Amidst questions of my own and needing a midnight scramble with some quinoa. I walked into my kitchen to find my roommate and friend arguing about whether or not life has meaning. I could only make the scramble – no time for a 15 minute simmer. I ran back into my room with scramble in hand and hid under the covers til dawn.
A Woman in Connecticut – on Christmas morning this year – lost her only Three Daughters, Both her Parents and her Home in a fire. While going through a divorce.
There was once a school of Orca whales who lived outside of a port in New Zealand or Australia. They would come into port and signal the fishermen when hump back whales were near, the fishermen would hop in boat and follow the Orcas to the exact location of the Hump Backs. The men would then get their catch and throw the tongue back into the water for their mates to munch. The men and the Orcas had a Mutual love for one another. Both concerned genuinely about the well being of the other. Once a man had drowned in a storm and the Orcas later retrieved the corpse and gave it to the Man’s men.
I prefer mud on the pants to subway handrail sticky.
Music is a blessing.
So, it’s been a long time since I last wrote to you, although it does seem like just yesterday! For seventeen years – and it again does seem – I have been laboriously ignoring the falsities in life and having faith in what I believe: That you are not real and that I know that isn’t true, respectively. You’ve been good to me. You have brought me things to make beautiful sounds, you have kept my feet warm when they were cold, you have given me the tools to keep track of days and cycles of the moon and you have made my armpits smell fresh when they were far less than such (the stockings are my favorite, beeteedub). But this year–this year you didn’t come. So I was initially going to write to you asking, “What’s up with that?” I know for a fact that you were out because for one, I saw Rudolph’s nose in the sky and two, there was a kid on a bike with a red bow on the street out front the next day. I am sorry to be so frank and for putting you on the spot as I am, but someone I have put trust in for 26 years let me down and I don’t think I am wrong in saying that that’s, like, a pri-tee big deal.
So a few minutes ago I was driving back from visiting my mom and sister when I realized what I believe to be a groundbreaking answer to this question: Why didn’t you stop by? My conclusion could be interpreted as nothing more than coincidence made into a big deal – depending on who’s cosmic team you play for – but regardless, it goes like this: On November 8th (or was it the 9th?) my dad died of a sudden heart attack; one which no one was expecting and then come December yooouuuu completely flake out. No wonder why no one else thought you were real! People stop writing to you the minute they are convinced you don’t exist and you stop visiting them the minute after that therefore seemingly proving their new discovery. Of course, this is what you must have assumed to be the case with my dad. I’m guessing he continually wrote to you all of those years! You and my dad knew each other! You were in cahoots – man, you had me so fooled! A secret friendship. And since he hadn’t returned any of your e-mails and neglected to pick up the phone you were hurt. And I am sooooo sorry that you felt that way! And now in writing this, I realize how inconsiderate it was of me to break the news to you as I did a few sentences ago – so suddenly and carelessly – but for the art of note writing, I must keep it that way. From the deepest and most pure part of my soul, I am so sorry for your loss.
Now, this is a long shot. I’m stepping into the spotlight of humility here in writing you such a selfish request when you must be dealing with the news I have just given you with disbelief, perhaps confusion or utter horror. But I still need a Christmas present. I have kept the tree up and the jingle bells are on the front door so everything will seem as it would have on the eve of ol’ 25. Cookies and all. Man, wouldn’t it be funny if this whole time we had it mixed up and you actually were the one who liked carrots!? Anyway. My List (Attached I will leave a detailed, justifiably desperate description as to why I need each of these items):
Steel String Guitar that Rings Real Deep
To Run Free In The Prairies
There are a fewwww other items I could add, but I don’t really want to push it and run the risk of not receiving the above. So that will be that. Ok. Well now that business is taken care of, I must thank you. And not in one of those apologizing-and-making-certain-promises-to-God-as-a-kid-every-time-after-masturbating ways. This is not guilt or fear driven. This is sincerity. Thank you for every single year of my life. With your gifts, you have made each one outstandingly more beautiful.
In the greater spectrum of things, ‘right now’ is no less ordinary than any other ‘now’. In the spectrum of others’ lives, I am not at liberty to assume I understand any more than what is enough to feel compassion. In the spectrum of my life, this time of ‘right now’ will be *brief but monumental and I can find no appropriate words other than:
Love each other. And let yourself be loved.
