The Radical Sister


I was at my mom’s house the other day when I discovered something disturbing.  I was looking at her computer, and Facebook was on the screen, and I noticed to the right of the window a list of Mom’s FB friends.  My name was on the list, and a number to the right of my name indicated (apparently to keep everyone informed of what I’m doing) that I’d been on Facebook for seven (7!) hours.

I assure you, I had not been on FB for 7 hours.  The only way my husband and I can access FB is through our desktop computer… and we weren’t even home.

Here’s what happens, obviously:  I look at FB and find something I want Beau to see, too, so I leave the screen up and then wander off for a day filled with distractions born of having three small children.  It might be hours before Beau gets a chance to sit down at the desk to look at whatever it was.  Or, I might be in the middle of composing a message on FB when the 5-year-old hollers that the baby is eating shampoo, and I’ll run to put out that fire, which’ll be immediately followed by another fire, and another, and another… until the day is done.  Again (a little embarrassed here, because only a loser would be on FB for 7 hours), I do not spend an inordinate amount of time cruising around FB.

Now, let me introduce my sister.  (These two topics are related; just wait and see.)  Sue is 13 years older than me.  She started college the same year I started kindergarten, when the photo was taken.

Just ask anyone who knows both of us:  I am definitely the radical sister.

I am the one who can’t have a real job because I can’t get along with people.  I’m the one who can’t live in a populated area because, again, the trouble with getting along.  I’m the one who — during one short foray into employment as an editor — continually urged my best writer forward in an investigation of a Superhighway that we thought was going to cut through the heart of the US to connect Canada and Mexico, furthering an evil plan for a one-world economy.  (What ever happened to the Superhighway?  Did we thwart their plans?  Was it always in my imagination?  Or… are they working on it still today, right under our very noses?)  Yes, I’ve been known to subscribe to a conspiracy theory or two.  I’m just a touch on the radical side, constantly wanting to straighten somebody out, levitating slightly above the normal definition of “grounded.”

My sister Sue, though… she always overlooks others’ shortcomings.  She is very accepting of people and circumstances of all types, and as a result, I can’t think of a single person who doesn’t like her.  She deals kindly with the public (and a lot of the public is pretty crazy in my opinion) in her daily work as a physician.  She is short on advice; she doesn’t judge; she’s happy to let a drinker drink.  She is intelligent, obviously, but she doesn’t overthink things; she just wants to boogie and have a good time when she’s not working.  (In college she even danced all night to win a trip to the beach!)

Sue is definitely not a conspiracy theorist.  Except get this.  I was recently at her home and noticed that she had taped a little piece of paper over the video eye in her Mac computer.  Bewildered, I asked her about it, and she said someone had advised her to cover it just in case… you know… just in case somebody might be watching her and her family through the computer.

Well.  Who’d-a thunk it?  Back at home, I, the radical sister who is apparently too lazy to log out of Facebook and thus broadcasting the misconception that I am always online, am staring right into the video eye of my computer.  Is Big Brother — or, worse yet, some sort of weirdo — watching me through that eye?

And if so, what will the watcher discover?  That I don’t have much money.  That I don’t get a lot of sleep.  That I’m not a person of interest.  Yes, I have some radical ideas, but I truly am powerless to affect any sort of major upheaval (case in point:  the older siblings who still insist on squeezing the baby’s head despite my various methods of protest).

I truly don’t think I have anything to hide.  Which should be obvious:  I’m a blogger.  Still, I’m going to try to be better about logging out of Facebook.  That’s just good sense.

© Tami Blake

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