Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Life's perfect moments

As a writer you often forage your own life for material, anything is fair game despite what we tell you. While it is true that fiction is often the result of fevered imaginations, those musings come from taking perfectly ordinary events and building a framework around them.  But really, life is, mostly, more bizarre, entertaining, whichever adjective you find that fits than fiction. 

Last week a "perfect moment' came when spending an evening with an old friend. As we stood together in balmy night gazing up at the crushed velvet sky, he motioned over the roof of his house. And there, shyly peeping over the rim of the Maraval Hills, were a diaphanous group of clouds, reflecting the light of the rising full moon. In the dark, stillness broken only by the sound of the crickets and the occasional passing car, we were enclosed in the loveliness of the moment, watching and waiting as the moon, like a lover, shed its cloud cloak and rose to its fullness, suspended against the starry sky. No need for words, surrounded in the moment.

Lately though, has anyone noticed that our quality of communication is diminishing. Instant messaging, emails etc while giving the appearance of being in touch with the "peeps" have made communication more impersonal, removed. We miss the nuance of actual speech, through tone, intonation and body language. And though, more people are using "apps", like Facetime, Tango and Skype to speak to each other, it's just not the same because it is easier to hide who you really are behind the mask of who we want you to see. And so, the quality of our relationships also diminishes. We have more methods of communication and yet we do less actual communicating.  

Ask yourself this, how many times do you find yourself re-reading an email? Those of us who remember actual letters can also tell you about the time it took to construct one, the painstaking putting together of ideas, experiences and events so that the person on the other end felt like a part of your life. Now we dash off emails to document every waking moment, pictures etc but do we revisit them or even remember them? Do we go back and read them over and over savouring the telling the way we did with letters? Mostly, no, who has the time right?  

Ever notice we spend less time with our family and friends because we're "too busy"? But doing what exactly? Our grandparents had less time saving appliances, no internet, less transport options, a whole lot of lesses actually and yet they seemed to have more time. Perhaps because they were less concerned with filling their every waking moment with "meaningful activity" and more concerned with building a life.   

Several years ago, a workaholic boss of mine decided, somewhat abruptly, that she was going to turn her not inconsiderable energies upon herself. A parent had died and she realised that her life was passing her by inexorably. So she went from 2:00 am emails and leaving the office late every night and weekends, to taking a yoga class, planning a cruise with several friends and eventually, a significant other. After several years of small, significant changes, making memories as she calls it, we noticed that she had become less edgy, her life didn't revolve around the office, it revolved around her.  

So in giving myself the gift of a perfect moment, will hit post and then go cuddle with the dog who patiently waits next to the chair. His soft fur feels like silk beneath my fingers and it is soothing. Meditative petting leading to a long gusty sigh, he is happy and me too.