If you've spoken to me in the last month or so, odds are our conversation has steered towards one of three topics: my trip to Vegas (which is now less than two weeks away), the correct pronunciation of the word "often" (I call bullshit on the silent "T"), or (the most likely of the three) drag queens.
I'm a well established pop culture junkie, and I've been known to become far too emotionally involved in the lives of television characters (both reality and completely fictional). To this day I haven't forgiven Kevin Williamson for not writing Joey and Dawson together at the end of the Dawson's Creek season finale. I'm madly in love Logan Echolls in Veronica Mars (I don't care if he's not real), and the episode that they killed Dana in The L Word literally broke me. When it was over (and I'm not even being hyperbolic about this) I sobbed hysterically for an hour and a half before calling Chelsea and screaming into the phone, "OH GOD, MAKE IT STOP!"
That all pales in comparison to how involved I let myself get in RuPaul's Drag Race. Starting in FebRUary every year, I'm a man possessed. The minute the cast is announced, I'm frantically reading bios, watching grainy cell phone videos of club performances, and forming unhealthy attachments to contestants before the first episode even airs.
Never before have I grown as attached to a contestant as I was to Bianca Del Rio this year. She's everything I want in a drag queen. She's over the top, she's glamorous, she's quick witted, she's mean, and she can side eye a bitch like you wouldn't believe.
She's my spirit animal.
Week after week she slayed the competition until she was in the final three...and I was full on crazy, stalker obsessed. This finale, and Bianca winning, quickly became the most important thing in my life (sorry 'bout it, people I actually know).
Because I'm a poor person who can't afford cable television (or shoes without holes in them...I'm basically a really pretty hobo at this point), I've always had to get my fix online the day after the show airs. During the 24 hours between when a new episode airs and, social media becomes a minefield of potential spoilers. The last three years I've had the finale ruined for me within an hour of waking up the day after. I wouldn't be standing for that this year though. This year was too important!
24 hour social media blackout.
It was the only answer. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. No Tumblr. No Pinterest. Hell, I even planned on staying away from Goodreads...just in case.
The solution seemed simple, but I started think about whether I'd ever done this before...and I couldn't place a single time in the time since Facebook became a thing that I consciously decided to avoid social media. I'm certain it happened early on, but I highly doubt that I've gone more than 6 hours at a time without checking in online in the 5 years that I've had a smartphone.
7 o'clock rolled around and I set my final status before the blackout letting everyone know I'd be gone for 24 hours, and I set my phone aside. The feeling of relief was instantaneous. I felt more involved in the world around me. How nice it was going to be to not be needing to check my phone every twenty seconds! I made eye contact with strangers as we passed, smiling and offering a friendly "Hello!" I noticed how green the grass was, and that the leaves on the trees were finally coming in. The real world was beautiful, and I was ready to be a part of it!
It really was a magical five minutes before I received my first Facebook notification.
Someone had left a comment on my status.
It could be important.
Checking it REAL quick couldn't REALLY hurt anything. I mean, the finale hasn't even started yet, and that's the whole point of this. I'll just keep an eye on this one status for just a little bit, and then I done...really done.
My need for internet validation is stronger than I anticipated.
I fought the urge all night. I'd find myself constantly, and unconsciously, picking my phone up, hovering my thumb over the Instagram icon, catching myself, and setting it back down again. I saw hashtags referenced on the TV shows I was watching, and almost searched Twitter for them, and at one point I found myself typing out a humorous Facebook status update about how good I'd become at staying off of social media.
The next morning didn't go much better. I'd accidentally checked Facebook twice before I even got in the shower. I realized that if I was going to resist the urge, I was going to need to eliminate the temptation. I mean, you don't just let a crackhead keep their pipe.
I was going to need to turn my phone off and leave it at home.
After a lot of inner turmoil, I convinced myself that for safety reasons (I'm nothing if not responsible about my own safety) I couldn't just leave my phone at home, but I would not be turning it on, and I would leave it in my car.
I was a wreck all day. I kept reaching for the place where my phone usually sits on my desk. I felt phantom vibrations in my pocket. I had nothing to distract me while on my breaks at work, and turns out, when you're not staring at a screen with ear buds in, shooting annoyed side eye when anyone walks too close, people will actually try to talk to you. I was having real social interactions.
Like, I had to use actual facial expressions instead of emoticons.
The only thing that got me through my work day was the knowledge that when it was over, I was going to be able to turn my phone back on, and be overwhelmed with the number of texts and voicemails I'd received over the last eight hours. I resisted booting back up until I got home to avoid feeling the need to try to respond while I was driving, but I hit the power button the moment I walked into my front door.
Zero new messages.
So that hurt.
I was in the homestretch though. It was finally time for me to watch the finale, and I was in full on tears (from my seat at the coffee shop whose internet I was using) when they crowned Bianca as this year's winner.
I made my glorious return to social media only to find I'd missed one friend request, just a few likes, but a troubling number of messages all saying basically, "You're going 24 hours without checking Facebook? That's not gonna happen."
Just because you're right, doesn't mean you get to be all snarky about it, you guys.