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It has been one month since Kelsea flew 1399.9 miles away to the west to go to college. It feels like much longer to me.

I was imagining that with the plethora of communications channels these days, we would be in touch more often. When I was in college, my parents sent me letters, and I called them once a week. Back in those days of yore, we still had long distance charges, so it was always after 8:00 in the evenings, usually on a Sunday night. After all, my father would always call his mother on Sunday nights after the rates went down, something he did until the day she moved in with my parents. Even at the beach, he would walk down to the telephone booth by Mr. Godwin’s to call her at the same time every week.

Today, with email, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, text messages, twitter, snapchat, and probably lots of other things I don’t know about, as I say, I assumed Kelsea and I would be in semi-constant communication. However, my daughter is the exception to the rule of her age, and is not a fan of social media or spending hours on the computer. As she pointed out to me, I should think this is a good thing – she is spending her time reading, studying (I hope), playing ultimate, making friends, and exploring her new self, surroundings, and independence.

In an ironic twist of fate, I find that I am communicating with her via the occasional letter (though my first and favorite letter did not make it through the mails) and phone calls. She tends to call me on Sundays, a sweet coincidence, since I never told her about my father’s phone calls. I love to hear about her new life, though I find little to tell her about mine just now, which is okay. I do send her texts once in a while, but don’t want to encroach on her new life. I wasn’t a helicopter parent when she was here, and I won’t become one now that she’s gone. We Skype on occasion, and I’ve been lucky enough to see her space and meet some of her friends through Skype – I do have to be conscious of being dressed in something other than a bedsheet when I answer her Skype calls, since I never know if it will be just the two of us, or me, her, and roomful of others.

It’s hard to find the balance, to know what the balance is. I know she misses me, and I also know that she needs to learn how to manage that feeling. I know I miss her, and I suppose I have to learn to manage that feeling too. I do send her a message every single day – some funny or sweet animal picture  – just so she knows I am out here and thinking about her. Parents have gone through this challenge for decades, if not centuries, when their children leave home. We are lucky to have the open channels available to us that we do, a little luxury that parents long ago didn’t have. I do know one thing though: she is happy. And that’s all that matters.

IMG_3865
Bellingham, Washington.

Quote of the day: “Now I understand that one of the important reasons for going to college and getting an education is to learn that the things you’ve believed in all your life aren’t true, and that nothing is what it appears to be.” — Daniel Keyes

Daily gratitudes:
Cleaning up
A Broncos win (after a near heart attack)
A talk with my daughter
Petey’s new rear end
Beautiful Colorado days

I have actually envisioned taking a pistol to my computer from time to time, but so far, I haven’t gone through with it. So far.

It’s been a week of technical frustration here at El Bungalow de Sweetie. Even though a lawnmower is not technically technology, after yesterday’s fiasco, I’m including it under the leaky umbrella of awfulness.  As I mentioned in last night’s rant, my phone is a pisser these days as well.

I am a late adopter, marrying an early adopter, and so MKL thought it would be great for me to get a SmartPhone about a year ago. Which I did. And I have regrets. I am now one of those people who no longer look out the window of the bus. I’m one of those people who can’t leave home without my phone. I’ve become one of those people I always snarked about.

When you upgrade to more sophisticated technology, you quickly integrate it into your daily life so that you feel dependent on it. And when it fails you – like my phone SO does often – you feel frustrated and betrayed. My phone deleted every picture I had taken since June. All by itself.  Just for some bitchy spiteful reason that it doesn’t want to talk about. That includes pictures from trips to Monument Valley and to Topsail. I hadn’t backed the pictures up on my computer because those two systems refused to speak to each other over the USB cable. (I think my phone has some personal problems.) While I mediated THAT communication breakdown last night, after downloading two separate programs that claimed they would recover the missing images, I am still bereft of said images. (Those programs lied. They were no help at all.)

When we were at Topsail, I got to talking with a lady slightly older than I. We were commiserating about the intrusion of technology in a place that feels like a throwback to an earlier era, as Topsail does. I remember when I was a kid at Topsail, my Dad would walk to the newspaper boxes in front of Mr. Godwin’s Market every morning to pick up copies of the Pender Chronicle, the Wilmington Star, and the Raleigh News & Observer (my Dad loved newspapers). That’s how we got our news. There was no TV. He had a radio that he brought with him that he set on the big table. That’s how we got our weather. Everyone at his work knew that he was out of town and unreachable. He had capable staff covering for him, and besides, nothing is as urgent as we think it is. We had no phone. He would walk down to the old glass pay-phone booth on Saturday nights to make his weekly calls to my grandmother. If my friends wanted to be in touch with me while we were gone, they would write me letters addressed to c/o General Delivery. Which they did.

We were not out of touch. We were in touch with each other, with the rhythm of the sea, with cooking and cleaning up after ourselves, with board games and books. We were simply at our ease.

I miss that. I can sometimes find that feeling on Anegada, when my internet doesn’t work. I could find it more often if I were disciplined enough just to disconnect. But there’s something different about disconnecting, as opposed to not having the connection in the first place. I can’t quite put my finger on it – it’s subtle and it’s infiltrating our concept of what we think we need (as opposed to what we actually need.)

All the noise of technology is drowning out the silence, the stillness, the mindfulness, and the care we took with things and with each other. Of course, I say this as I’m typing on a computer (as opposed to a typewriter) to an audience of hundreds who I would never have reached were it not for technology.

Ah, the irony of it.

And as for my phone, it was self-centered enough to save its own selfies, even though it wouldn’t save my pictures. I was going to post one of those pictures to accompany this blog entry, but guess what? I can’t find any of the pictures I did download from my phone last night anywhere on my computer.

And so, I bid you a disgusted good night.  May your dreams be techno-free.

 

 

 

A friend remarked this morning, “I miss your personal blogs.”  It made me think.  I was writing much more personal stuff when I was much more stressed, anxious, in turmoil, etc.  That’s not to say that my life has now calmed down particularly, but I noticed when I woke up that I was less stressed than I’ve been in…longer than I can remember.  Of course, now I’ve been up a few hours and I’ve got new stresses, but that lovely awakening, with the skies blue and the sun shining, the birds chasing each other around the split-rail fence, it was almost as good as I’ve felt for ages.

But back to my friend’s comment — I suppose everything I write is personal – after all, I’m a person, so how could it be anything but?  I looked back at some of my older posts to try to see if I could see the difference between then and now, personal vs. less personal.  While perhaps it’s not as clear to me as to someone else, I do see the difference.

Looking at it from the inside out, as opposed to the outside in, as readers will see me, all I know is that I am changing, growing stronger.  I look back on some of the dark posts, and feel pleased that I didn’t take a handful of sleeping pills, that I didn’t give up.  Had I done so, I wouldn’t be here to see this lovely day. 

I suppose it’s similar to my question the other day about “soul-level” writing.  Am I not in touch with some level of my soul just now, and so I’m unable to write from my soul?  Is my muse on vacation?  Distracted?  I can’t say.  I’m afraid we’ll all just have to wait until I can get back in touch with her for more personal blog entries.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy what you get.

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