Monday, February 24, 2014

Virtually yours, Timothy

"It's how it is..." could come across as resignation or it may validate or be little more than an assertion of something that is so. It's "so." So what? Such an idea struck me today, while I sat on a bench on campus here at UAB. Teaching duties complete, and having walked toward my car, the bench seemed a welcome and convenient place for a brief nesting, putting aside my briefcase, books, and the duties of my feet - walking. To decide to just sit for a few minutes takes some courage for me, as I remain hyper vigilant most of the time I'm breathing, and to sit takes me out of the constant considerations: "what if; who; why did that happen and the multitude of messages, beliefs, thoughts, curses, prayers, lists."

This urgency for movement, and activity is really a survival instinct, one that so many have - I should think many do. Movement keeps those in pursuit of me (us?) at bay, but so often, I do believe that I am the one in pursuit. My suspicion is I am my own worst monster, nightmare, fear, ghost. Actually, such is more than suspicion. Turn around and look at what is in pursuit or sit on a bench and just have a chat with him (or her or it or them or...). For me and many of my fellow bloggers, writing provides that very chat, and fortunately, writing provides safety for the chat. It is quiet; no one is yelling. It is usually solitary; no others around makes me feel safe.

Writing allows us to talk, speak, share, confide, giggle, cry, mourn and to do so as long as we like with no need to wait on another to agree, or validate, or become impatient with our intrinsic, soul centered thirst to tell. Consider how much it costs to secure someone to listen for a fifty-minute hour. The comfort there (as if I had ever been to a professional "listener" - honestly), is that such a person HAS to listen or at least pretend to do so. There is no relationship outside of the listening (seems so mystical when so framed) - mystical like a rite of passage.

Sadly, we have often passed through the times of listening to others or having others listen to us. There just isn't time; we'll be late for an imagined duty that matters to no one but ourselves, and that only because it keeps us so busy, we don't have to feel - feel the seat of a bench, or a gust of crisp wind. Don't have to listen to an elderly and venerable person who has so much to share, so much wisdom and stories...stories help define us, remind us, color our history, engage being human. Listening, engaging each other, especially our elders, has become so foreign.

We have replaced the fire, the fireplace, the Sunday dinner table, the breakfast table, the water cooler, having company over to our homes for coffee and cake; cigarette smoke and ash trays; a cold cocktail in a real glass; coffee or tea in china cups and saucers, sweetened with sugar - real sugar - time spent with people. So, I blog and surf and e-mail and instant message and maybe one day will Skype - I'm in the mix, but thoroughly enjoy embracing the images of sharing our lives, stories, gossip and all the nice and nasty of being human, yet without being connected to a power cord.


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