village

The Human Factor.

"If we can call them friends then we can call them on their telephonesand they won't pretend that they're too busy or that they're not alone. And if we can call them friends then we can call... Holler at them down these hallowed halls. Just don't let the human factor fail to be a factor at all."

A couple of days ago, I walk talking to a momma friend in Orlando and she was expressing her frustration at how hard it was to meet other mommas.  She said, "Went to a mommy meet up this morning and no one else came!  So bummed... when I asked a group of mommies if they were a part of the mommy group I came looking for they said, 'Do we look like we are sunshiney?'  Not sure what that meant, but I wanted to say, 'No, you actually look like meanies!'"  I completely understand her frustrations because if not for the moms I already knew, I'm not sure I would have any mommies to talk to.  I was walking my little one around the neighborhood one day right after she was born and a momma and her baby walked right past us and barely even looked.  As I watched her fade away into the distance I thought how cool it would have been to make a mom friend in my neighhorhood!  But sadly it wasn't to be... she just kept walking without even so much as a hello.

Yesterday, my daily walk with my little one was a long one.  I walked around several blocks of my neighborhood and I felt sad and disappointed.  Most people didn't even notice I was walking by.  Some smiled.  And a few went as far as saying hello.  But no one seemed to want to actually talk.  I thought about simpler times when neighbors all new each other, greeted each other every day, baked each other pies, borrowed sugar, and all the neighborhood kids were friends and played with a ball in the middle of the street.  Now that no one talks to each other, everyone is so guarded. Kids don't play ball in the streets very much anymore because most people see stop signs as negligible. The word "neighbor" has come to mean the person you happen to live next to.  All this is so sad to me, who now longs for community in the truest sense of the word.

There is a house I walk past every day that radiates peace from it.  I have always wanted to knock on the door and say hello and meet whoever lives there.  I don't know... something about the house is inviting and so warm. maybe the smell of incense or the tibetan flags hanging on the porch.  I've thought of baking them something or sending whoever lives there a dinner invitation, but I always hesitate.  Especially the knocking on the door part because I don't know how welcome I will be.  That's so odd that this is how a lot of people have now conformed to live their lives- behind some kind of enclosure. Trying to separate life from them.

This morning, my brother had posted the lyrics to this Andrew Byrd song called "Tables and Chairs" on his Facebook page.  "What an absolutely fitting song to be introduced to this morning," I thought as I went to iTunes to listen to the song for the first time.  Text message coffee dates, iPhone dinners, mobile phone dates, I know a lot of you know what these are because you have probably been witness or subject to one or all of these.  I actually went on a date where the guy picked me up on a phone call and was still on the phone with the same person through dinner and then when he dropped me off back home.  I thought  he didn't like me, but he called to ask me out again!  And I see it all the time... two people out to dinner and they're not engaging each other in any way but just sitting there texting other people.  Can anyone explain these phenomena?

I love that line in "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan is fed up with politically correct mumbojumbo and frustratedly asks Tom Hanks, "What does that mean 'it's not personal'?  Because whatever IT is, it should begin by being personal."  Because we are persons.  Social beings.  We need that human factor.  I think a lot can be explained by looking into the loss of human social interaction.  I for one would love to go back to tribal living.  Particularly for the sake of raising my child.  I keep hearing "It takes a village".  And I know that's true, but it would be a heck of a lot easier if our village people weren't scattered all across towns, cities, and countries and could be found just a few steps away.