Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Living Life Backwards


It used to be, in the good old days, that people lived life sequentially. You moved forwards. Not completely-- we take pictures so we can look back and remember, and save a bit of the present for the future when it will then be the past. We go to class reunions, save mementos of special occasions, hold on to love letters, treasure bits and pieces of the past, and here and there, we reconnect with someone from another time and place. It grounds us, forms some connection, gives us a sense of history and meaning.

And then was the Internet and we all Googled and Oogled and found lost lives and reconnected via Email.

And there was Facebook and the past and the present are now one and the same. We live stuck in time and I'm never sure which direction I'm going. Reconnection is the rule-- I have Facebook friends from kindergarten. A few years back, I got an email from my prom date-- "Remember me, the guy in the tux 25 years ago?" Okay, it was fun. Last night we chatted on Facebook. He landed where I thought he would land (sequencing DNA, if you must know). I then found a page for my elementary school. The school name was spelled wrong and the street name was also off, but the photo...no doubt it was my elementary school. The FB members were talking about the teachers, trying to remember them all. I'd forgotten about Mr. Firestone, the 4-6th grade gym teacher. But they forgot a lot of other teachers-- I was tempted to join so that Mr. Trogler wouldn't be lost-- but did I really want to? Shouldn't I be spending time on things that move me forward? There's that book to write (oy)...dogs to walk...laundry to fold...endless paint swatches to try for my new office. Instead, here I am chatting with my prom date, thinking about Mr. Shannon --my 5th grade teacher who had us write about an invention. My invention: a machine that would type what you said-- he told me it could never be done. That and growing hair on a bald head...oh for Mr. Shannon to have met Rogaine. The things I remember. I know what's happening in the lives of my friends far and wide (Laurie's mom read to her son last night, photo on Facebook; Joan's foot hurts; my second cousin unwittingly set her alarm an hour early and didn't realize this until she was outside waiting for her ride at 6 AM...). Connection is good, but when does it become too much?