Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Tweaking time's algorithm

Facebook informs me that four years ago today I posted the first photo of my hero-blue Camry, a car that keeps making me happy. That's a notable date, but what's the proper gift for a four-year Camryversary? A car wash? (I'll let the rain take care of that.)

Facebook also reminds me that ten years ago we celebrated my parents' 50th wedding anniversary with the whole family right here, and eight years ago I was still sorting through photos of my daughter's wedding, and one year ago I was getting to know my new grandson, but it didn't say a word when I passed the eight-year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. A date once seared on my consciousness passed by unnoticed, which is probably a good sign.

Facebook insists on reminding me of the time we picked all those blackberries, the year a week-long power outage made us AC refugees, the lakes and streams we've paddled and the birds we saw there, and while I really appreciate all the fond memories, what I really need is the Facebook Future function: show me what I'll be doing a year from now or five years or ten. 

But given the way Facebook often presents me with arbitrary or insignificant events--the seventh anniversary of that cake I baked, the fourth year since I posted a comment about a particular book--they'll have to really tweak the algorithm or else we'd end up with a lot of fairly meaningless Futureversaries: the shoes I'll buy three years from today, the deer that will visit our meadow in seven years, the bumper crop of zucchinis we'll harvest in ten.

So many silly things Facebook wants to tell me, but so often it ignores the important questions: Is it safe to forget that I ever suffered through chemotherapy? Will the beautiful people in all those photos stay safe and healthy far into the future? Will I still love my car ten years from now? 

(Of course I will, if it's still running--but Facebook can't possibly tell me that.)



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