May All Your Days...
Inspection Solution

Ghosts and Zombies

I've been reading about how social media has given rise to new ways for a person to be a dick; for example, the phenomena known as "ghosting" and "zombie-ing."

For you folks unaware of these behaviors, ghosting occurs when a person disappears from another's social media. Maybe you were in the beginning stages of dating, texting up a storm, friends on Facebook, blah blah blah. Suddenly the object of your attention is gone. They don't answer texts or emails, they block or unfriend you, that sort of thing. Poof! Gone.

Zombie-ing occurs when a ghost reappears all of a sudden. After weeks or maybe even months, you get a text: "Hi! How are you?"

Well, this behavior is nothing new - only the technology has changed. I went through it too, way back in the Dark Ages when I was a teenager. However, for me and my contemporaries, the behavior involved the telephone and snail mail. It's really a classic breakup technique - stop communicating. The phone calls stop. The cards and letters cease.

Here's an example from my own sordid youth.

Summer, 1978. I was clowning on the Famous Hunt Circus. I'd already been ghosted by My Grand Passion, so I got together with Danny. He worked on the big top crew - I had a thing for big top crew members, evidently. We had quite a torrid affair and I quite liked him. After the show wrapped up and we went to our respective homes, we talked on the phone and wrote letters. He sent me a mushy card. He visited me in Maryland. I visited him in New Jersey at his Dad's; I visited him in Massachusetts at his Mom's. I met his siblings. His sister seemed to think he was very serious about me. She suggested that if I got pregnant, he would marry me.

I did not find this as romantic as she did, especially since I had no intention of getting pregnant.

That, along with a few other things that I am too discreet to talk about here, made me unsure about the relationship. I was kind of happy to go home and see how it would play out.

Well, it didn't play out. He ghosted me - no letters, no calls - for months. I missed him at first, then I was relieved.

On Christmas Day, I was at my parents' house, helping with Christmas dinner, and he called me. I was shocked, as anyone would be when a zombie pops up in their life. We had an uncomfortable conversation. He clearly thought I'd be delighted with his call. When I pointedly brought up the fact that I hadn't heard from him in months, he said, "I've been busy, babydoll." I told him to say "hi" for me to his sister and brothers, and asked after his Mom. Then I wished him a Merry Christmas and hung up the phone.

So yeah. Ghosting and zombie-ing. As old as relationships, and still completely dickish.