I have a dear friend and pen-pal from Portugal, an artist and actress who I keep in touch with. She recently opted out of Facebook - without drama - leaving her email, and I immediately wrote to confirm her well being. She spoke of wanting to enjoy friends over 'tea and toast' and explained how she wished for more detailed friendships in the moment and face to face. She shared this poignant and delighted story:
"A couple of days ago I ran into a friend at the doctors, this year she finished medical school, got pregnant and traveled, when we spoke we laughed because all the "news" we shared we already knew and we kept replying, "oh right, I saw that..." I saw that. As if it were a show, or newspaper article...Mind you this is a dear friend from my theater days and storytelling is one of the lovely things we share, but that moment felt empty and different because of Facebook really, until we acknowledged it and laughed, realizing what had just happened."
So, I replied to her, and in so doing had such a meaningful time I thought I would share.
Yes and yes.
Your email is full of thoughtful, heartfelt and human reasons for change. I certainly understand and must admit admiring your contemplation. The examples articulated are all resonant in my experience too. If it were a blog entry I would name it: "Tea and Toast"
The cyber world is fast and careless - full of a desire and a habitual, often unaware insistence to be acknowledged, approved of, and, in reality, noticed, rather than heard, and intimately or perceptively cared for. It frustrates me because I expect to be heard and appreciated and consequently spend many hours crafting posts and responsive, loving communication. But, only occasionally do I feel deeply understood and consequently unconditionally authenticated and appreciated - as friends must be to thrive and survive. I long for more real interaction in my own life. Too much work for so many shorthand friendships.
Yesterday, I spent an unusual and slow, moment-to-moment day with a treasured friend. She needed some help with transportation as she went shopping for a new position as a hairdresser starting next week. We had brunch, no rush and marmalade jelly - I took her to get her hair done and while she was being cut and colored, I walked around the mall window shopping. After working up a light and cool sweat, I got a small dark-roast from that caffeine counter who insists on trying to push Pike Place into my cup, and then, just sat for 45 minutes and people watched - laughing at babies and their shenanigans, smiling at lovers, imagining the scenarios that motivated sad frowns and searching expressions bowed into electronic confessors, pausing long enough to notice the overhead lights turn on in a warm embrace of emulated sunlight. As dusk approached, the natural illumination from the skylight ceiling had already began to fade into the closing eyes of weary daylight.
My friend and I re-met - her newly quaffed red hair shining like a proud, sexy fire coming out of the store, our laughter in our cell phoned ears as we spied each other far down the walk - a recognized familial comfort in a mall full of strangers.
Our afternoon continued leisurely and undocumented as we shopped at several places for her needed work attire and make up, had a chat and hamburger dinner where we talked and laughed and then watched a movie on pillows while my cats sat on our laps.
It was just a regular day. I have not had one of those in, well, years. And it is because of the changes in the world, because of social media, and in many ways, because I had thoughtlessly forgotten what life was like before this demanding and often debilitating age of electronic conversation.
So I understand, dearest friend across the ocean. I support you. And I too look forward to writing - on no schedule - as a form of enjoyment - of you - of writing - of friendship, and of wanting to share "tea and toast" even if we are a thousand miles away.
Your words meant so much and your far-away friendship is a lovely part of my life. Here's to words, ideas, understandings and expression. Here's to slowing down time and as one of the former inmates I worked with so beautifully expressed: "I'm going to live in the 'real'."
You are real, old friend and I cherish you and our words,
With affection and appreciation I reach out, promising my time, my mind and my continued care and attention - for a real soul, and not in a shorthand flurry, but in it's own time and unexpected expression.