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Archive for the ‘7. Sunshine is Served’ Category

I was really looking forward to this weekend. I had so much planned. I was going out to dinner, really going out and getting dressed up. I was meeting with a few chair members to discuss plans for a big fundraiser coming up this summer. And of course I had all the usual engagements: time with my personal trainer at the gym, my therapy session, some errands to run, a hair appointment, and always work to catch up on.  But. We had about 3 feet of snow come down all at once, faster than high speed wireless; accompanied by a huge drop in temperature creating a very heavy crust of ice over everything. It started coming down late yesterday afternoon and didn’t stop. The kind of snow where you look down and get involved in something and when you look up, you think you have time traveled to a different era.  One in which everything is varying shades of white and all living things have become statues.  Kids around town were cheering even more than the usual sugary Saturday morning.  But I can’t stop the frown that has formed at the corners of my mouth. Everything is down. Internet’s gone, phone lines gone, roads are impassible, power is out.  The world is closed for the day, come back later.

It’s at least a moment to reflect on how amazing the internet is.  A way to break down our false sense of isolation, of living on an island and instead to realize that Croatian farmers have as much in common with Japanese woodworkers as elderly hospice patients have in common with mural artists in Central America. Before, maybe no one I know has anything to say about, oh, the best way to prepare a cup of coffee. But then you go online and hundreds of people are sharing their methods, their recipes, their love for a particular style of coffee. It’s like traveling all over the globe to as thousands of people one question; you can simultaneously have a conversation with women in Nicaragua and France as if they were neighbors you could just walk over and ask any old afternoon. Maybe I am pushing the point to far, waxing too poetically the beauty of the world wide web. But think about the abstract shift in thinking this creates. Suddenly, you can be in two places at once. Our barriers to language are over because online translating requires just the click of a button. People who have never breathed the same air can have a conversation together. Our lines of separation are disappearing- there is literally a way to connect everyone together. History and the future come together in a place where time does not have to be linear. Our illusions about separation are crumbling as we realize the common threads we share. And the greatest part about it is that there is no one creator, dictator, leader organizing this web. The internet is not stored in some big warehouse with a lock and key. It is made up of all of us – all of our computers and cds and thumb drives contain more information than could possibly be contained and erased.   But at this moment, my access to this magic cloud is cut off and it’s as if my lungs are crushed by the weight of it.  I can hardly breathe.   I live outside town, a four mile walk to the nearest bus stop, gas station, local grocery store. Great. Well. I guess I will just have to re-arrange my schedule. I still have my iPhone. Errands can wait. If the internet comes back (it always comes back!) then I can have the meeting become a virtual conference; I can call and re-schedule our dinner date, and I can always get work done for next week. I sit and make notes and memos for a while. Clean out old e-notes and re-organize my apps and calendar. This isn’t so bad.

 

