(A photo screams "1988" from the loo of the Ritz Carlton.)
Ahead of my 20th high school reunion this year, everyone was encouraged to sign up for Facebook as a way to reconnect, RSVP, receive info on reunion details, etc. Since then, I've become full-on FB fanatic. I'm fascinated, almost disturbingly so, by the whole thing. People who you were friends with, others with whom you knew on only the most superficial level, and some with whom you never exchanged a word are all suddenly in instant contact, sharing the intimate details of every moment via status updates. If one chooses to do so. And many of us, including myself, do. (The reasons why are best left to the analysts.) For instance, a friend from Latin class that I haven't seen in 20 years knows that I got my eyebrows threaded at a mall kiosk last weekend. I know my friend who lives in Australia has a daughter who likes to drink pickle juice. Others have shared an immediate laugh over swearing toddlers and debated whether or not it's ok to open the wine before 5 p.m. on a Tuesday. There are mobile uploads from iPhones and Blackberries of people's children, Patriots tailgates, the wildfires in L.A., and one shot of a stranger buying a vat of Purell at BJ's Wholesale Club.
Then, one day I logged on to find myself tagged in a prom photo that I'd never seen before. Seafoam green and big bows and even bigger hair. At first, it was as unsettling as the time my friend Rhonda scotchtaped a giant photo of Gary Gnu to my desk in sixth grade. It was open season on FB. You could hear warring scanners being fired up all over Massachusetts and beyond. I realized that while you can control who sees your information and photos, you have zero control over other people's photos and the inevitable tagging that goes along with them. So I figured I might as well just post my own. Some classroom shots and scenes from a Bermuda trip that could serve as a PSA for skin cancer. I've even made peace with all the prom photos. The one I posted here is a favorite because it's such an accurate snapshot of the era: Metallic taffeta, the faint scent of Herbal Essences hair spray and peppermint schnapps.