Has a family member, friend or acquaintance ever shown up at your door, uninvited?
I hate that.
How about a group – adults and children, at your door, uninvited?
Expecting an invitation to enter your home, expecting that you’ll gladly drop whatever you were doing because nothing you were doing could be more important than their uninvited appearance?
Uninvited…and possibly – unwelcome?
It happened to my husband and me over the holidays.
Only it wasn’t at the front door – it was in our family room.
And it was a group – adults and children, 17 of them.
In one second my husband’s and my peaceful afternoon was interrupted by a buzz on his smartphone, followed by an explosion of people and music and noise.
It was members of my family, on the other side of the country, raucously celebrating the holidays, and deciding to include us in the fun.
It felt like our home had been invaded, and indeed – it had.
By Facebook Messenger.
A brand-new experience for me.
I’d never heard of Facebook Messenger, much less been in it. On it.
But suddenly I saw a room full of relatives on the phone’s screen, and up in the screen’s corner, my own stunned face staring back at me.
Now, before you say anything, even with my lack of experience I know I didn’t have to allow the party into my home.
I could have said, “Oooo – bad time, can we do this in a half-hour?” Then at least I would have been prepared, and I could have spiffed myself up a bit instead of appearing to one and all in my bathrobe.
Instead I stammered, “Wh – what the heck is this?”
And just like that, one family member – evidently the iPad Commando – started walking around the room, pointing the camera at each person and shouting, “Say hi to so-and-so! Say Merry Christmas to so-and-so!”
And one by one, every family member and I said “Hi!” or “Merry Christmas!” and then they promptly walked off camera to get back to the festivities.
As the iPad Commando turned the camera on herself and her face filled the screen, the background noise continued unabated. “How did you connect us?” I shouted.
“Face (unintelligible) enger!” she said, which I later learned meant “Facebook Messenger.” Then she walked into the kitchen to show me the deserts spread out on the counter, waiting for the horde to descend en masse.
Damn! Is that apple pie? And I missed it!
I missed my family.
Later, I did some research about Messenger, and started thinking it might be cool technology. I could maybe see how it might be a good thing.
I imagined a parent connecting face-to-face with a child away at college, or a service member on deployment seeing the smiles of a spouse and children, or my showing Aunt Myrtle the gorgeous sweater I’d bought with her gift card.
If the weather was lousy I could “visit” with someone in a hospital if they felt like it, or do my book club on Messenger, or offer a friend a digital “shoulder” to cry on.
And I could Messenger my hubby when he’s upstairs, just to tell him I love him, and see his smile.
Maybe I’ll look into this Messenger thing.
Yup, I’m being dragged, kicking and screaming…