Four weeks into my new life in Abu Dhabi and the dust has settled. Life has gained a momentum in the way that life always seems to. Many acquaintances made by the playground or the school gates, “school gates” being a metaphorical symbol for the sandy car park, home to scores of 4×4’s every morning and afternoon at pick up and drop off. Many acquaintances but no friends. Lots of suggestions but no invites. Always the same line, “I’ll post the details on the wall”, every day, I go to the notice board in the clubhouse, but no notice. “There’s a wine and cheese night coming up, I’ll post the details on the wall”, “Hey, we’re organizing a recipe evening, I’ll post the details”. Every day I look, but only see the same few outdated notices, nothing current, a cluster of coloured pins in the corner remain untouched.
Being a social butterfly and having always relied on the company of other women to give me the illusion of sanity while on hiatus for a few hours from my family, I began to yearn for female company. The situation finally came to a head when earlier this week when my neighbour held a social morning at her home and hadn’t posted and hadn’t invited me.
Peeking through the curtainless windows so as to spy on the goings on across the road, I firstly noticed that at least twelve young mothers were chatting animatedly whilst taking their babies and associated apparel inside. Many had tin foiled trays and some had Tupperware containers, what was this? A full blown party, without Moi?! Secondly, I noticed that from the outside I may have looked a little ridiculous peeking without a curtain to provide shield, so I did what any Irish woman with a problem would do, I opened the front door and took the sweeping brush and started to brush the floor vehemently. “Hi, are you all set, did you see the notice?”, shouted a voice from across the road. “Oh I’m fine”, I replied, applying undue pressure to the handle of the brush, “Carry on with ye’re get-together”, I shouted back as I continued to sweep the floor with growing vigour. The voice crossed the road and reiterated, “Are you joining us”, enough was enough, I set the brush to one side and divulged my frustration at the lack of notices and general arrangements. It was then that she pointed out that all arrangements and notices are posted on facebook.
That was it, I was being frozen out by Facebook. I should have guessed, quickly making myself presentable and wiping the excess mushed banana from my baby’s hair, I skipped across the road and was greeted with a warm welcome by all. Indulging in the female company and delighting in the diverse discussions I enquired as to the upcoming events, to which I received the reply, “It’s all on facebook, have a look”. Bravely, I stood up ( mentally, I actually stayed sitting) and said, “I’m not on facebook, can someone email me about upcoming events? A deflated tone washed over the group and after much mumbling the general consensus was that no-body was willing to take the time to email and a text message seemed to be out of the question. I sat for the rest of the time listening in to conversations about what was on facebook, someone’s new photos or a cryptic comment that someone posted.
So here’s where it’s at , in order to find out what’s going on around the corner I need to be on facebook. Being an active anti-facebooker, I can vouch that more and more of real life is being channeled through facebook, almost as if it is becoming the conduit for communication with all other avenues slowly being shut down. Many businesses are advertising only on facebook while others are providing offers and discounts for patrons who “like” them.
Staunch in my position I will refrain from communicating my life via facebook, however, nose to the glass and out in the cold, even in a small community in sunny Abu Dhabi, I can feel the nip, brrrrrr