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Sunday, May 30, 2010

100 chopsticks

When I was living alone in Makati, I didn't have any spoons nor forks. I hated washing the dishes.Living in my parents' house,  I had my fair share of washing the dishes every night since I was 12.

So I bought myself every 2-3 months, a pack of 100 disposable wooden chopsticks. It took me quite some math, that i was going to eat one full meal at home, anyway, as I have an hour's lunch at work, and my colleagues often have breakfast afterwards (I worked during the night shift), except for weekends. That meant a pair of chopsticks for 5 days a week, and twice during the weekends. That's (5 + 2 + 2) x 4 = 36. It took 2 and a half months to consume a full pack of chopsticks. All I needed to worry abput were my pots and pans, and the dishes I used. It was a relief that I didn't have to wash for an entire family. It was the cooking that gave me the most grief, but that's an entirely different story.

So there I was, configuring my life as I want it to be. Disposable chopsticks were my solution to life's unnerving woes. I would have gotten paper plates, but they were too soggy.

Life has its disposable wooden chopsticks, its paper plates, paper cups... They're called online friends. Faceboook is one big supermarket of disposable products. Yahoo Messenger is probably the toilet paper
of disposable goods in the web community.

I'll tell you why: You don't get attached to them. When they make a mistake, they're gone... deleted, bl;ocked, and sometimes reported. When you're friends, and you have seemed to have "grown together," you become best of friends as long as you are online. After you log off, you have an entire alternate universe called "life." You have problems unrelated to ach other, and the next time you are online, you assume different identities. You need to disrobe of your normal life and assume the role of online friend. If there is something you and your online friend cannot agree upon, you simply chuck the online friend and choose another one, After all, it's not just 100 chopsticks out there. You can have a few thousand of them.

Friends are disposable these days. You make them, you un-make them. You become bossom buddies one moment, and the next time, you're no longer BFFs.

In other cases, it's not other people who are chopsticks... The next disposable pair of wooden chopsticks can be you. We can never be complacent with our friendships online. People can never be trusted.

I know it's another harsh observation I have of life, but that is what I have learned from other people. Past friends. Disposable chopsticks like me. They have established, confirmed and fortified my belief that people are disposable. They come and go.

A few friends I had who are no longer friends of mine would quote, "People come and go." Is this the reason why friends become disposable? Is it because we are so scared to attach our emotions to a single entity we call 'friend,' that we choose not to become attached to them at all? In our enormous fear of grief and loss, we choose not to lose by declaring people unfit for friendship and therefore disposable once they commit the next simple mistake.

After all, there is an enormous number of hungry people in the net, waiting to be your friend, just waiting for that one chance to be BFFs with you.

Ah, the perils of social networking on the web.

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