Only Me

It feels, this morning, as if I should make a list; so many things are in my days and thoughts.

1. I miss my sister, terribly, though I love the funny email messages we send back and forth. I feel lucky that she has turned out to be one of my best friends, in spite of our major differences, most notably that she wore a leather mini-skirt and lipstick in high school and got all A's and is so smart that I don't even understand what she does. She lives 4363 miles away, which pisses me off every single day, but I adore every bit of her and never stop missing her and always want her advice and would prefer that she be in my kitchen right now, making one of the many yummy things she makes. 

2. Yesterday my brother, Steve, sent me a copy of his son, Dylan's, preschool report card. It contained the word, "truck" no fewer than 5 times. Every part of it made me giggle, except the bit about him not wanting to sit still, which the teachers seemed not to have connected to the part about him being "curious about everything." Some things never change.

3. Last night I baked something called Mrs. Grow's Quick and Easy Coffee Cake, which is a recipe I kept from when I was a second-grade teacher at the Children's School at Emma Willard, about twenty years ago. Mrs. Grow is my friend, Gail, only she's not Mrs. Grow anymore and she's not a teacher, either. She's a painter, and a good one. The coffee cake didn't rise very well; I'm not very good with recipes that include yeast, but the memories it evoked of our teaching days and the thoughts of our friendship were delicious.

4. Right before I went to sleep last night I received an email message from one of the most wonderful women on the planet: the woman who helped us care for Coco from the time she was born. A few days ago Coco and I were driving past the street where she lives in Shelburne and we started talking about how much we love Linda Ryan and how long it's been since we last saw her and how much we miss her. And then...poof! Right out of the blue...a message. I absolutely LOVE that life works that way.

Consider the journal.

Consider the journal.

One of my students at school injured herself very early in the season. It's a ski academy, so the kids are there to train and race and keep up with their studies from their home school. This lovely lass came to Vermont from Manhattan, and she is full of life and humor and warmth, but I could see that the injury and being kept off the snow was really throwing her, so I gave her a journal and asked that she write about all of it. She brought the book to our class the other day, and it turned out that she has been writing, a lot. "But I'm afraid that someone is going to open it and read it," she told me, which led us into a discussion about privacy and social media and our lives today. We talked about how peoples' phones and laptops are the modern version of the journal...how they hold the stories of our lives, and how, quite often, the things people do there turn out to be their undoing. 

I think about this a lot; probably too much: the strange, public, it's all out there for the world to digest society we seem to have created. I am deeply curious about what all this means for us humans. I mostly left Facebook in October -- I sign back on from time to time to see what people are up to -- and every time I leave, thinking, "I haven't missed a thing," which, too, is very curious to me. What happens in that space (and I choose Facebook because almost every single person I know uses it) is pretty much an on-going repetition of what has been happening there during all of the years it's been in existence. There isn't much that's new or fresh or inspiring. It's really fascinating to me that most people talk negatively of the service, and yet everyone seems reluctant to let it go. When I look around during my visits, I see folks on the beach, lots of quotes meant to inspire, people in yoga poses, sunsets, people drinking wine, and everyone Liking what everyone else is doing. Lots of show-offery and gestures shared among people who, I'm willing to bet, don't spend much time together in real life -- people who actually don't really know each other outside of the odd, discarnate boundaries of cyberspace. And it makes me wonder...what would life be like if we didn't have this space in which to tell the world what we're doing? It's the tree falling in the forest question. Do we matter less, in the world we live in now, if what we're doing is not Posted and Liked? And what would our lives be like if we didn't have access to all this information about everyone else? Better? Worse? I have to say that I have yet to hear a truly compelling argument on behalf of the Book; one that makes me believe it's worthwhile. That it's worth the time; the devotion, the attention: some of our most precious commodities. 

Here's a good litmus test. If you use Facebook, take a look at your activity log. There is a 'button' for this function on the front page. Once there, click on the box called "Include Only Me Activity." There you will find, cleverly archived, a list of every single move you've ever made on Facebook. If it makes you cringe; if you would be embarrassed to have someone you care about find that piece of the story of you, it might be time to...rethink the thing. 

As for the rest of the list...

I walked the dog.
I did some laundry.
I read a book.
I watched the sunrise.
I made some coffee and drank it.
Boring as hell.

Amen.