Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Remembering the details

When my sister asked me if I wanted to be a guest blogger for a day or two while she was on her vacation, I hesitated. I read the invitation again, and asked a few questions. Would it be the whole week? One day? What would the subject matter be? Andi quickly answered and said it could be one day, two days, whatever. She told me I could write about anything. I accepted, but had to think about what I would say, to make everything seem, you know, interesting and thought provoking. After all, I am a guest, and want to do this blog justice. My sister does a wonderful job at blogging, and keeps your attention with the smallest details that seem to be swept away in today’s rat race, unless you really focus and pay attention. Stick with me for a moment…

I have very little time to devote to things of this nature, and often find things like facebook and myspace to be huge time wasters. I continue to be poked by people I know: “What? You’re not on Facebook?!? Why not?” Come on - who needs to know that I am headed to the store to buy a gallon of milk? My wife knows when I have gone to the store or my neighbors might see me drive away, but now as a tweeter or someone on facebook, it is standard practice to report such things to the world. I remember the days when such pieces of information weren’t a secret, but surely nobody needed to know.

I think with the speed of life at this stage in the developing world, we crave these details about our friends and other people because our real ‘contact’ with them on a daily basis consists of some strokes on a keyboard, buttons punched on a blackberry or messages left on a voicemail system. We savor such tiny personal details (think gallon of milk example), like the song someone is listening to at the moment. It’s pretty crazy. Try and think back to when you last received a real, hand-written letter, sent through the USPS, and it was one that was written days before the mailman dropped it off at your house.

So this, in a sense was what I decided my subject was to be today. The details of a life that is going by, and getting run over by technology. The little things in life are what a lot of us miss out on, if our schedules are too busy. My sister is very good at reporting these things, and reminds us with almost every post she makes. This is also what my sister is doing as I write this. She’s at the beach with her family, the dogs, our grandmother, our Mom & Dad. They are probably enjoying a glass of wine and at dinner, enoyed a grilled steak that my brother in law marinated, they are likely watching an old classic movie, sitting around and talking on the sand, and listening to the waves cycle along on the shore, through their screen door. Vacations are what we look forward to for a reason: They allow us to slow down and catch our breath, recharge our batteries, and to have the time to focus on and appreciate the details of what life really has to offer. My sister, and the rest of the family that are there deserve to be on vacation. It is hard earned, and is long overdue.

Today, I ran with my 10 year old daughter, A. Now when I say run, you may think, ‘fast’, but when I say run, I mean 9.5 minute miles, and only TWO of them. Real runners go about 6 or 7 minutes per mile, and they go forever. My speed (to anyone who regularly runs) would say I am walking, and basically, I am. The point is that I was delighted that she would and could join me, and this is the kind of detail I will remember forever. We walked (I mean ran) along quietly, on the sidewalks in our block, and watched as the neighborhood settled into a lazy summer evening. Afterwards, we walked over to the nearby college pool and splashed a bit with my wife, M and son, S. We had dinner, and walked our dog Maggie, and we read a chapter in a story to the kids before bed. This is the kind of detail I want to tell people about. Not that I went to the store to get a gallon of milk…

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