Posted by: scintillatingspeck | November 25, 2012

Face to face.

I spend a fairly sizeable amount of time online.  If you are reading this blog, you might be familiar with this phenomenon, this attraction to words and images and communication through a medium that allows us to “meet” with others we might not otherwise “see.”  Friends who are thousands of miles away can be connected.  New friends can be made.  Lively discussions can happen, often asynchronously, offering great convenience.  Any topic whatsoever can be explored.  Information can be gathered.  Resources can be shared.  And as a writer (because, see, I’ve broken down and admitted it to myself, that I’m a writer, I need to write, it tears me apart and makes me whole again), I have this astonishing ability to self-publish via a blog to my tiny audience; I have a way to make my voice heard.  In so many ways, the possibilities make my heart sing, and I am deeply grateful for this extraordinary tool.

And yet, it will never be enough.

There is a real, physical world, and it’s a world that I love madly.  It’s full of life and stories and beauty.  It’s also full of heartache and anguish.  It’s full of forests to walk in, mountains to wander on, rivers to swim in, pine trees to lie under.  There are owls to glimpse, gardens to tend, milkweed pods full of fluff to blow.  There is a cat that needs abundant petting and love.

And the people.  The real, in-the-flesh people.  My family, I saw them this holiday weekend, and my sister said, “You do realize you’re addicted to your computer, right?”  I did use it a lot, I confess.  Part of it was a conflict-avoidance maneuver.  Part of it was my ongoing drive to write.  Part of it was wanting to stay in close contact with a few friends in particular.  But I apologize, family, for not being as present as you deserved.  We did see each other face to face, and we did have some good conversations and connection, but I do also see the hold that the online environment has on me.  I know it’s hard for you to understand, but there is also this ongoing metamorphosis I keep experiencing, and some of it is here, in this vat of ether, and I need to follow it to the end.

And there are more people, real people, to whom I write back and forth with blazing words, trying so hard to encapsulate meaning within the limitations of vocabulary.  They are people I long to look in the eye, face to face, and to experience the glory of intonation, nuance, body language, facial expression, pauses, laughter.  What kind of consolation prize is “LOL” compared to the sound of real laughter?

This is the resolution I have arrived at: these people I care so much about, I’m not going to leave them in the pixelated sphere.  It’s entirely insufficient.  No, I must do whatever it takes to be able to see them, really see them.  And no, pictures and Skype are not enough, either.  If it doesn’t involve the teakettle whistling, it doesn’t count.

This is not the easiest task for a born introvert.  It involves reaching out, making invitations, and (shudder) scheduling.  Scheduling!  Was there ever a more odious task?  Why do I loathe it so much?  I suspect a good part of it is because it brings me smack up against the Culture of Busy-ness, which fills me with rage.  It shouldn’t be this damned hard to see people!  I seethe.  We should be present for each other.  It should be built into the way we live, not driven out like an annoying extra frill on the ‘real’ business at hand.  This is the real deal!  Still, there’s no way around it in this culture: to see people, I must schedule.  So I commit to the task of looking at dates and times and the undercurrent of discomfort that always brings.

Friends, I fervently await your beautiful faces, looking back at me.

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Responses

  1. It should be built into the way we live, not driven out like an annoying extra frill on the ‘real’ business at hand. This is the real deal! Still, there’s no way around it in this culture: to see people, I must schedule. I hear you….. this was a great piece of writing bravo keep up the good work.

  2. All the people whom one meets in a lifetime are but fellow-travellers for only a part of one’s journey. As is said, the furtherest they can accompany one is up to the cremation grounds; that is the surest place of the parting of ways.

    Yes, one must make the most of every acquaintance in this journey: awareness of the transience of each acquaintance serves as the imperative to do so.


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