Monday, October 31, 2011

Facebook Ninja

Alright! I’ll admit it! I’m a Facebook Ninja. I sneak about and spy on my family and friends. I occasionally download their photos for my own. (I have been known to avatar-ize their picture and return – to peals of laughter – I might add.) Less frequently, I’ll leave a comment. I never participate in games or send seeds for the farm. I have no interest or time for pretend-worlds. My real world provides plenty. But I do like birthday reminders, graduation photos, wedding dances, and my great-nephew Kiko, Ninja-ing it up.

I’ll admit to spying on myself as well - on Google Maps. I’ve peered at our family home in Kaneohe – ever on the lookout for changes. I zoom in from space to my home in Folsom, California. In the five years I’ve lived on Gardner Court, Google Maps has updated the photo thrice.

I zoomed-in on Thursday morning and notice a new picture. In the aerial view, my sycamore tree is fully leafed, the grasses in the greenbelt out back, scorched. My lawn bears patches hinting of brown and dry – typical August. Were my backpack hanging from the back fence drying after a bath and new waterproofing, I could affix the photo to September 2010. So I scour the photo for cues. It must be Thursday afternoon, my green-waste-recycle-bin is at the curb. A smudge of maroon in the backyard is the Japanese maple, zen garden completed in June 2011.

A search for self on the property was unsuccessful. That might feel a little odd – like Henry DeTamble in Time Traveler’s Wife, meeting himself in different times.

The close-ups shifts to a pedestrian view: my sycamore is bare and front door screams Chinese-red at the street. Christmas lights hang from the eaves. My SUV is parked on the driveway, the license plate electronically smudged, making it unreadable. Interesting. The lawn is green and coiffed. The front corner of bare dirt is nearly filled in now, after poisoning by 50% Roundup that killed most of the Bermuda grass and everything else.
Three oil spots on the drive remind me of the truck that was loaded with construction materials: French doors removed from the condos in Truckee, a sliding glass door from Granite Bay, white interior doors that were replaced in Gardner Ct, an oak hutch, bathroom light fixtures, towel bars, faucets, and the like – all donated to Habitat for Humanity. I thought we made that run in spring though my Christmas lights, with me the last holdout of the court, came down late January.

I remembered the hummingbird’s nest in a low-lying branch of the sycamore. I’d climbed a ladder with camera and ruler to capture its image. It floated to the ground during a blustery spring storm and I have it still, enraptured in its micro-detail.
I zoomed Google Maps closer… and closer… and closer still. And there in the crux of small branches, is the nest. I am flabbergasted and astounded. Low orbiting satellites take pictures from 300-500 miles above earth. That’s hi-def!

I am fascinated and uncomfortable with the transparency of modern life and the permeability of Facebook. While I love dropping in Ninja-style, the thought that I too am Ninja'd is unnerving. My friend’s Pastor Paul cautioned, “Be mindful; you never know who’s watching.” Too true and never more so.


  1. Unsettling, yes. Do you watch "Person of Interest"? BTW, regarding killing Bermuda grass . . . Good luck with that! It is the grass from hell.

  2. Love the picture of grand nephew. Regarding the facbook comments, I love facebook for this exact reason, I can keep conmnected with my frinds far and wide. Some people say that facebook to intrusive, but the popsitives outway the negatives as far as I'm conserned.