Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Uniformitarianism and the Key to Friends

Do you have any friends?
And no, facebook doesn't count!
Neither do the followers of your many tweets.
Such people are numbers,
not just in sum and contrast,
but in numerals of a dual variety.
Digital signals passed back and forth on remote servers
to be stored as long as electricity runs
for posterity's curiosity to peruse.
What is an electronic landfill will be
a Sociologist's goldmine.
What great things will our great great grandchildren learn about us?
That Daniel and Gina were married for 4 years
without a ring.
That Star and Tom were friends
on 30 different occasions.
Pictures of your grandparents when they were binge drinking in college
and 10 years thereafter.
That Jen was studying for her Stat final on May 15 2008 at 8:59 pm.
What I'm about is the old kind of friend that you used to "hang out" with
--in person. You used to talk and interact.
There were things like body language, tone, inflection,
glances, distractions, impediments, awkwardness,
honesty that couldn't hide
and lies that were apparent.
Of this sort of person we have been short on.
Uniformitarianism does no good here.
In high school we were the Senior Class Social Chairs.
We knew more people in our graduating class than anyone else did.
We met all the right people in our first week of college
and continued amassing them until the day after graduation.
When we moved on to our next opportunity we plugged in quickly,
and stayed connected to old friends by letters without ink.
But successive relocation breeds
excessive inkless emotions
shared to a light-emitting window
that leads us deeper into ourselves
by the tapping and dancing of fingers;
virtual masturbation of the heart.
Our library of friends grows slower.
Which to read?
Most have been shelved to dust.
The friend list is long and empty
of the things that make and made them.
Each day past makes the reconnecting harder
and less likely.
Loneliness increasing linearly
with temporal distance.
Too bad.
Even before electronics, this was the case,
retirement being the bell toll.
Both cases have the same end,
except one will be at the end of your driveway,
and the other will be a world wide web away.
Some day facebook will be but a graveyard
of people and events groups
and memories,
writings and drawings,
interests and givings.
Three Mile Island
with millions of near-human remains.
Can we get out before it goes under?
Can we go without it before we go with it?
Just make sure to message me before you go.
Or better yet,
e-mail me the e-vite.
I'll make sure to check "attending."

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