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Ha, oh millions.  I really would.  Who wouldn’t?  Okay, well what busy adult wouldn’t?  It reminds me of this article I once read in the New Yorker…you know how kids can’t sit still and they fidget and whine about an hour taking f o r e v e r. . . there is a thought about time that explains why every year seems to pass by faster and faster: If you look at one year as a fraction of your life, then the older you get, each year the denominator gets bigger.  Thus, the fraction gets smaller; meaning that year is a smaller length of your relative experience of time.  So truly, time goes by faster as we age.  For example, a toddler feels like waiting for school to end is eternity because a year is 1/4th of his life. So according to his mom’s age, it’s as if one year is nine years.  One hour in waiting room is nine hours, one more day until Disneyland is nine days!  It makes so much sense.  And most people I know would say I would LOVE to have time work out that way for me.  A weekend becomes a week and lunch breaks last all day.   So maybe the question is not so much changing time, but our perception of it.  Or just becoming kids again. Although to be honest, I wouldn’t want to be a kid again.  I’d take an automatic coffee maker and a fresh martini over toys any day.  When I was growing up, my parent’s always said I was too serious.  I didn’t really like playing with other kids on the playground, I would have rather sat on the park bench and talked about books or what I wanted to be when I grew up.  At birthday parties I had an easier time talking with the moms than their children my age.  And it drove my brother and sister wild that I liked to clean my room.  At that point in my life, I couldn’t wait to be an adult, to complain about not having enough time, to say things like Let’s do lunch and I’ll look at my calendar and see if I can fit it in.  And years later, here I am, just as I had hoped and dreamed.  It is one of my biggest strengths- to be able to measure time.  Where others are late or waste the day, I can tell you:  Lunch can be as quick as 14 minutes if you eat something that doesn’t require a spoon, which leaves 36 minutes to run some errands.  Things like this mean I am terrific at quantifying my day- breaking it into squares of minutes and hours and then re-packing it in like tetris blocks stacked solid.  Maybe that’s what this all really comes down to: I always would have rather played tetris than let’s-pretend-to-be-princesses.   Funny, I haven’t thought of my younger self in a long time.  It’s nice to know I gave myself what I wanted.  And you know, I wouldn’t trade it.  I see all those girls I knew; the ones who played dolls and house now really do have babies and make dinner all day.  The ones who dreamed of princes and heart-throb boyfriends do spend all their time gushing and blushing about how beautiful love is, ignoring the idea that there could be anything else in the world besides one person.  No wonder they say “What a small world!”

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I only have an hour, is that okay? I serve on two non-profit boards, am acting as a financial consultant to a handful of people, am in the process of bidding on a few properties, have had the largest client base of my career, and am diving in to a new hobby of website design so I’m sorry if I seem rushed to find time to even eat a sandwich.

A lot of people would see my schedule and shudder.  Do you want to take a look?  Okay, here’s my Google calendar –ahooh! looks like I just got that email response I’ve been waiting for- okay sorry, so here’s the calendar…  Now see, I can flip through the next few weeks and there’s nothi-wait- here’s a two hour break on the 13th maybe I can call Jen back and tell her I could meet up then, great.  I love my iPhone, see how easy all that was? Just a tiny flick of the fingers and email, phone calls, planners, camera, music, weather, shopping, I mean whatever is right there immediately, it’s probably why I’ve been so successful and busy lately because it just streamlines everything, so that’s definitely the answer to your question: I use my free time to fill up my free time with other stuff.  I love being busy, I love making contacts and networking and communicating with people.  We live in such a unique time in human history- never before has an individual been able to instantly talk with someone across the globe connect with complete strangers on a shared experience via the web sell and buy goods internationally without ever physically exchanging currency musicians and artists and writers can share their creations with millions of people governments and businesses can update policies fluidly.  I could go on, but the idea still blows my mind: we are part of this ever-flowing and constantly adapting and interchanging current of ideas and energy.

So you clearly have enthusiasm for networking and the advance of digital development.  But there has to be something you enjoy outside of work. 

Of course.  I guess my response sounds a little overkill. Yes, there are lots of things I enjoy outside of work like  I always feel great after a forty-five minute run at the gym I like to travel to big cities -I actually live a little ways outside of town, the house my partner and I bought was just too beautiful to pass up and besides, it’s not too long of a drive to downtown- but I always get a thrill from the speed and anonymity of sky scrapers and buses and concrete one of my favorite parts of the day is when I get up (really early) and brew a cup of dark, fragrant, arid coffee and  I sit beside the glass wall of the kitchen and read the NY times on my phone as the mug steams up a soft-sided, egg-shaped section of the window.  Often I see a neighbor woman who gets up early too.  She either likes to sit in one spot in her kitchen all day (I can’t imagine!) or has some physical disability and can’t stand and I only guess this because sometimes I come home from lunch and still see her sitting there.  Speaking of sitting, I’ve got to get up and go Thanks so much for your time and your questions I look forward to continuing this chat did I mention I really support your public radio station?  I believe I donated this year let me check hmmm yes here it is great  keep it up good bye!

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