Friday, November 18, 2011
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.