So you don’t have to remember
I looked up from the book I that was reading. Julian idly checked his Facebook page, wincing at the notices in the sidebar.
“Who’s the unfortunate soul celebrating today?” I asked.
“A friend,” Julian replied. “Or rather, the owner of an account connected to mine.”
I nodded. “A world of difference.”
“And I’m agonizing on whether to greet her. It’s 12:20 AM, and it might look like I’m too eager or familiar.”
“When was the last time you spoke to each other?”
He shrugged. “Two years ago. Talked to her briefly about that show on TV we both liked. Nothing special. But she’s a friend of my friend.” A real friend, he meant.
“Then greet her.” I speed-read another paragraph, lost track halfway, and started again more slowly.
I heard the clattering of keys and the half-hearted click of the mouse.
“Done,” Julian said.
“Congratulations. You’re now a more sociable person than you were a day ago.”
“I hate this. Isn’t there an app to, say, track birthdays for you?”
“Dozens, I imagine. You’re not the only visionary in the world.”
“No, no,” he said more emphatically. “You didn’t let me finish. I meant an app that would not only track birthdays, but send automatic greetings on those dates. You could choose to personalize the greeting depending on your relationship with that person. You could queue them all up, so you don’t have to bother worrying if tomorrow is someone’s important day.”
“That kind of defeats the purpose of greeting, doesn’t it?” I said. I gave up on the book and rolled my chair beside him. “You greet them ‘Happy Birthday!’ because you care enough for them.”
“Yes, for the people I care for,” Julian said. “But there are those whom I honestly don’t, but still like to be on good terms with. You know me, I’m a forgetful young man. I don’t go out often and meet new friends, so I can’t afford to lose my current ones.”
“If you lose them for such petty reasons, then they were never your friends.”
“True. But I want to be an enabler to other like-minded, astute individuals. I want to tell them ‘hey, I know you have a problem, but you don’t need to worry about it any longer, because I’ve done the hard work for you. And you’re welcome.’ “
“Such altruism!” I made a golf clap. “And such arrogance! So, will you do it?”
“Yeah,” Julian said. He opened up a window and started writing a design document. He may be a bit of a fool, but he was no scatterbrained idiot.
“Oh,” he said, turning around to face me. “And happy birthday. Sign up for an account, will you? I would’ve forgotten.”
I smiled. “Never.”