Friday, May 31, 2013


In this age of technology sometimes we get lazy or forgetful or just plain careless.  I admit to this.  I have become complacent about things because I use facebook to track dates which I used to keep track of myself.  I have a calendar which, if a birthday, an event, an appointment doesn’t appear on it, it does not exist in my mind or my schedule.  I rail at those who can’t do simple math, relying on calculators and iPhones and yet I cannot read a map.  Our schedules are busy, our lives complicated.

But it wasn’t always this way.  We used to look forward to special events, marking them on our wall calendars, tracking them in our minds, planning and anticipating rather than logging on in the morning to see to whom we need to send a bit of good will.  Technology can be a wonderful thing, but it isn’t a replacement for human interaction or thoughtfulness.

I was reminded of this yesterday, when a dear friend of mine voiced her disappointment at having been completely overlooked on her birthday.  It was a VERY important birthday because this time last year it did not look as though she would still be with us.  I felt awful, knowing that I had let her down.  I went to facebook to see if somehow I had overlooked it.  It wasn’t there.  

Now I will admit, I am someone who doesn’t chance it myself.  My family forgot my birthday once, everyone did…when I turned 21.  Those who remembered were annoyed with me because I didn’t want to go drinking.  See, I wanted to go dancing because I was finally old enough to get into the clubs but since that wasn’t what they wanted, I spent the night alone.  Molly Ringwald style!  My brother has a history of NEVER knowing when my birthday is but feeling very guilty when he remembers a month later.  So years ago I developed the habit of calling my mom to ask her to “remind my brother” and that way he knew, she knew and everyone knew.  When she passed, I let my Dad in on the family secret and he continued the tradition.  For many years my best friend and I wouldn’t admit we had no idea when the other’s birthday was…we’d been friends for so long that it seemed reprehensible not to know until one day we both confessed and it turned out we were in the same boat all along.

The temptation of course, is to let oneself off the hook, to beg forgiveness and let it go.  But this experience brought up a larger issue in my mind.  Complacency.  The willingness to give over any responsibility and accountability to a machine, that ever encroaching void of anonymity that makes it ok to be just a little meaner, a little more thoughtless, a little more complacent because we are just sooooo busy!  Well, it’s bullsh*t.  We should never be too busy to show a little love to our friends.   I am truly sorry that I missed this, that I can’t fix it or salve it or make it better.  But I promise to be better, to make myself accountable and present as a friend.  And maybe turn off the computer and pick up the phone.  Maybe we all should once in a while.

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