Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Girl with Four Names in The Great Mandala

I was in Facebook, today. I was looking at somebody's comment about something and somebody else made a comment about the comment that was a little above average, so I clicked on her face.

She didn't share her information with strangers, but I was still allowed to see pictures of her friends and their names. There were six of them and their thumbnails were displayed in a single line across the screen. There were 5 women and one man. Two of them had three names. Three of them had two names. And one was a girl with four names.

I was drawn to the picture of the girl with four names. She seemed young, with black-rimmed glasses, maybe a co-ed, and her face looked down at the camera from a clear blue-green sky behind and the hint of a bowline suggesting she may be on a yacht. The other pictures were just as small, some more dimly exposed, all showing faces looking out. I wondered if they were all still alive.

I kept looking at the girl with four names and the picture seemed to change on me. It seemed to recede into the page and the blue-green sky began to fade with age. This girl could be my grandmother.

And then I got a visual: Google gets all these pictures from everywhere and displays them on a great wheel forever. A zillion to a line, wheeling down so slowly it seems stopped. You can click anywhere and find out everything you need to know about anybody. Very little is private. Hey, you have to eat. Everybody has to eat. Most of the people looking out, as the wheel goes by, have passed into the public domain.

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