Touching You Touching Me

I was thinking the other day about how this whole social media phenomenon could somehow move from behind the protective screen, could add dimensions that our hearts so love – the tinkle of laughter, the sweetness of touch, the landscape of a face searching its own soul or that of another for clues, answers or elusive replies. We appear to have gotten somewhat afraid of one another or wearied by the demands that our twenty-first century of fear and frustration create.

I say that because many of us head to our homes at night, not to change our clothes and yell across the way to share a moment with our neighbor or sit for a time as the twilight dwindles into darkness, but to hole in a house, more often than not with the blinds closed and the TV going whether anyone is watching or not.

I see myself driven by this same desire to “get away” from the world, knowing that’s not the answer, knowing how much I’d like to wrap a big, warm hug around Kathy Hall, kick dirt and muse with Jo VonBargen, laugh out loud, really, with Oscar Sparrow, touch new corners of reality with Emma Calin, or explore human nature with the curious Cameron Conaway. I have met so many wondrous folk with this new technology, but it isn’t quite enough.

Maybe if I hadn’t had fifteen years of living in the far north of Canada in a community that had only its individuals to offer as its prize, I wouldn’t feel the lack so strongly; but I did. We were a self-admitted motley crew of farmers living with our backs to the vast northern wilderness of Alberta.

Our only entertainment was one another, and by god, we were an entertaining lot. It wasn’t that we tried to be, trust me on that one. It was just that our lives kept putting us in front of the most stunning of challenges, and our spontaneous solutions created some unexpected and often wildly amusing results. We’d keep our bonds strong by daily chats across the fence or during requests for help, but it was the weekend where the story telling sessions took place, whether you wanted your story told or not.

You see, TV, to that point was useless to us. I used to say that it snowed eight months of the year outside the house and twelve months on the TV. There was only one station in the early ‘80s, barely visible to those in remote locations. So we provided our own entertainment, much like we do now on Twitter or Triberr, only it was live. I got to sit next to Gordon with his shoulder dislocated, howling in pain, waiting for the medic fifty miles away, my face stricken by the suffering of my good friend, but my heart right with the world. I’d tell Peter to stuff it when that died-in-the-wool cowboy would malign my sheep, yet will never forget the day I found him in the lambing barn snuggling a new lamb and telling it, “Damn, yer cute. Why’d you have to grow up to be a sheep?”

And we all dug his grave in the rock-hard frozen ground of January when Pete was fool enough to be felling timber on the wrong hill, on the wrong day.

It’s hard to participate with life from a distance, and somehow we need to augment this techno experience with the real thing. I’m open to all suggestions as the desire to meet, touch, slap on the back, finger wag, and really lol with another only continues to grow.

We are not taken on these roads of life, this I have come to know. We take ourselves. So the good news is if we walked down it, we know the way back, for if you’ll trust my sixty-six years of experience, all roads DON”T lead to Rome.

Christina Carson is author of the poignant novel, Suffer the Little Children.

 

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