How Did I Get Here, And Where Is The Next Turn?

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Brought up Jun 8, 2013

We Have Lost Something Precious

I woke up this morning around my usual time, rolled over, looked at the clock and said to heck with it. Then, the reason I woke hit me. After a stumble to the bathroom, I crawled back in bed. I decided, it's Saturday, I'm sleeping in. To heck with walking, or any other reason to be up at 7 a.m.

At about a quarter to nine, I woke again, stretched, saw the sun filtering through the curtains, a bright, warm day beginning. With a deep sigh, I crawled out of bed, dressed, laced up my sneakers, ran a brush through my hair and headed out.

As I was walking, I did a lot of thinking. It's Saturday, after all.

It used to be that the weekend was a time for doing those chores that didn't get done during the week, and visiting family and friends. I trudged along, getting my mile in easily, but thinking that something is missing in today's world. It hit me what that is, but I am having trouble figuring out the cause of it.

We have lost something. We have lost that physical contact with the world around us.

A while back, when I had driven down to visit the BFF at her mom's house, I stopped by what was once my home. I think I blogged about that. Anyway, after the current resident let me walk around the place, marveling at those little things from my childhood that was still there, I drove to the BFF's. She and I talked of when we used to walk that distance and back sometimes every day, crossing four lanes of highway, and thinking nothing of it. Our moms didn't seem to be bothered with it, either. The BFF commented at the time, "What were they thinking?"

It occurred to me that back then it was no big deal. We knew to watch the traffic, our moms reminding us of that. Otherwise, there was no danger for us.

The 'face time,' actually being with each other, was important when I was a kid, with family, friends, neighbors.

We've lost that for some reason.

Traffic is the least of our worries these days. Kids vanish without a trace from their own homes. It is just not safe to walk about a quarter to half mile just to hang out like we did. But why? Are the bad things that happen regularly the reason we don't allow our kids to do such things now, or has something disappeared in society to make it easy for the bad things to happen?

Now days, with the rush to make things faster, shinier, 'better,' we have lost that 'need' for actual, face to face conversation and time with those important to us.

As a kid, I knew all my neighbors, spent time in their homes. Now, I barely recognize my neighbors away from the neighborhood. One has lived next to us for a few years, and I just recently learned her name. There was a time when if a new baby arrived, all the neighbors visited, brought food, helped out. Yet, I have yet to even see the one across the street from me except at a distance as the mom and dad come and go. It hit me how distant we, as a community, have all become.

Sure, there are still little pockets of that human contact in some areas, but for the most part, we've lost it. Most of us have lost that 'need,' for want of a better word, to have physical contact with people.

The other day, I was babbling on to the Punk about how I couldn't wait to start working so I could get things caught up, my car in traveling condition, so that I could start making regular trips to visit the BFF. She has been struggling with a chronic illness, and even put herself in the ER with a fall, and I feel like a heel for not being there to help her. I mean, that's what you do for those you love, right? Anyway, I was babbling, like I said, and he asked me "Why?" He asked, why do I have this urge to go visit her regularly. For a minute or so, I was stumped, not because I had no answer, but because he asked the question in the first place. That has been on my mind since.

I don't know, but it seems to me that in the shuffle and rush of today, we have lost that human contact. Worse still, most see no reason for it. After all, we can talk on the phone any time, we can e mail, swap Facebook messages, Skype... That's all fine and dandy, but writing the word 'hugs' is just not the same as feeling the warmth of another in an embrace.

Typing words back and forth is really so impersonal at times. You don't hear the nuances of sarcasm, see the twinkling smirk in typed words, for example. Talking on the phone, I don't see the dancing mischief just before my BFF makes one of her crazy, goofy, or raunchy comments that will send us both rolling with laughter, and she doesn't see mine before i say something idiotic.

I wonder why we, as a society, have lost that precious desire for actual, physical contact with others. In losing that, I think we have also lost some of ourselves. We have lost our compassion for others. Sure we can talk on the phone, and here, and say we care, even send things through the mail, UPS, FedEx, if we want to give someone something.

Still, in the end, all we do is hang up the phone, shut off the computer. There is no warm embrace, no kiss on the cheek, no smile to hold on to until the next time we see each other in the flesh.

I can sit here talking to complete strangers, friends, and family with my typed words, but they don't see the tears in my eyes at this moment.

We've lost something very precious... At least I think we have...


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