*Can anything experienced subjectively be brief? I mean, isn’t every single thing we experience, even a leaf blowing across our path, different than what everyone else experiences? It sticks with us. So what we think is brief, we actually carry, in this physical form in which I write you from, until death. Or in some form of eternity. A conversation in its physical form can be brief, but the affects of the conversation, the conversation in essence, exist in my thoughts and reaction, which exist in me. And every bit of our interaction with the life outside of us has lent to the construction of what I refer to as I. Since birth. Since conception. That’s something special.
A glorious, beautiful Woman behind a bar speaks to me and holds back tears. The man she once loved is now fulfilling the dreams they once had together, with another woman. She says, “I have gotten no where.” I say loudly, sincerely with alarm, “Do Not say that” both to her and to myself.
An honorable, beautiful Man in a rain coat and two heavy bags of belongings bums three cigarettes and a lighter from me. Not many words are exchanged but he leaves behind his wife at home. There is no smart use of quotations for this.
I, able and beautiful, sit in a subway car, shaking from low blood sugar, and longing dearly for certain thing[dude]s from a far past. I think to myself, “First I need a burger, then I need to write an e-mail.”
These three people above I love.
Sep_Dinner; Peach; Excellent; Carla; Laser; Time1; Dripping; Green; Tornado; Burn; White; Lightening; NS; Maze; Jackie; Butterfly; Gin; Trev; HolyLight; Fingers; Ladder; Leaf; Water
Directions to enjoying: Open this link in another window so that you can listen and look at pictures simultaneously http://hypem.com/track/887132/Ducktails+-+On+the+Boardwalk. So go ahead and open it now.
Now that you are grooving, take your time. Wonder things. We’re in no hurry.
And now you have just entered into my life for a moment. (You should keep the song going.)
It’s the first day of another Autumn. Autumn. Autumn. Thank the heavens, for my body feels most right when this time comes. Although school is a thing of my past, the ritual reaction of ambition and hope to this climate has yet to stand me up and boy am I thankful. Thankful is the word of the season. To you is this appeasin’ ?
The sky above the spot you stand changes all day long. The things around the spot you stand change all day long. So why are we looking at our phones – again? I knew this but I did not consciously realize this. I just got back from a camping trip alone – Wednesday through Sunday – at campgrounds in a New Jersey state park. I decided to write here about facebook and celluliar devices not because it was what consumed my thoughts on this trip, but it is the one thing that a great majority of people have brought up while we talked about the time I spent alone. And the fact of the matter is, there is no denying my ability to relax and open my mind some, did not come from the very limited (one battery charge for 5 full days) use of my iPhone.
There is a new kind of anxiety in our personal lives that our parents do not know (or perhaps are just becoming aquainted with) and our grandparents surely do not know. These anxieties stem from the relationships we allow ourselves to things like Smartphones; Facebook; Text Messages.
A quick hypothesis as to why such an instant form of communication between individuals in their respective locations has become the norm: In 2002 Blackberry introduced the first smartphone with wireless e-mail capabilities. Memories of men in business suits riding the Long Island Railroad come to mind. These devices gave people the capability to conduct work more instantaneously and soon it became expected that work related communication would be addressed more frequently and rapidly. Once my employer is aware of the fact that I use a computer at home (or assumes such), it falls on me to respond quickly. If I do not, I am neglectful, lackadaisical or simply careless. Back in October when I started working as an assistant editor, my first dip into the ocean of work outside of the service industry or artist assisting, I would miss information or come unprepared if I had not checked my e-mail the night before. I saw for the first time that there is a world that does not even bother to make phone calls anymore – a world that is in front of a computer or working late into the night. I mean, why would one pick up a phone? Well, I soon learned. And now that I work in a restaurant, granted I have taken on more responsibility, I receive text messages while vacationing about things that could be communicated upon return without any time or money lost. So these smartphones and these ways of communicating, have been introduced into our culture on a work basis, but now if we are always using these machines, of course the people in our lives outside of work know. Of course I know that you will be receiving my text message in the next 5 minutes or so. So this brings us to the anxieties.
Anxiety #1: Text messages. A real, physical form of anxiety now comes from a place of desiring and/or expecting immediate responses from people in our lives. Text sent. Twenty minutes pass and naturally they are driving, conversing, on the train or taking a nap (work now barely excuses a lapse in response). An hour goes by and still nothing. It’s been thr-four whole hours now and what the fuck? You start to wonder if something is up. Are you in trouble? Does this person not want to talk to you as much as you want to talk to them? Is this reflective of the balance of care in the friendship/relationship? Or are they okay? Did they get robbed? Did they get into a car accident? Are they in an ambulance somewhere or just straight up having the worst day and they just can’t respond? Then, strangely, you go back to hoping they are just ignoring you for the sake of their own well-being. They just must have never received it. An unanswered text can cause loss of sleep. I do though, think text messages can be great. There is a reason we don’t call as often as we text: because sometimes it is nice to let someone know you are thinking of them, share a passing moment in a day or carry on witty conversation. But how do you draw the line when it comes time to communicate more important things? It is difficult if both parties are not on board to do such and even when they usually are, it’s a trap many have been known to fall into.
