I must have gotten engaged without realizing it. All I know is this: my sister called and said I’d posted something on Facebook about how another author’s book was an overnight best seller with no marketing effort. She wanted to know why my publisher doesn’t use this obviously brilliant system for A Matter of Mercy.
“I never even saw that,” I said. “I definitely didn’t post it.”
“Sure you did. I know what I read. It said you liked it, too. It was an article from that literary PR company.”
“Oh crap. You and I both liked their page last spring, and maybe now Facebook friends get notifications that makes it seem I put up a post from them. Damn Facebook. I’ve got to get this stopped.”
So with Jan on her computer and me on mine and both of us with our phones on speaker, we entered the mysterious labyrinth of Facebook. “How do you…?” we kept asking each other. The answer was always “I dunno.”
“You haven’t filled out anything about yourself,” she noted while we were looking for something else. “Not even your hometown.”
“That’s true. I can stick that in. But how do you stop people getting random notifications from some organization forever if you once liked their page? That’s not right,” I continued to complain.
“Maybe you have to unlike it?” Well, we were looking for how to do that, the two of us not exactly Facebook competent, just talking as we messed around.
“Oh, look, I can fill in that I’m married,” I said in the process. “I guess I could do that.”
BAM! Facebook shoots up a box announcing that Lynne Hugo got married. Today! Just now! The proclamation is adorned with a corny little heart, bright red. Oh Lord.
“Wow! Lookie here, I got an email that you just got married,” Jan hooted.
“No way!” I frantically tried to delete that I’m married. No deal, said Facebook. Apparently one can’t instantly annul a Facebook marriage.
“Congratulations!” she crowed. Then, a whisper. “Oh…does Alan know about this?”
“Shut up,” I yelled. “What do I do?”
“I don’t know, but listen, I’ve got to get to my shopping, so I’ll talk to you later.”
It took ninety seconds for friends to start “liking” the post. Don’t these people have jobs? Congratulations! started coming by email and phone, from people who’d been at our actual wedding—which was decades ago. I don’t think of my friends and family as suffering from dementia, but really? Have they forgotten that glorious occasion? Might it occur to them that there’s a reason they “thought you two were already married”? Now, people I run into at the grocery store ask if our children were at the ceremony.
I’ve gone from horrified to recognizing an opportunity to practice the craft of fiction. “No, the children weren’t invited because they refused to pay for the reception, and we just didn’t think fifty thousand was excessive,” I say. “Yeah, well, a Thursday morning might seem unusual for a big wedding, but it was rainy, we were bored, and the only other activity we could think of was to take the dog to the vet to have his anal glands expressed.”
Still, Facebook and I aren’t on good terms. Nobody has asked where we’re registered for our wedding gifts.
I hope you are having a lovely and peaceful holiday season.