I remember my birthdays during my childhood. School was already out, kids were on trips (the lake, the cabins in the woods, the Ozarks — not Hawaii, Paris, or Greece). My birthdays were lonely except for my siblings and one or two close friends. The Iowa weather could also be a bit iffy in mid-June.
Now that I have a bunch of writer friends, chorus friends, and single friends on Facebook, I get all kinds of greetings on my birthday. First the East Coasters and Midwestern friends post a greeting to my timeline (since they get up before I do), and then the California people do, too. It doesn’t hurt that my girlfriends threw me a birthday bash last night (I posted the pics), that just happened to coincide with the biggest Warriors game of the MBA championship of 2019. Sadly, the Raptors pulled it out in the last seconds. We were crushed but proud of the Warriors’ effort. Good rest and recovery to Klay and Kevin!
Yes, Facebook is filled with fake news. I don’t do much social media other than that. But I did discover that as a children’s book author, there are dozens of YouTube videos of people reading my books. Yes, they butcher my last name, and yes, they often mispronounce the Spanish words. But it is fascinating to hear both Anglos and Latinos read my words and hear where they struggle with the rhythm or add a word. If only I’d heard them before the books went into print! But of course, that couldn’t have happened.
I’ve made a Facebook page for each of my book titles. I’ve added the YouTube videos to the appropriate pages as a way to keep my readers happy. I can’t travel to do school visits right now, but I do offer librarians six free titles in place of my visit. These are remaindered (out of print) books that I bought at a discount and store in my garage. I keep chipping away at the inventory every year by the donations and the occasional sales through my online shop called The Polka Dot Attic. It’s interesting to see which ones get purchased. One of the titles is still in print and 23 years old.
I have a YouTube channel, but it’s mostly pioneer clothing or book stuff. I do Twitter but not very often, unlike the guy who shares my birthday and has orange hair and skin.
I have one adult child that texts me, one that calls me, and one that sends emails. I have to check my phone constantly to make sure I don’t miss an important text, like the day my girlfriend showed up, tired and thirsty halfway through her walk and texted me, asking if I had any water. I had my phone in my pocket but was doing gardening in the back and didn’t hear it ping. I just happened to come out my side gate to get a plant when she called to me.
“Call me next time,” I said. “I don’t hear the ping, but I would hear the phone ringing.”
When the caregivers tried to reach me if I was running five minutes late, they would text. I don’t how I was supposed to answer that while driving. One home health aide texted me that my sister was hot and lethargic. I was at a dinner party, my phone in the kitchen, myself in the dining room. I missed the ping. When I got home, it was clear that something was wrong. The next morning, I called 9-1-1, and Sis ended up in the ER with pneumonia.
I told the home health aide to always call in a case like that, but of course she is thirty years younger and a texter. I think younger people are afraid to use their voices. I dated a younger guy for a while, but he was notorious at texting. He said he wanted to hear my voice and could we get together?
Huh, how about a phone call?
Of course a person can multi-task and text while doing so many other things. It’s a marvelous thing until the young people of today become the middle-aged people of tomorrow with thumb injuries and neck injuries. My chiropractor says the future looks bright for his profession.
But I digress. As much as I hate some things about Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, I do love them once a year on my birthday.