things seen and heard while working on a paper at starbucks, volume i

  • Woman who had moon boots on walking as though there were six inches of snow at every step
  • Child who exclaimed “that fire alarm!  It’s the same we have at our school!”
  • A woman walk past me with a stroller, and then come back past me on the street without a stroller.
  • Businessmen with audacious hats, including a Santa cap (who I just saw walk past me twice) as well as a really tacky wool cap.
  • One of my students connecting with one of the older men I always see in here (Phil is his name).  It’s really loving, and not in a way that would creep you out.  Sort of like a grandfather to a granddaughter.
  • A guy attempting to be flirtatious with the barista with a santa’s cap up.  It was a miserable attempt.
  • The student mentioned didn’t recognize me.  I think it’s the facial hair.
  • Phil saw someone else, and it turns out this other guy has a wife. Phil was overjoyed by it, because the man who was married didn’t seem like someone who would readily be married.

i hate ipods, vol ii

So last week, for what it probably the first time, I kind of got mean. Well, maybe not mean, I suppose. More like I just say as many sweet, inspirational things as I usually try to. When you open up to page 5 or 6, I want you to feel like every week there’s a guy there who is going to help you see things a little more brightly, a little more healthy, and maybe you become a little better as a result.

Last week, however, sparked something in me that I want to talk about for one more week, and then I’ll probably get back to more appealing topics, like finishing what I was going to talk about regarding grad schools.

We live in one of the most connected societies ever. If I had to get a hold of you for whatever reason, I have all sorts of options: I could write you here in the Knight, I could Facebook you, I could blog you, I could text you, I could email you, I could even send you a letter (but who does that any more).

Ironically, none of these require any sort of physical contact, which then makes me think that while we’re the most connected societies ever, we’re also one of the least connected. Which then makes me think about the iPod problem.

When I see more ears plugged with iPod than not, I can’t help but feel we’re destroying the last real places where we can contact each other: when we’re literally face to face. Again, this is not to say that I don’t love what any MP3 player can offer its owner. In an ironic twist of fate, I thought I had lost my iPod coming home from Philadelphia, but it turned out that it was just in my luggage. But still, I was a little sad. After all, I spent almost $200 on that device, and I have a hard time running without it.

It’s just at times I wonder if the one thing we want is the one thing we run away from. When I talk to my residents, my friends, and some of you folks out there, I sense the one thing you’re looking for is someone to listen to you. A friend. Someone to play racquetball with on Sunday afternoons, and maybe grab a beer and talk about life with. If I had a dollar for each person who has confided in my they’d like to get married sooner rather than later in order to share special moments and intimacy with I could retire now. That’s not even a joke.

People want to feel valued. Special. Last I knew, however, that meant actually talking to people. Not Facebooking them. Not blogging with them. It means face-to-face conversation beyond last weekend’s party.

These people are walking past you every day. Real connections are slipping by our hands because we’d rather draw into ourselves, disappearing from the world, when deep down, if we were honest, we rather talk to someone about how our day is going.

So I’ll make you all a deal. Next Tuesday, December 11th, I’ll be sitting in Waldron at noon. Talk to me. I will ask you how your day is. I will find out something I don’t know about you. And I’ll connect with you. After all, I asked you to connect with someone instead of your iPod this Christmas. I’m making it easy on you.