A Facebook Musing

23 10 2013

I love people and I love sharing, so you can see why Facebook would be a natural fit for me.  Though Facebook has the potential to be an incredible social tool for the positive, it is often overused in what seems to be an unhealthy way.  Two weeks ago, I decided to deactivate my account for a temporary time, a day or two perhaps, and within the first 24 hours, I noticed a few interesting things.

First, prior to two weeks ago, my brain had me on a Facebook loop!  I would plow through some e-mails and then ‘reward’ myself by checking Facebook.  I would get ready to go out, but check my Facebook notifications before leaving home.  I would skim my newsfeed prior to bed and feel a pressure to respond to the many messages that came in.  Jerusalem folks inquired about my transition to Austin, and Austin folks reached out to welcome me back and schedule a time to finally get together.

Leaving Facebook Has Allowed Me More Time In Nature - Check Out These Sweet Mating Bugs That I Found!  They Were Going At It On My Picnic Table for ~20 Minutes Straight - That's Some Impressive Stamina!

Leaving Facebook Has Allowed Me More Time In Nature – Check Out These Sweet Mating Bugs! They Were Going At It On My Picnic Table for ~20 Minutes Straight – That’s Some Impressive Stamina!

I was happy to hear from friends in both Austin and Jerusalem, but everyone expected a response and – had I indulged my Facebook tendencies – I would have spent all day in technological correspondence!

I didn’t want that.  The Facebook sabbatical obviated that need by temporarily not allowing my account to receive messages, thereby minimizing the amount of constant communication flooding into my inbox.

I Didn't Just Watch Mating Bugs - I Kicked Off My Remote Jewish Community Outreach Tour - Stop #1: Waco!

I Didn’t Just Watch Mating Bugs During My Time Off Facebook – I Kicked Off My Remote Jewish Community Outreach Tour – Stop #1: Waco!

Second, my life is quieter in a happy way.  I already have sufficient information about parties, events and gatherings around town, so I don’t need to choose from ten additional events and Facebook invites each night.  If I miss something, so be it.  No matter how hard you try, you’re always going to “miss” something!  So, better to be present and choose from a few good options.  Though it still takes discipline for me to sit down with a book and focus, I now have time to read, to watch interesting documentaries and to spend more time outside – and I’m doing all of those things.

Third, it makes it harder to connect with me!  This is strange to list as a positive, but – because I love meeting people, befriending strangers and connecting deeply – I spread myself way too thin!  I am genuine in that I care about the people who I meet and befriend, but it definitely gets out of control.  My Facebook sabbatical has slowed down my pace of new ‘friends’ and has also allowed a resting period from the friends who I already have.  (And who I care about – but sometimes quiet can be so wonderful!)

I Visited a Local Art Gallery and Artists Reception - This Painting Is So Relaxing - I Feel Like I Am Laying On The Floor, Watching the Autumn Leaves Gently Descend to the Ground

I Visited a Local Art Gallery and Artists Reception – This Painting Is So Relaxing – I Feel Like I Am Laying On The Floor, Watching the Autumn Leaves Gently Descend to the Ground

I Love This Painting - It Is So Full of Movement and Sensuality - The Painting Is Titled "Mistress to the Moon"

I Appreciate This Painting – It Is So Full of Movement and Sensuality – The Painting Is Titled “Mistress to the Moon”

Lastly, I feel less of a need to document.  When I’m at an acrojam, it doesn’t so much matter whether I’m in the cool group shot because I don’t participate in the social media platform where it will be posted. When on a trip to Austin’s first Trader Joe’s, when at a themed costume dance party or when juggling with Yair, I don’t need to capture those moments for similar reasons.  I sometimes feel the desire to update my status (e.g. “Free pumpkin carving at Carver this weekend!  Who’s in?”), but instead I opt for a solo excursion or specifically invite a single friend whose company I would most enjoy.  And, if I feel the need to share news or ‘get something out’ but don’t have Facebook as an outlet, it makes me more inclined to journal with good old-fashioned pen and paper.

I deactivated my account the day prior to my birthday and, though a tiny part of me missed the insane wall-posting hoopla, I mostly appreciated the quiet that the break afforded me.  There is something very freeing about the break and, though it’s incredibly sweet that I’ve received so many phone calls, texts and e-mails to make sure that everything is okay, it’s funny to me that not participating in a social media platform is such a radical move.

I Attended a Dance Performance of Able-Bodied, Braced and Wheelchair-Bound Individuals on the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge - A Perfect Day!

I Attended a Dance Performance of Able-Bodied, Braced and Wheelchair-Bound Individuals on the Lamar Pedestrian Bridge – A Perfect Day Above the Water!

Anyway, I will likely reconnect to the rest of the cyberworld at some point, but not before upping my Facebook sabbatical to 30-day challenge status.  Wishing you all a pleasant, relaxing and ding/beep-free evening!

