Privacy–Is Google or Facebook Hogging The Bathroom?

I grew up in a fairly large ethnic household without much privacy. And in the last thirty years, I have always had to share a bathroom with 1-3 other people. So privacy is an issue for me. My younger siblings used to ransack my room, searching for contraband. I finally got a way to lock my bedroom door from the outside–and happily I wasn’t sharing a bedroom.
My first husband–may he rest in peace–used to read my diaries and journals. My current husband Rich lived for many years in a commune, and is relaxed about sharing space–sometimes a little too relaxed.
I’m territorial, and you might be too if your sibs looked for your secrets and cigarettes and your spouse read your old love letters.
Also, my mother was big on…commenting. Or criticizing–my hair, my body, my clothes, my friends, my choice of reading, my taste, my beliefs, my hopes, my fears, etc. And that created a lack of privacy. If the expression on your face is fair game for feedback, then the privacy of one’s own thoughts becomes important.
Of course, as a writer, I walk the fine line of confession and controlled self-revelation. As a rule, the reader sees what I want the reader too. (Except for the very astute reader, who can observe unconscious motivation). For example, there is a lot I’m not telling you about my mother here–and I’m not going to tell you. So there is still an element of my maintaining my privacy.
Much of the world lives with very little physical privacy. Millions of people live entire lives without what the 1st World considers basic privacy for biological functions. So I know that as a person who needs privacy, I’m pretty lucky to have some. Virginia Woolf wrote famously about a Room of One’s Own, and although I agree I know Jane Austen wrote in company and I doubt Sappho, who was running a school and raising a daughter, had much splendid isolation.
Which brings me to the issue at hand, social media and loss of “privacy.” I’ve kept the issue at bay by not using a cell phone. I’m roundly criticized by friends and family for this, but right now I’m quite content. The truth is–Goggle has no idea where I am. Ok–I’ll tell you. I’m headed to the bathroom–alone.

1 thought on “Privacy–Is Google or Facebook Hogging The Bathroom?

  1. You have chosen well, Grasshopper. There is great ease in privacy and solitude, and it’s a gift to allow others what they need of them. As for Google, I was just fuming to a friend about It and why he was getting a test email from a new email address. I’d read a recent article in The Guardian about what Google and Facebook know and collect about us. You can go see what Google is storing about you, and so I did. I was outraged, perhaps, but really just exasperated and disappointed, but it was all enough to go looking for other—more private and less commodified—email services. It’s not even that there’s information in there I might have hidden. I’m indignant about the mundanity of it all. The collecting of “data” is merely gluttonous and completely lacking in discernment, and incomplete, and to think that some men bleached pale by computer screens and sitting for days on end in stinky socks will presume to construct a “profile” of me from all this is appalling. Also comical, but appalling nonetheless. The pointless mundanity is creepy, too, as if Google posted a worker in your bathroom with a clipboard, noting “Tues. a.m. 12 sheets used.” So maybe what’s most appalling is—They don’t know what matters, but they have the agency to proceed anyway.

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