I have googled pretty much everyone I’ve ever met, not out of any real interest in their lives per se, but because I suffer from clinical procrastination. (If you’re reading this and you know me, there’s a very good chance I am an expert on your Internet footprint.) Most people I know are pretty boring, but every once in a blue moon I hit PAYDIRT. Probably my best find was some years ago when I uncovered my estranged uncle’s karaoke website. Then there was the time I learned all about how my college boyfriend married a chubby girl with crazy eyes who was described in their wedding announcement as the granddaughter of a Confederate general.
Heaven help the people I know with profiles on Internet dating websites, because that’s the type of shit my sister and I read to each other over the phone in funny voices.
Now it’s one thing to admit all this to you here where I can describe my actions in context. But sometimes I worry that when I’m perusing, say, my middle school classmate’s myspace page, there’s some sort of Big Brother function tracking my every move. Given that Amazon sends me follow-up e-mails about the humidifiers I browsed a few days ago, I can only imagine that there’s some sort of red blinking light that goes off in so-and-so’s room in his mother’s basement. “System breech,” a computerized voice might say. “Your middle school classmate is making fun of your poetry.”
I don’t know, maybe my Googley-eyed habits sound crazy. But I’d like to think I approached the investigation of my ex’s new girlfriend with a something more like boredom/scientific interest than unhinged stalker syndrome.
I am old enough that I still marvel at the personal information people post on the Internet. If I wanted, I could reconstruct this lady’s schedule over the last few years down to how often she gets her nails done. Of course, by the same token, maybe she has been reading this blog. She’s like, “I can’t believe this bitch is so afraid of birds.”
Based on this person's first name only—tap-tap-tap, without even trying—I located her Facebook profile, which was blocked. Still, I had access to all of her photos, a veritable treasure trove of images taken during her cruise ship vacay and various dreadful looking ladies’ nights. I also found her Twitter feed, where I learned the following by reading this past week's tweets:
• She is 24 years old. (Note: 7 years younger than ex!)
• She works in insurance.
• She burns pumpkin-scented candles.
• She wears her tights tucked into her bra. (What does that even MEAN?)
• She uses the word “fergalicious” in conversation.
Paints a pretty complete picture, wouldn’t you say?
All of this led to some intense speculation on my part RE: what in the world this says about my ex and, more importantly, me. Because I'd like to think this girl is my polar opposite. Everything I know about my ex suggests to me that he would hate anyone who said “fergalicious.” In fact, I'd go so far as to say that one of the reasons we ever got together in the first place was our mutual distaste for people like that.
I mean, this is a woman (um...child?) who liked the movie Country Strong.
What does it mean? I see only two possibilities:
• I never really knew my ex and he spent our entire relationship secretly masturbating to pictures of Miley Cyrus.
• I am actually a lot like his new girlfriend but I just can’t see it.
The former is troubling because it gestures to the impossibility of ever understanding what is within another human’s head or heart. But, because I am shallow, the latter is the prospect that frightens me most. Because even as I clicked through about 5,000 pictures of this lady holding TGI Friday’s cocktails in every conceivable shade of pink, there was a dull but chilling sense of recognition. There is a picture of Mr. George Michael. There are the several references to Doctor Who.
I am starting to confront the possibility that I am not the special snowflake I imagine myself to be. When I start my Pandora Maroon 5 station, we’ll know for sure.