Anxiety #2: Oh, The Facebook. You have a free moment. You are procrastinating. You have no new e-mails, you’ve read all the articles that interest you on your news site of choice, but someone is always updating their status, commenting on yours or someone out there that you do not know personally is, without a doubt, commenting on someone-you-do-know’s latest post. It becomes habitual. You need a break, you can no longer work and you type those magic letters into your browser. A time filler in a life where we can’t seem to find enough time. I work in a coffee shop setting and I cannot tell you the variety of individuals who ‘work’ where I work that have there screens full of Facebook; Documentarians, Journalists, Accountants, Actors, Students, Writers, Environmentalists, Contractors, Activists, Painters, Lawyers, Teachers, Business owners, the Barista behind the counter waiting for her next customer, and the list goes on. The presence of Facebook alone seems to contaminate moments where we used to contemplate, remember or daydream. And beyond the over use of Facebook we have the activities that take place. There are many good, beneficial ways to use such a platform. One can share information they find interesting, music they find touching or moving frames full of humor and happiness. But we also fall into negative uses: I have known many to Facebook stalk. Sometimes the people I least expect crumble at the temptation to do so. Why do we read someone’s entire wall down to who ‘likes’ a status that was posted for less than three hours one month ago? Why do we continue to hit ‘older posts’? It’s always to learn something about the person. If it’s a person we find interest in, we like to see the things they have had to say. We like to see photographs of them and wonder if we might find their friends as interesting. Sometimes if we are lucky, their friends’ walls and photos are public and sometimes we will even recognize a person in their photos from an entirely different social circle or state. We want to see the places these people have been and how they respond to them. These are all positive impulses, but the fact is, stories and thoughts shared by individuals one on one are just as touching and rewarding, if not more (I vote more!), so why are we going about our interactions as we are? And sometimes this endless searching into one’s ‘history’ can become dangerous. Let me take it back to the MySpace days: If I were to look at the page of someone I was dating, things would immediately take on an investigative undertone the minute something caught my eye that left me feeling uneasy. Whether it be a post from someone who was feeling similarly towards the person at the time of posting as I was feeling towards them now. Or if the date of a comment did not quite match up to what I had perceived as the actual time line of events. Depending on how far back someone’s wall dates, you can figure out the people they have dated – when they started and when they stopped. You can see when they were doing okay and when things were less than perfect. You read into posts made then or made more recently by someone ‘suspicious’ (according to your very brief and hole-filled investigation). It becomes easy to start reading into things that need not be read into and although we may share too much of our personal lives on these types of sites, there is still not enough to get the picture in its entirety. Doubt begins to form where it need not. The fact of the matter is, I realize there are certain details we do not need to know about each other and made the decision to stop looking at people’s walls almost entirely. Although I am glad to sustain such resistance in this respect, I am guilty of irresponsible Facebook usage. When I feel down; when I have no desire to maintain an active social life, Facebook gives me a false feeling of satisfaction. Or is it false? It’s sort of like a, “Hey guys I am here! I am not here here. But I am thinking and thinking about you and will be back sometime!”
Regardless of how we may use our cell phones, iPhones, computers and such, I think we need be weary. Even those of us with the best heads on our shoulders may be falling and not even realizing it. I am not quite sure how to combat; how to set lines. I am not claiming or desiring to become some kind of Luddite, but it might be a good idea to just ease up – even slightly. I know 5 days without work will do wonders, but 5 days without the ability to constantly check on communication really opened my eyes to what I have been missing and I never thought of myself as one who would lose touch with such a thing. Oh goodness, what have I gotten myself into? There is a lot more to be said but I am tired. I must get out of here now.
If you want an interesting read check it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/technology/16brain.html?scp=3&sq=scientists%20%22into%20the%20wild%22&st=cse
I don’t think these things are Horrible, I just think it is very easy to use them in bad ways and I get the feeling a lot of us might be. So maybe we should look at the sky!!!!!!!!: