First-time visitors to Megatonlove could be forgiven for thinking this is a gardening blog. It isn't. Only, with spring at full gallop, there's so much beauty outside that it would be churlish not to share some of its beauty with you. Mother's Day morning brought glorious sunshine, love notes and quirky hand-made presents from Legs & Noodle, and the discovery that the Papaver orientalis had started to open. I look forward to these Oriental poppies all winter long. They are the brazen hussies of the garden, their papery scarlet-orange skirts calling to mind the pleated costumes of Issey Miyake. They burst open with devil-may-care abandon, their flower heads unnaturally heavy for their stems, the ruffles and ridges of their mysterious centers coated in inky purple dust. In a few days they're gone, leaving large seed pods in their wake, victorious fists clenched to salute such fleeting splendor. As I photographed them in the early morning sun, I was filled with gladness for the mother that sustains us all. Mother Earth.
I compiled my new flower photos into an album and posted them on Facebook. Everything was grand until yesterday when I noticed that someone on my friends list had posted my photo album onto her Facebook Wall. Without my permission! It irritated me. Especially because this same person had committed the same transgression only the week before with one of my other photo albums. She'd blithely helped herself to my family pictures and posted them on her Wall without as much as a by-your-leave. I wrote her this message:
I would appreciate it if you would kindly take my album "Life in Belgium" off your FB wall as soon as possible. My family's privacy is very important to me and I would rather that my photo albums be visible only to people on my friends list. I hope you understand.
To give her credit, she complied promptly. She explained she only wanted to share them with her sister and friends - none of whom I know, by the way. I enjoy sharing my photographs with my family and friends on Facebook. It's a great way for me to stay in touch because I live so far away from my tribe. However, I remain extremely cautious about sharing my personal details on the web, and I've gone to certain lengths to protect the identities of my loved ones on this blog.
Being a thoughtful person, I'd like to respect my offender's anonymity, so I'll call her Chlamydia Burana. (Take a bow, Chlamydia, dear. This may be your moment of fame.) Chlamydia Burana is close enough to her real name, and it accurately defines someone "with an ability to establish long-term associations with host cells." Gee, thanks, Wikipedia, that scares the shit out of me. An easily-transmitted infection, terrific. Some of my Facebook friends reading this may know who I'm talking about because Chlamydia has wormed her way into their friends lists as well. When I was new to Facebook last year, Chlamydia sent me a friend request. She claimed to be my mother's cousin and, fool that I was, I accepted. I had never met her in person, she lives a safe distance away in Vafancouver, and I had no intention of ever interacting with her. I did wonder at the time why, if she was as close to my mother as she claimed to be, Mama had never mentioned Chlamydia to us while she was alive. Dear Chlammy lost no time friending more family members, and was soon busy busy busy leaving her syrupy pawprints everywhere. Secretly I began to regard her as the Dolores Umbridge of Facebook. The first comment she ever left me, on a photo album titled "What's Cooking in Megatonlove's Kitchen" annoyed me, and I knew it was more than just her appalling punctuation:
hi M, Chlamydia here, 2nd cousin of your very beautiful mommy, Daisy. your aunt P is my contemporary and i am more than happy to have found her on B's album. also, it would be much appreciated if you could post a family photo with your mommy and dad, when you can. apparently, you inherited your mom's cooking prowess. i love all of your creations but, as a vegetarian,this is my favorite! your pup eats better than i do...home cooking!! thanks for your friendship and, like what i wrote to your sister-in-law, J, i am so blessed and humbled to have touched base with family members of my most adored cousin. take care and much love...
Not an auspicious start, but knowing how prickly and saccharine-intolerant I am on a good day, I tried to ignore it and dismissed her as Gushy. Give me Cranky, give me Snooty, give me Bossy or Smelly or any of the other 27 dwarves. Just. Don't. Give. Me. Gushy. Because I'll puke all over her. And Chlamydia was world class Gushy. Upper case SMARMY too.
And so Chlamydia simpered on:
Beautiful children you have.
Legs looks like Little Daisy...
Each time she left a comment, my Bullshit Meter would ricochet. Yesterday, when I saw that she had filched another of my photo albums and posted it on her Wall, after already having been cautioned once, it was a bit much. I sent her another message, more business-like this time:
Once again, Chlamydia, may I ask you to please not post any of my photos on your wall without asking me first? I really find this most intrusive and a complete disregard of my privacy. Although we might be related, I have never actually met you and I do not appreciate the liberties you are taking. You could at least have asked me first. It might be just pictures of my garden, but still. Kindly POST YOUR OWN STUFF on your wall. Thank you, etc.
To which she messaged back:
So sorry again, my niece...
My initial sigh of relief at her reply disintegrated into snorts of exasperation when I saw that my photos were still up on her wall. What the fuck, ya great galoot?! Pathetically, I checked her Wall every half hour. No change. By then, my knickers were dancing the proverbial twist.
This time, for variety, I brazenly wrote on her Wall:
Chlamydia, this is my THIRD and final request: will you PLEASE take MY photo album off your Wall? My photos are my property, and they are not yours to do with as you please. Surely this is not too much to ask? I would not dream of posting anyone's pictures on my wall without asking their permission first. Thanks.
Adrenalin provoked un derangement in me. I decided some extra spleen might not come amiss. Going for broke, I replied to her message:
I will not accept your apology until you take my photos off your wall. For god's sake, Chlamydia, I've had enough of your games. Do you ask permission from the other people whose stuff you put on your wall? Or do you think that because this is Facebook you can help yourself to whatever you want?
Silence. My blasted photos remained on her Wall. Was she suffering an attack of sudden illiteracy? Had her computer crashed? Or was she just being an utter fuckwit? All of the above? I gave it one last huzzah:
Chlamydia, I am now very angry that after asking you 3 times, you still haven't seen fit to remove my photos from your wall. What part of my request didn't you understand? I saw that you removed my comment, but my album is still there. And please don't patronize me by referring to me as "your niece" if you cannot respect my privacy on Facebook.
Nada. I had to admit defeat. I knew what my next step would have to be. Reader, I DELETED her.
Lessons learned, in no particular order:
- I can't seem to count beyond 3 when I'm angry.
- C'est la folie to ignore mon Bullshit Meter, parce que, mon dew, il est toujours spot-on.
- Facebook's Privacy settings are a JOKE. There is no way to remove the Share option from my photos to stop others from posting them to their profile. And not only that, even after deleting Chlamydia from my friends list, my photos remain on her wall. Well, Facebook, as far as I'm concerned, you are now officially Fuckbook.
- Some relatives can be downright shits. Bet y'all already knew that.
- It feels great to let go of snakes masquerading as friends .
Before I go, I want to leave you with an imaginary message I wrote but will of course never send to her. Unless she tracks me down and reads it here:
Dear Chlamydia, what'll you do now that I've dumped you? I know I was one of the most colorful characters on your Friends List, and you will miss my saucy posts. How dreary your life will be without me. Never mind. Every cloud has a silver lining. Now that Bernard Madoff faces spending the rest of his life in prison, there may be a vacancy for you at Weasels Sans Frontieres.