27 January 2013

Pitfalls

One day, you invite me into your life. You tell me all your secrets, your pain, your prejudices, and fears. You show me your joy, your loves, your passion, and laughter. We realize, together, that we share a lot.

Harmony.

We share air, giggles, tears, dinners, experiences, and gripes.

Your home is my home. Mine is yours.

One day, you tell me, "Heather! The kids are at their grandparents' house! Bring Tyler! Come on over for some wine and cheese!"

And I arrive, expecting an evening of friendship, cutting loose.

Of being me.

Me is a complicated person with simple pleasures. Certain wines, stinky cheeses, no sadness, only comedy, and lots of foul language.

You greet me at the door and I enter, knowing that I can be me because it's only my friends here, friends and loved ones who get me and know me better than I can sometimes know myself.

The conversation progresses, back and forth, ebb and flow. We are all communicating. Catching up. Sharing little details.

And then, it happens.

I. Drop. The f-bomb.

It happens. I do it a lot when I'm by myself or in the company of other adults who know me and aren't bothered by it. But I never do it in front of children. Elders. Bosses. Popes.

And you. You look at me. As if I've just shot you. And you say, "HEATHER! Take that back! Shut your mouth! There's a child in the next room!"

A child, you say? But I thought your children were gone for the weekend, to their grandparents' house.

"NO!" you respond, "It's the neighbor's daughter whom we're babysitting."

You never told me there was a stranger listening in. A stranger who is also a minor. Knowing there was a child in the next room would have changed my demeanor. My stance. My language.

But you never bothered to tell me.

In the real world, this (hopefully) never happens.

In social media? It's every. fucking. day.

And this is why I unfriended someone on Facebook. Someone I love and adore. Someone who chastised me for an f-bomb I unleashed that their friends could see. Their friends that include customers and children.

Children.

The lesson I have learned in the last few days is that if ANY of you have children lurking amongst your social media life, children who could possibly see my horribly offensive f-bombs, s-bombs, mf-bombs, etc. you need to tell me. And then I will probably unfriend you, too.

Because those children and their parents aren't as social media savvy as me or you.

I can search through the rooms of your house, looking for that elusive child or elder or boss or customer for whom I need to tiptoe around.

I can't search through the friendship connections of your Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or Blogger. That's not MY responsibility. It's YOURS.

Please learn that before you make me feel like the biggest embarrassment of your online life.

9 comments:

Poppy said...

Hi.

Please don't allow yourself to feel embarrassment over this.

If other people don't like it when you [insert anything] then they don't have to be around you. Their loss.

Life's too short to worry about this shit. :)

Dave2 said...

Yep. Been there. It still bothers me every once in a while when I think of it.

At least until I realize I don't give a shit that somebody I once knew would treat me so badly over something entirely outside of my control. Especially when they knew EXACTLY who I was and what they were getting. I'm far better off without that drama... online or offline.

Aaron "Sly" Deskins said...

Why are there children at an impressionable age on facebook? If it's a teenager, this friend may as well get the hell over it - that kid is most certainly cussing like a sailor at school.

As for the customers? well, they're not your customers, so the words you say should not matter.

Some people just take social networking a little too seriously.

Asides, you can delete messages that are offensive off your wall at any time before customers or young children see it. When running for the Legislature, I had little difficulty removing my questionable words and thoughts off facebook.

metalmom said...

Poppy's line "If other people don't like it when you [insert anything] then they don't have to be around you." made me snort!!

I'm sorry if anyone is offended. Hell, no I'm not. Let'er rip Heather. It's who you are and that person is losing the friendship of a warm, wonderfully funny woman.

Bob Mooney said...

I fucking hate it when that shit happens.. And it has. But the person who did it later emailed me an apology, saying she should have known better than to look at my blog when her children were present. That was back on my old blog, which was admittedly tamer, but still occasionally offensive.

Karl said...

Like you, I have a major potty mouth at times. Clearly. But I pride myself on not acting inappropriately around minors. My sister doesn't give a shit. She drops every word imaginable, including the F-bomb, in front of my 17-year- and 10-year-old nieces. It drives me insane.

That being said, I specifically put a "warning label" on my Facebook About page that it is rated NC-17. I give no one any illusions about what sort of language they may read there, or what sorts of sexual jokes. Same with my blog, although I am purposefully less so there.

If people can't control their own damn households, their own children, and their own computers, screw 'em. That's their problem. I refuse to feel bad about it. I'm also not going to apologize for someone else's mistakes, nor will I defriend them. That's THEIR job.

And if my kids DID happen to witness your filthy mouth in action, I'd just say, "Oh, that's just your crazy Aunt Heather, girls. She's been hitting the sauce again, plus she has Tourette's."

Megan said...

My son dropped the f-bomb for the first time when he was four or five and tripped over the vacuum. It was hysterical.

Most kids learn those words from their parents/grandparents/siblings anyway, so I'm sure it was nothing new on the kid.

People need to chill - there are far worse things out there affecting their kids, things they think absolutely nothing of.

Oy.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Poppy - I think it's more anger than embarrassment. And you're completely correct. Thanks, hon!

Dave2 - EXACTLY! It's frustrating to think that I was called out on something I do ALL THE TIME!

Aaron - I know. It's weird to me because I got my first FB account at 37, and I still don't think I'm mature enough for one.

Metalmom - Thanks, hon!

Bob Mooney - Well, I doubt an apology will happen, but hey. That's how it goes.

Karl - "She's been hitting the sauce again, plus she has Tourette's" made me laugh so hard and I needed that, sweetie. LOVE YOU!

Megan - Exactly.

sybil law said...

My kid hears me say those words all the time, and I am not bothered by it (neither is she). It's just words. Words are silly to get so upset about, unnecessarily. I focus on teaching my daughter to be kind, smart, herself, and to not be uptight.
Then again, she could never be Karl's friend on FB. He's a fucking nasty ass.