Oh, and then I got an email from someone linking to this article. It’s from the New York Times, and it’s about how nobody calls anyone anymore. She sent it to explain why she never phones. I still phone her, but she doesn’t really pick up or phone back. So I guess she’s just looking at my calls (and everyone else’s), and saying, “Hmm. Nope, don’t feel like it.”
The article I think was supposed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it made me feel icky, and like a little bit of humanity was dead, like the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider was out and no one noticed or something. Your voice is important to me. It is a tattoo on my soul. It has been there since the first time I met you. It is part of who I fell in love with. It is not a vestigial limb of this relationship to me.
Your time is important to me. Calling me is a kind of visitation. It is a friendly haunting. If you need me right now, I will be there for you. You are not a bother to me. You are not a nuisance. I am not so self-centered as to not be there for you when you ask for me. I made a pledge to be in this thing, and that hasn’t changed. I am not too busy for you. Jersey Shore is not more important than you are. Even work is not more important. I will answer and find out if you are on fire or not. If you are not, I will get back to you. Loved ones, loved ones visit the building, take the highway, park and come up and see me, I’ll be working, working but if you come visit, I’ll put down what I’m doing, my friends are important.
Nobody who’s anyone uses the phone. Except everyone I know but her. Yeah, there are a couple of people who take some prodding, but I get them on the phone eventually.
But I guess I’m just not cool. I never did fit in in New York with the cool people. I wore colors. I wasn’t afraid to dance to my headphones on the subway. I drank my coffee black. I rode the bus. I was conspicuous.
And I’m not cool here, either. I knit, and it’s not fashionable anymore. I don’t drink, so I don’t go for drinks. I don’t know who the new bands are. I’m not listening to Arcade Fire, I’m listening to Blood, Sweat and Tears. I can’t go out on Tuesday night to get my nails done because I’ll be at work at 6 pm. I can’t discuss the issues of the day because I am ill-informed.
I do like the phone. I like synchronous communication with other human beings. I don’t like it to always be as mediated by technology as it possibly can. I’m already so removed from my life–do I have to be removed from my friends that much more?
But I can’t force her to have my values. She sees it differently. I suppose I could ask her what her values are in a friendship, what friendship means to her. I don’t need to push my views on her. I met her in a different chapter than any of my other friends, so it’s natural that she behaves differently. I didn’t meet her at the same time as my friends from high school, or college, so why would she communicate the same way as people from then? I still talk with someone who I met in the eighth grade much the way we did back then, and we spend hours on the phone. We always have.
But some people find that exhausting. I can’t expect everyone to do everything my way. That’s self-centered, too. I need to adjust and compromise. Just because it’s sad to me doesn’t mean it’s sad to others. I like to spend time alone, and that makes true extroverts sad for me.
So. I don’t know where this leaves me.
Talking Heads– “Don’t Worry About the Government” (1978)