Thursday, July 29, 2010

Talk to the Hand

Remember when "talk to the hand, not to the face" was the ultimate insult? It appears that everyone took that to heart. I've found myself recently wanting to say "talk to the face, not to the hand!" It might be a few more years before we fully realize the effects of texting- and facebook-only relationships. We are more adept at expressing ourselves electronically than we are in person!

Does this alarm anyone else? I catch myself doing this. Awkward topics occasionally come up over video chat, and instead of responding verbally, I'll type it out! I never do this in person. I've never pulled out a piece of paper and written out what I was going to say because I couldn't explain it. That's absurd. Why is this normal as soon as a gadget is involved? I've met teenagers whose entire dating relationship was texted. They got together, they talked, and they broke up all via text.

Privacy, the 21st century's most endangered word, is thrown out the window with texting. It's no longer acceptable to respond when you want to. You are expected to respond to a text pronto, and there could be relational consequences if you don't. The next generation of phones will probably be waterproof so we can text in the shower, thus avoiding a friendship demise because of 15 minutes of silence.  

I don't mean to sound anti-text. I'm all for it. I'm reluctantly learning to be more conversational and not so mission-accomplished. Texting is especially handy when I have a couple minutes of downtime in public and want to look important and popular... er... um... you get the idea. And thus ends my "technology may not always be the only solution" rant. The End. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lone Ranger

I'm housesitting for the, shall I say plantsitting. Why I agreed to keep plants alive for 3 months, I have no idea. I'm a notorious plant-killer. Grandma loves her plants. Bad combination. There was no interview, or I wouldn't be here writing this. So far, only a few have been lost but are making a surprise comeback!

Flying solo in the Rocky Mountains is decidedly less exciting than I hoped. I used to think I was an introvert with extrovert tendencies, but I'm thinking it's the other way around. It's definitely not as great to have fun by yourself as it is to do it with someone. Dinner is a joke. I stocked up the first week with all these grand plans to cook for myself, only to make it to Friday with a tub of wilted lettuce, some bad tomatoes and one lonely piece of leftover quiche. Eating across the table from Empty just doesn't have the same allure.

Living alone is wonderful for doing things at your own pace and with your own style. I can read, clean, groove, make coffee, come and go, whenever and however I like. It's terrible for laughter, interesting conversation, and spur of the moment bike rides. It's terrible if I choke. It's terrible if I break my legs. It's awesome if I just need to get away. It's perfect for enjoying the simple things. 

In the end, living alone has its ups and downs, just like everything else. I am second-guessing my dream of getting my own apartment, and unless things improve, it will be awhile before I plant my own garden. And I continue to learn that the grass is green on the other side, but it's green here too.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

With Love, Jen

Take a deep breath and put your virtual personality aside for a moment. We are about to venture into a foreign place -- the land of handwritten letters. Three weeks ago, a letter dropped into my mailbox for the first time in years. Not a greeting card; a letter. Six pages of bliss. I read it four times in a row and laughed out loud to myself, not because it was funny, but because I was so delighted.

We write letters differently than any other way we communicate. Putting pen to paper feels more permanent. For one thing, you can't ever look back at it to see what you wrote. In a world that has an electronic record of almost everything, not knowing what you've said can be unsettling. Once it's in the mail, it's gone. It's almost as though your thoughtful side intuitively knows it's time to shine. We usually write about more meaningful things in letters than we do in texts or emails. We usually treasure letters more than texts or emails.

This letter was so captivating not only because of what it said, but because it was written by someone's hand. No one else in the world has this handwriting. I see charm and personality, not font. It is special because I know how long it takes to write a letter -- and I know it was sent only to me, not 755 facebook friends. I am closer with her simply because we exchanged one letter, the first of many.

Here is my idea for you: sit down with a blank piece of paper, a pen, and a person in mind. Start writing what flows to your fingers, and you may not be able to stop. Receiving a letter in return might be the highlight of your year. Seriously. It will at least be more memorable than the annual mass "Merry Christmas! I'm so thankful for your friendship!" text. Happy writing!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Land of Corn and Fireflies

Windblown and sticky, six of us pulled into the Eberspacher driveway after eight hours on the road. Eight hours without air conditioning, in the sultry heat of June, surrounded by cow farms and other unidentified odors. 
Why would people choose to live in Nebraska? We didn’t know. Yet. Tumbling out of the car, we faced an expansive cornfield that gave me a fraction of the feeling I have standing at the edge of the sea.  A train clunked on behind us and Lucy, the German Shepherd, sat by the front door as if this was her friendly queendom. 
The family inside the farmhouse greeted us like we were the long-lost relatives. We were taken straight to our VIP sleeping quarters, to an air-conditioned basement full of soft air mattresses and a bathroom big enough for the entire Nebraska population. 

Those of us not in the wedding explored around the farm while everyone went to rehearsal. There is a lot of open space between people in Nebraska, so our free spirits came out and we laughed long and loud, disturbing only Lucy.  We walked along the corn-lined gravel road and felt surprisingly relaxed. I saw my first fireflies that night and was completely enchanted, as if I’d been invited to a spontaneous garden party. 
It was Saturday afternoon when the radiant and relaxed Elisa slipped into her pretty white dress and hopped in the car. The only decorations in the chapel were candles and wildflowers. Nothing distracted from their vows to each other and it was the sweetest wedding I’ve ever been to. After a catered dinner, Krispy Kreme groom’s cake, and my first ever bouquet catch, they were off! 

Allie took this awesome snap.
When we thought about going to celebrate afterward, we remembered we were in Milford and did the only thing we could do: we went back to the farm. We rode in the bed of the old pickup out to the pasture to watch the stars and the distant lightning. We soon found ourselves driving through corn, then running through corn until we got scared of the dark. I think I can speak for everyone: we had the times of our lives. 

Thanks, Nebraska. I haven’t felt so free in a long, long time.