Friday, November 18, 2011

Presence

Coming in late to this discussion, everyone's said most of what I'd say about presents, meaning stuff. I'm one of those obnoxious people who has pretty much everything she wants, in terms of stuff. Plus, if I do want something, I usually just go out and buy it. Meanwhile, most of the people I know also already have what they want. So gift-giving, especially in todays time of regifting, wish-lists, and the state of our landfills, seems to me such a silly thing. But what about presence, rather than presents? I've been thinking a lot of presence, lately, and how little I seem to have of it. And yet, I live in this technological utopia, where everyday more and more gadgets are invented that better allow us to communicate. My new phone gives me Face Time, on top of Skype, on top of messages and calling and email and Facebook and Twitter... And yet I spend so little time really talking to the people I love. Don't get me wrong, I'm in constant contact. "Love the profile pic!" "Movie at 8. See you there." "Hey, skype next week?" Et cetera, et cetera. And yet I think partly because of the plethora of ways to communicate, I now almost resent genuine communication. I spend so much time adding to or answering the inundation of tiny, practically pointless messages that I actively avoid lengthy phone calls, or long emails, because I've simply run out of time in the day and have other things to do. In fact, I've been feeling really lonely recently, but I realized that I've barely talked to any of my amazing, really good friends. I've been in touch, yes, but that's it. No real discussions, no real sharing of feelings or the sort of grooming that relationships need, to stay strong. If I'm honest, and my relationships were primates, I'd be the monkey that perfunctorily pats and runs, when what I really should be doing is to sit down for a nice long spell and eat up all the lice on a friend's body. I need such acts, personally, and my relationships need it, too. But what about Nanowrimo! And grading! It's the end of the semester, fercrissakes! I don't have time to pick nits! So I complain of being lonely, even as I send out a hundred hastily worded messages, or tweets, or Facebook comments..... I'm thinking that instead of worrying about presents, this holiday season, I need to think about upping my presence. Not only do I know it's not made by children in a Chinese sweatshop, but it's something I really want, that only I can give. I hope my friends and loved ones will be feeling just as generous.

8 comments:

Sophie Littlefield said...

i am 100000% sure that i descend from lice-pickers. if there was one grand baboon dame in the crowd who sat in her corner and picked lice all day, while her pals talked through their problems, it was me. So think of me next time you need a longish chat. :)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Hey you! I know exactly what you're saying. I think it's too easy to do exactly what you're describing, lose touch while staying in touch. So since I know *I* was who you were secretly thinking about while you wrote this essay, write/call me when you want! We could set aside time for a long chat, or a long email. And, ya know, those papers will grade themselves. Love you looooooaaaads.

Rachael Herron said...

Me TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. To all of it. In January, let's just sit around and talk and groom each other. I want Sophie to do my eyes and I'll do your hair, Nikki. And Julie can dress all of us.

L.G.C. Smith said...

I like your take on the topic, Nicole. :) The only thing that keeps me from the communication-lite path, which I have strongly resisted, is having a five-year-old in my family. She demands real communication and nothing but, and I am grateful for it. Once she can text, things will change.

Lisa Hughey said...

This was a perfect way to start the day. Lately, I find myself avoiding phone calls because it will take time I know I don't have and that is definitely the wrong way to think about it. I hope this means we will have your presence again in Nor Cal soon.
xo

Lisa Hughey said...

Oh and LICE PICKERS??? Are you guys crazy? Do not even bring that word into our sphere, please. I totally got why in the middle ages people used to douse with kerosene and set their heads on fire.

williamdoonan said...

Monkeys can spend half a day grooming other monkeys, which is kind of nice if you think about it. It's a very social world. But they don't get much writing done.

William Doonan
www.williamdoonan.com

Nicole Peeler said...

Hahahahaha, thanks for all the lovely comments, all of you!

Can't wait to see some of you ladies soon, and I definitely want to get out to Nor Cal to love up the rest of you.

And William, you make a very good point. ;-)