Monday, June 30, 2008

The fall of community...

First came phone calls. Then email. Then texting. MySpace. Facebook addiction. And now... a blog?!? One that will likely never be read by anyone outside my immediate family?


Why do people blog? Why email? Why Twitter and Facebook and text and dagnabit why have all of these technological phenomenons become verbs? "I'm Facebooking Zoe about dinner tomorrow," or "I'll just text Jen to see when she'll be in town." Why not call? Because we're losing our ability to pick up phones. We spend our days in stifled box-buildings with fake light, fake air, fake plants, making fake-friendly calls to "clients" and "prospects." We are tired of talking - of communicating - at the end of the day. (Or, sometimes, by the end of the morning...)
Do you know your neighbors? I mean know your neighbors? Names - first and last? Birthdays? The names of their children, even if they are grown and moved away years ago? Grandkids?

When is the last time you wrote a letter, sealed the envelope, put a stamp on it and sent it on its merry way, courtesy of the USPS? (Wedding thank you notes do not count.)

I'm tired. I think perhaps many of us are tired. I want to sit down and connect with others in my community, even in my family. I want to host a neighborhood block party - and actually have people look forward to it and come join in the festivities. I want to be offered extra lemons from a neighbors tree, bring lemon bread back as a thank you, go on a walk and stop ten times to ask ten different locals about their ten different latest and greatest "memorable moment of the week." I want to have friends over for dinner that only have to walk down three houses to go home.

Selfish? Or a natural instinct that we are shying away from, even intentionally denying? This is not a call for a 1950's Stepford commune, but for common sense and connection while trying to get by in an electronically (impersonally) driven world.

To do today: take a walk and compliment a neighbor on one thing about their house or garden. Write a letter to the first person I open my address book to. Bake for my co-workers' meeting in the morning. And smell the sweet peas.