No Social Netowrk Day 12: The Unobserved Life

I’m on a no-Facebook-and-Twitter diet for Lent

Yesterday, it was gorgeous in San Francisco. Sunny and windless like a summer’s day, well, a summer not in San Francisco. I walked up to the roof with NYTimes and settled into a reclining deck chair. Life doesn’t get much better, but wait! It does, my neighbor and her friend showed up with her adorable dog and we sat and chatted for a while. During that conversation, I arrived at the theme of this post: the unobserved life.

Does sitting on a roof, in the sun, with a view of Alcatraz, Angel Island, Martinez, wealthy yachters and Fisherman’s Wharf become much sweeter telling people about it? Or can I enjoy it without telling anyone. Is it sweeter either way? I’ve been a fan of documenting the day to day trials, not so much to sweeten them but because of the joy of sharing, perhaps. So my conclusion the other day, when I really thought of this theme, while changing my laundry, was that it is nicer not to document things like “changing my laundry.” Any daily blogger knows it reaches a compulsive height at some point to document each and every action, fed probably by comments and responses. In our blogging/writer’s circle it became “Do we write about taking an umbrella to work? It’s useful information, but are daily tasks good writing fodder?” I call this the “don’t tweet what you ate for lunch,” but in reality, I do it all the time.

I knew a woman once who took a picture of herself at work every day. A mutual friend and I discussed this- I’d done a daily photo project before, but only pulled the printed binder out when someone expressed interest. The thing about this woman is that it had a whiff of “checking if I’m still cute.” If that’s possible to decipher from a photo.

My brother-in-law takes amazing photos, and tons of them. You can tell how much beer he’s had by the frequency and number of photos. It’s an expression of loving life, and loving what he’s doing, and documenting it. It’s all fine, but a bit unnerving if you don’t know him (or this habit).

Back to the roof- it is awesome just sitting there, and I’ve had enough friends up there on sunny days to know that folks know it. There’s no point in bragging, there are definite downsides to living there- like the drugs I just confiscated from a planter, or the exorbitant housing costs. But it is possible now, with this FB hiatus, to enjoy without documenting. Oh whoops, just did, ha.