Earlier this month, I met a goat that receives military protection.
I found a restaurant that features original Nintendo Entertainment Systems at almost every table.
I went on a (clearly fake) hunt in the woods for gnomes, one that was (clearly) meant for children, and was rewarded for my efforts with an animatronic singing gnome show — all in French. And no, I don’t speak French.
I enjoyed my week in Quebec City as much for what weird and wonderful things I experienced in the moment, as for the stories I knew I would be able to share with friends afterward.
But I held off from posting any of it to social media that week.
Meanwhile, toward the end of my trip, I saw a friend posting pictures while on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Dubai. (I’ll spare you his name, but if you’re a regular reader you likely know who he is already.) Other friends throughout the summer have had similar, albeit less exotic, posts from their own getaways, and checked in with hashtags from live concerts and games.
And every time I see one, I hope nobody who shouldn’t know where they live, knows where they live.
If I were a criminal with enough brainpower to search through public records for addresses, I’d scour the Internet for vacation plans and circle spots on a map like a kid looking through the Toys ‘R’ Us catalog in December.
It’s not a generational thing. At least, not an age thing.
While, at 34, you can accuse me of being too old to understand the need to post a selfie on the beach while holding a Corona in the air and yelling for some reason, I see these vacation posts from those even older than my curmudgeony self, too.
It’s a social media thing.
What is it about Facebook, Twitter and the like, that so easily breaks down the barriers of privacy and the natural instincts of self-preservation?
And for what?
I don’t want to read about the argument you had with your boss at work — in most cases, I’m going to think you were in the wrong, anyway — and your boss is probably peeping the post along with your friends.
I don’t need to see a photo of you making some inappropriate gesture toward a statue, and I’m sure the new people you meet who don’t yet know you very well but can find you online don’t need to see it, either.
And I certainly don’t need to know which beach you’re on and which drink you’re slurping.
Nothing on the internet is truly private. Take it from a reporter — social media has made the job of researching individuals far easier than ever before.
It’s not that I don’t like to see photos of friends; it’s just an unnecessary risk.
When I was a kid, my Dad would make sure the lights in our house were on a timer before we left for vacation, to prevent darkness from giving away our absence. And, my Mom would call to stop the mail from being delivered and overflow our unchecked mailbox.
Some people I know still do that. Some do that, and then post their travel itinerary on Facebook so friends can follow along each day through Instagram and Snapchat.
Think about it before you post.
So, I decided not to tweet photos of that goat — the Canadian military paints his horns gold, for some reason — or details of the amazing driving it required just to arrive at Quebec’s citadel on time to see the goat. And I didn’t post anything about the statue that looked vaguely like a tribute to the movie “Operation Dumbo Drop.” Who knew Canadians had such love for Danny Glover?
Nobody needed to know where I was then. And nobody will ever need to see those photos of me wearing a green felt hat solving gnome puzzles in the woods. Some things should stay private.
Our Turn is meant to capture the lifestyles of those 20-somethings to 35-year-olds. Reach Mike Benischek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-437-4722.