Monday, June 6, 2011

Stay in Touch

Yesterday, I stood in a large crowd downtown while a man to my left carried on a loud phone conversation. Where are you? By the theater? I can see the theater. Are you near the guy in the chef's coat? Oh, you're past him? Which way are you going? What side of the street are you on? Wait there-- I'm coming to get you. No. I see you. Do you have a thing in your hair? I'm waving. Do you see me? Come on over. Bye.

By the end, I was as anxious to see his friend as he was, maybe even more so because of how curious I was about the thing in her hair. Fortunately, it wasn't long at all before she and her pink silk flower walked past me, her arms outstretched, her hand still clutching her phone, and soon I tuned out their face to face conversation, trying to remember how we ever connected before we had our mobile phones.

This morning I heard a little story on the Writer's Almanac about Maxine Kumin and her best friend Anne Sexton. Back in the early 60s, these poets were so close that they had extra phone lines installed in their houses so that they would never have to hang up on each other. I'm sure at the time it was considered a bit extreme, but they were definitely on the right track. Visionary, even.

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