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arrested development

Even though I don't look at Facebook more than I have to - my employer posts daily and I'm one of three Marketing staphers responsible for composing these posts - I occasionally check out my own FB page to see what my friends are up to. I rarely post anything. My main pursuit is playing Scrabble.

But a couple of weeks ago, I was looking at the photos I had taken during my recent trip to NY and decided to post one. Ian* and I were on the ferry to Ellis Island. I looked reasonably attractive although I had unsuccessfully tried to get Ian to join me, and remember feeling wounded about his refusal. He's in the background of the photo, staring off into the distance. He could be mistaken for a stranger.

Quite a few friends complimented my photo, including a few I hadn't heard from in months. But the very next day, I spotted another reply. It was from Ian's daughter. She is 33, still lives with mom, doesn't pay rent, drives cars supplied by parents - you get the picture.

She accused me of being a disgusting homewrecker and other things. A male friend had replied to her, telling her to behave.  

I deleted the photo but suspected that Ian had already heard plenty about it. This made me wince a bit.

At first couldn't figure out how his daughter had seen it, as I had blocked both her and her mom from my page years ago and changed my private settings to Friends Only. But later Ian told me that both she and her mom had been logging into his Facebook account (who hadn't touched his FB page for eight years) and had been viewing my page on a regular basis. Guess I should have unfriended Ian, huh?

After I deleted the photo, I heard nothing from him for almost two weeks. I was pretty sure that Ian was angry, although when my friend Rachel asked me what he was like during an argument, I had to admit that we had never had this sort of argument before. Perhaps he assumed I'd published the photo as a passive-aggressive gesture. And even though I kept thinking his daughter could use a spanking, I felt bad about the abuse he must have received from her, and perhaps mom as well.

After about a week I sent him an email which went unanswered. Finally, I wrote him a short letter, explaining I didn't know what was going on but assumed that my posting the photo had resulted in some blowback. I mailed it to him together with his latest IRS correspondence, and he eventually called.

He explained that the daughter had been surfing Facebook while the family was at a restaurant, saw the photo, and began screaming at him. They left mid-dinner as neither parent could calm her down, and they even had difficulty getting her into the family sedan. She did not want to ride in the same vehicle as her dad.

I'm pretty sure Ian is still somewhat angry with me. His take on it is that I should have cropped him out to be 100% sure we weren't seen together. But the daughter has no respect for her father and that's not my fault, nor is it my problem. Who hacks into a parent's Facebook account at age 33 and doesn't have a problem with it?

The depressing conclusion I've drawn is that I need to set a deadline for moving out of Ian's house, and to do it sooner than I'd initially planned.

* See Key to Characters at right. 

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