[Update: I wrote the first draft of this post ~48 hours after deactivating Facebook.  It has now been just over two weeks and I am loving the hiatus and the accompanying slower pace of life.]

posted by ayo





Free Access to Airport Lounges: My New and Foolproof Approach

26 08 2012

On a few occasions where I have had long airport layovers I have purchased “aftermarket” passes to airport lounges. They ran about $20 each and were in every case completely worth the money.

Earlier this week I flew from New York City to Austin with a layover in Dallas. At the suggestion of a flyertalk forum member I decided to try a new tactic. I walked right up to the American Airlines Admirals Club doors and took out my cell phone so I wouldn’t look too sketchy. Within 30 seconds someone walked by. I said:

“Excuse me, sir. I believe that you are allowed to bring a guest into the lounge for free. Do you mind if I accompany you through the doors?”

The guy didn’t say a word, but gave me a “come on” nod. I dutifully followed and was soon sitting down to breakfast. Sweet! (That guy never spoke a word to me. Whatever.)

Relaxing in LaGuaria Airport

Relaxing at LaGuaria Airport

When I arrived at the Dallas / Forth Worth airport I learned that my connecting flight to Austin was over an hour delayed. Same tactic! This time it took about sixty seconds for someone to show up, but the first person I asked said “Sure!” In the elevator he vented about his long day, and five minutes later I was indulging a chocolate craving on one of Ayo’s most favorite snacks.

Craving indulged!

Craving indulged!

I am sure that, as long as I dress presentably and smile, this tactic will work 100% of the time. Not necessarily with the first person I ask, but I am certain that I can be in any lounge within ten minutes.

Buying passes? Never again. Try it yourself and report back!

posted by yair





Is That a Pay Phone on Your Porch?

9 08 2012

The story, by our not-so-mysterious friend in Bozeman.

posted by yair





Our Film Debut!

1 04 2012

Well, sort of.  This past fall, Yair and I were contacted by a television director working on a documentary called RV Nation for the Canadian History Channel.  We had a cameraman follow us for two days during the making of the pitch reel and were told that we would be contacted if the producers decided to move forward with production.

The cool news:  We were chosen!  Yair and I were featured in the pitch reel and selected to be part of the documentary.

The oh-well news:  The producers decided not to move forward with the project, so our being chosen is more of a hypothetical reality.

Without further ado, I give you the pitch reel followed by our snarky comments:

1.  Yair and I were both interviewed and given equal time during the shooting, but I guess the producers prefer to focus on one character for the pitch itself.  (Yair’s note: “Ayo is definitely more articulate than I am, but I’ve consciously upped my articulaticuity over the past bunch of months.”)

2.  Apparently, when you super slow down my hooping, I stick my tongue out when concentrating.  Who knew?  Also, my hooping is way cooler now.

3.  Our hair color was very bright.  I really don’t think that it was as shockingly loud as it appeared on camera, but we had put in the color for the first time ever on our own the day before the filming, so that’s what we get for being adventurous.

4.  Much of the reel was natural and unposed.  While our cameraman did interview us, most of the speaking came from casual conversation and the B-roll was of us going about our daily routine.

5.  We felt that the reel did an awesome job of capturing a slice of our Oregon experience, and kind of want them to re-join us every few months for new adventures.  I’m imagining an Austin pitch reel with hooping, food courts, yoga, rock climbing, teaching and… our brand new scooter!  Dugald, if you’re listening, how about sending Marc back for a few days?  🙂

posted by ayo





Gas Prices Do Go Down

6 02 2012

A brief note to the many people who in their constant freak-out over gas prices constantly say that gas prices only go up, and never go down.

In planning out the next leg of our driving, I was looking at Gas Buddy and began drooling over the sub-$3 gas in El Paso. (Okay, so it’s back up to a big $3.04 since I wrote this.)

Eat that, California. And gas price alarmists.

posted by yair





A Crazy Idea That I’m Not Going To Do

5 12 2011

In my trance the other night I found myself bouncing around ideas that kept popping into my head. One of them seemed fun, but too involved for me to actually do.

Facebook has made it possible to keep up with (or keep tabs on) people from various periods throughout life. I imagine that class reunions would still be cool, but that they would be very different from pre- internet-age reunions.

So, my crazy idea: What if I traveled around the United States having one-on-one reunions with everyone from my high school class?

I’m curious to see in person how people have evolved and changed. I went to a religious Jewish high school and know that peers who had nothing to do with religion in high school have gone on to become rabbis. I know that many members of my class have taken unconventional paths (like meat salesman or full-time RVer), and that a gajillion people have taken the standard Jewish route of doctor/lawyer.

People have kids. Like, multiple ones. I am so not interested in taking the time to pursue my 3:00 AM idea, but it’s fun to think about what it would be like.

Maybe reunions are good things after all.

posted by yair