My son Brian wants to be my friend, on Facebook anyway.
I'm told this is highly unusual. However I suppose in the interest of humouring his mother, both he and Deborah immediately accepted my friend requests once Julie set up my profile.
The only challenge I had was finding a picture of myself that doesn't have me holding a drink in my hand. Are all expat pictures like that?
That seems a trifle though, now that I have seen Brian's wall. According to my daughter, I creeped all over it, intrigued to read about his friends. Good thing I did.
There, buried in among links to You Tube videos and other quirky stories, was what every mother must dread...being the last to know something important.
"Got a job offer today in Beijing!" posted Brian recently enough that the news was fresh; old enough that I should have known about it but clearly was being kept in the dark.
The comments running below it were even more informative.
"Dude, isn't that where your deadbeat father lives?" one friend posted.
"Didn't you have enough of that global shit already?" asked another.
"I thought you were content to stay put, Brian :-)," one girl, who might be his girlfriend or a wannabe girlfriend posted.
"What the fuck????" I typed immediately in the space provided, but then common sense prevailed. (I have since learned it should be WTF anyway). I phoned him.
"Brian, I can't say this any other way. Why the hell are you going to Beijing?"
"Ah, Facebook. Deborah told me it would end badly when mothers and children are 'friends'."
"That may be...but what is in Beijing besides TBM...I mean your father? It's not like you ever lived there."
"Actually, Dad found me a job teaching English, so that I can save some money to go back to grad school."
Shoot me now. Shoot my computer. Shoot TBM. Who am I talking to anyway?
"When were you planning on telling me?"
"I had the feeling you would see it on Facebook."
"Is this like breaking up with someone with a text?" I was trying to put some humour into my voice to deaden the razor-like sharpness of my real feelings.
"Mom, you are so with it these days!"
If by 'with it' he meant with drugs, to keep me calm in my shitty apartment, with my dwindling bank balance and my gray hair I see every time I look in the mirror (to name only the major themes of my new, reduced life so far) ya, I'm with it, son. But I couldn't say anything. None of the above is his fault.
"When are you leaving?"
"Dad is going to call you to discuss it all."