Sunday afternoon, I am sitting by my computer eating watermelon, Facebook messaging my friend Petrina, reading about the "8 Fanciest Gym Memberships in America," and contemplating the paper I should be writing for school.
One of the eight fanciest gym memberships in America happens to be in Texas where my friend lives. I click over to her Facebook to share the article. While on her page, I notice "Harrison" under her Friends. I have never seen or heard of Harrison, but there is an elephant in his profile picture. Curious, I click over to his profile.
Harrison's Facebook is not at all protected. Unlike most normal millennials, I can read every post on his timeline and I can view all of his photos. Soon I have a close-up of this elephant. I continue to click through his profile pictures. On the third photo, something goes horribly wrong.
The photo is of Harrison and another male with a melon peel in his mouth. I am not sure exactly what happens, but my computer indicates I have clicked into the "tag photo" option and suggests I tag my friend Petrina as the man with the melon peel. I try to abort. I don't know how - maybe there's watermelon juice on my mousepad - but I confirm the tag.
The photo is suddenly captioned:
"With Petrina (requested tag)."
Except neither I nor Petrina know Harrison or the man with the melon peel - and Petrina, a woman if you couldn't tell by her name, is not a man, even one with a melon peel in his mouth.
How did this happen? I search for a cancel or untag option. It does not readily appear. In fact, Facebook is now suggesting I tag myself as Harrison. Terrified of causing more damage, I click "Done tagging."
Meanwhile, I message Petrina:
Me: i just accidentally requested someone tag you in a photo idk
Me: please delete if you got that
Me: idk how to take it back
Petrina: Please what are you doing
Me: IDK THE KID
Me: i was stalking someone
Petrina: You're so embarrassing!!!!!
Me: CAN YOU TURN IT OFF
Me: idk how to get rid of it
Petrina: No I just went to check my notifications and I don't have any
Petrina: A true Starbucks stalker would never make this mistake wtf
Petrina: I am waiting for it to be approved
This is Harrison's fault, I decide. If Harrison was like any other millennial, his profile would be on lockdown. I would not have been able to get past his first profile picture and/or have tagged Petrina.
What do I do? What is the protocol in this very 2015 situation? Do I add Harrison as a friend? Do I message him and explain what happened? (What did happen?) Do I delete my Facebook and concede that I can't handle the power of social media?
For now I X out of his profile that is a land mine of awkwardness.
I text my mutual friend with Harrison: "How well do you know Harrison? Because I don't know him at all, but . . . [insert story]. And so the photo currently says, 'With Petrina (requested tag),' and I can't in so many senses of the word."
Mutual friend: "I don't know him that well."
Me: "Well. *hysterical laughter* I really don't know what to do. I guess I'll just let the request sit there. The worst part is, it tagged Petrina as a man."
I tell another friend this tale. They suggest I full out block Harrison on social media. "He'll never know you existed," my friend explains. I could disappear into the vortex. He'll be left wondering who was this entity that suggested he tag this Petrina who he also doesn't know in his profile picture from 2013. But does Harrison deserve that? This is my fault after all.
Petrina: "Do you think he'll friend request me? Also, what man did Facebook think I was?"
One with a melon peel in their mouth, of course.
I instruct her on how to find the picture ("Search Harrison on Facebook and third profile picture").
Petrina: "I'm afraid to look in case I accidentally click something."
Me bloody too.
Petrina: "He's definitely going to stalk me. And you."
Me: "Not if I block him."
What bothers me most is, this was all because I wanted to see an elephant. And an elephant never forgets.