Sunday, August 28, 2005

in the light of day, it looks much, much worse

Seriously, I am so depressed after last night. Maybe it's just my 30-year-old what-does-it-all-mean / how-did-I-get-here crisis. I feel so disappointed. I blame the Internet.

It's not that my friends don't love me anymore. I know they do. Or they did, when we were all still real to each other.

But here's what: E-mail and Internet have made it so easy to "be in touch" with everyone, at the end of the day we're truly in touch with no one. The effortlessness of digital communication has taken all the value out of human contact. From day to day it's easy to sit at my desk, in the middle of 15 different tasks, and fire off messages to everyone I know and love. "I've got people," I think. "So many friends. How lucky am I?" But no string of e-mails, no matter how heartfelt or witty, can take the place of a long conversation with a friend. It's like the difference between watching a McDonald's commercial and sinking your teeth into a Big Mac. It seems so silly, but I feel I need to be reminded that I'm human; that I'm nourished by contact -- eye, hand, body. Make a mental list of your 10 closest friends: When was the last time you hugged them? When was the last damned time you could look them in the eye and say, "It's really good to see you"?

Our sense of community, that essential thing that feeds us, is spread so thin it's all but gone. If you want proof, take a look at the pictures from my birthday. I invited 16 people; 10 RSVP'd "yes" with enthusiasm; two of those who couldn't make it at the last minute thoughtfully called to tell me so. That leaves eight.

Three people showed up last night, and one of them was me.

Nothing feels real anymore. There is no empathy and no accountability -- among friends or strangers. I'm as guilty as anyone else. And I am so, so sad.

30th Birthday Resolutions:

1. Use the phone.
2. Figure out who my real friends are and schedule face time with them.
3. Get out of the damned house.
4. Talk to strangers.
5. Smile more.
6. Call my Grandma.
7. Don't work so hard.
8. Start showing up for life.

1 comment:

Eric the Something said...

Took me a few more years than you to get to this point, but I work nights, so it is a similar equation.