Aha, it has arrived—my seventieth birthday. Pictured is part of the detritus of a party that will not happen. A few days ago, I called off the 70’s Fondue Extravaganza Slumber Party and Games Night that I had planned. At that time, I was so sick with some mysterious intestinal and stomach disorder and I didn’t have the energy to do the last minute preparations—plus I feared I’d still be ill and have to call it off at the last minute. In addition, Yolanda was with her husband in the hospital and I didn’t have her to fall back on as usual. At any rate, I’m feeling better today and so I’m meeting a few friends for an impromptu comida at a restaurant and chocolate fondue at Blue’s house later, so there will be some celebrating done. This morning brings the welcome messages from friends on Facebook and I really do appreciate them, but as usual, they, combined with the daily prompt, have brought me to reflection.
I hope no one is offended by the below poem. It is meant in no way to disparage the very welcome communication with old friends that such a day brings. On the other hand, I can’t help but reflect on how our world changes and changes and how the cyber networks have not only brought us closer together but made it easier to drift farther apart. I am as guilty if not guiltier of this than anyone else I know. This is not an indictment, but rather a pondering over where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going—the sort of pondering one does at the age of 70, and if one is a writer or artist, probably at a much earlier age as well:
Facing up to Facebook
Facebook quips and tweets with hashes
have replaced the dot dot dashes
of telegrams we used to send
to functions we could not attend:
birthdays and other days once meant
to celebrate with an event.
But now we sit in different places
pretending we’re exchanging faces
when in fact, for many years
our facial contact’s been in arrears.
They might have better renamed “Facebook”
“Those Who Have Vanished Without a Tracebook.”
It does not bring us face-to-face.
That is simply not the case.
Rather, it keeps us more alone
than even talking on the phone.
Old friend, it’s good to hear from you.
I know, there’s nothing more to do.
I’m just as guilty of it as you.
It’s what the whole world’s come to do.
We’ve simply moved too far apart
except in memory and heart.
It’s the new age’s way of seeing—
avoiding closer you and meing.
The prompt today was dash.