ago, while I was a new student in a new school in a new country, I had the arrogance to declare what I perceived to be the weaknesses of my science teacher to our badminton captain. Imagine my shame when I later found out (through others, of course!) that our badminton captain was the daughter of my science teacher. It still amazes me to this day that I later grew close to said science teacher before leaving that school.
Nobility in purpose is one thing. Being stupid is another. And that is something that I increasingly seem to have an aptitude for. Maybe the three dental anesthesia I got for three consecutive weeks last December has something to do with it. I don’t know. But I sure thought that deciding to ignore my newsfeed when opening FB would make a fine New Year’s resolution. I mean, Christmas was over and there wasn’t any need to send and respond to greetings except those received via private messaging. After all, I got by alright for 44 years without FB, what harm would there be in not getting updated with what my FB friends are doing?
Then. An ex-office mate accepted my friend request. Now I’ve lately been picky about online protocol, maybe because I’ve begun to feel more and more that politely navigating the murky waters of friendship via the Internet/Facebook has become increasingly difficult. Also, this was one of three friends I’d last broken bread with before leaving the office. So I sent off a “Thank you for accepting my friend request” missive and wondered whether I would get a reply.
I did and we had a lovely chat that was only ruined by my mistaken assumption regarding his current marital status.
By lovely, I mean that he was also in the mood to reminisce. We exchanged the names of several colleagues and updated each other on whom we’d maintained contact with. I’d quickly looked at his FB wall prior to our chat and ascertained that he had a new cover pic with a winsome young woman grinning beside him. “Hmmm. Must be his new wife,” I thought, not bothering to read the comments.
Now, my father was a journalist and I inherited his journalistic sense of curiousity. I always ask old male friends where they met their wives, where their wives come from, etc … Since I distinctly remember being requested by this person (20 years ago) not to mention anything relating to his failed marriage, I knew I had to be tactful if I was to satisfy my curiosity.
So I tried to be discreet. I typed “Your wife looks lovely.”
Back came the message: Huh? What wife?
Now I was puzzled. “Isn’t the girl in your cover photo your wife?“
“She’s my daughter! Oh my —! How could you assume?“
How could I explain that I’d seen the pictures of other ex-office mates’ and had been stupefied to find that guys I’d considered to be, er, “not husband material” had managed to snag pretty young things as wives? Typing that would have led to more misunderstanding: he might assume that I was insinuating he’s not husband material (which was far from the truth).
I typed “Oh! How could I know? It’s not unusual … ” knowing he knew full well what I meant.
“Ah yes, I was a victim also ...” Then “My daughter thinks it’s all too tawdry! She’s right here having a good laugh –“
A few days ago, I read the comments below his photos. And. Felt my face redden. Had I taken even a minute to read, it would have been immediately evident to me that the pretty young thing beside my friend is his daughter. Stupid, stupid me! Just as well our reunion was cancelled … Moral of the story: Read comments below photos posted on FB!
So. Have I reverted to reading my newsfeed? Nah! Not doing so saves me time badly needed for planning my two HSed kids’ schoolwork, fixing breakfast, etc … Besides, I figure: there ain’t anymore male ex-work colleagues I’m likely to chat with.
Meanwhile, I have firmly resolved never to craft New Year’s resolutions out of altruistic ambitions….