A Little Less Preoccupied, A Little More Happy

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Sometimes the preoccupations, joys, and demands of this life – of any life – make friendships seem almost optional – something you can go back to when you have time and space after all obligations are met. I am guilty of back-burnering too many things and people that engage me in a positive way, even within my own house.

I withdraw to my iPad too often, looking for the news or posts that will push me a little further along in advocacy and giving me the illusion of being in touch with people. I am grateful for the ways my online exploits keep me connected to people I love, but sometimes it usurps the ones closer to home. That, my boy would say, is simply too stupid.

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Today, a bunch of little things went wrong but they led me to a place I was clearly meant to go, to see someone I always love to see. I came away with this bracelet as a reminder to be more deliberate about being a little less useful and a little more happy.

Facebook, circa 1977

Many years ago this is where I spent an embarrassing amount of time, talking to my friends on the phone. I pulled the mod white trimline phone out of my sister’s room just out of sight on the right and sat on these stairs my back to the wall and my foot on the door trim at the left – that door led to our third floor where there were more bedrooms and the eaves where we hid and concocted secret clubs with arcane rules that lasted a week, if that. Through that door and up the stairs I was a little girl, and in 1974 I moved downstairs and around the corner from this spot and became first a teeny bopper and then a teenager, talking on that phone pretty much the entire time.  I talked to the same three or four people over and over – to my best friend who lived a block away, my first boyfriend who lived three blocks down the street, or a few friends across town. I’d be hard pressed to recount anything we talked about, but I remember laughing until I cried, learning to interpret or impose stony silence, and what it meant to hang up on someone. I remember willing that phone to ring, its cord stretched out into the hall, and the receiver cord so distended it hardly curled anymore. They boy friendishness consisted of one kiss, maybe two, but then hours and hours of time on that phone long after we broke up. He remains one of the best friends who is a boy I have ever had; he set a standard for good and witty conversation by which all who followed have been measured. So none of those moments are captured on the web like the hilarious banter I see between my kids and their friends on Facebook; I am glad they allow me to eavesdrop on their exchanges and see them delight in their own cleverness. Since I don’t have a history archived on the web, this photo will just have to do.

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