Tall Thought 32: Sunday / by Jennifer Wisniewski


"Whatever, Grandma"

Ryan got a line on some free furniture and needed me to go with him to assist in picking out a few things for his new apartment. His excitement was palpable over the phone. He was out of control with euphoria—like a game show contestant on the "Price Is Right", overwhelmed with his good fortune and unable to control all the adrenaline coursing through his veins.

So on Wednesday morning—leaving me with no choice to opt out—Ryan picked me up in a van and we headed to River North. We found the location where the treasure was and waited as his contact came to open the back door. As always, there are pleasant introductions with any new encounter. But, this specific "who’s who" scenario is starting to happen to me more and more. 

When Ryan introduced us, we both simultaneously looked at each other and said, “You look familiar. How do I know you?” We went back and forth over past circumstances, people that we knew, prior occupations. I asked, “Maybe you’ve been to my restaurant, Bread & Wine?” He replied with an emphatic “Nope.” Maybe a prior a life then. (That’s my blanket statement to end the uncomfortable courtship on how we may know each other.)

After giving up on why we look familiar to each other, we continued upstairs. Once the elevator opened, Ryan proceeded to flutter around like Veruca Salt, stating “I want this and I want this and I want this”, staking claim on every single piece of furniture. As Ryan was living out his fantasy, I finally realized that the reason I knew this man was because of Facebook. Ryan showed me a picture of him a while back after he had a meeting with him—because Ryan stalks everyone on social media. 

When the whirlwind was over, we headed back home and laughed about the awkward greeting. We talked about the fact that my new friend and I could not figure out that the way we knew each other. It wasn't through any real experience—but simply a picture on Facebook.

This particular scenario is happening to me more frequently. Every time It does, a melancholy sets in as I realize the virtual world has become real, in some capacity. I start longing for a time when that greeting would have gone a different way. A time when we might have suddenly realized that we knew someone in common, or used to go to that same place and hang out. You had a shared experience. It's what humans long for: to feel less alone. I let Ryan in on this realization on the ride home and he looked at me and said, “Whatever grandma—get over it.” as he was snapchatting.