Monday, January 10, 2011

Lunchtime In China

One of the things I like about the new “social networks” is that I am  reminded that other people are out there, living there lives, doing different things than I in a different place and probably in a different way than I would.

It is so easy to get caught up in our own day to day dramas that we (or at least I) do tend to get a sort of tunnel vision. I, or my family members are, seemingly the only ones I can picture leading a life of any intensity. It is not that I don’t care about others. It is just that for me, out of sight is sometimes out of mind, and that is a shame.

While I am sitting up at midnight listening to the sleet hit the chimney top my cousin is in China on his lunch break the following day. While I have been cozy in my living room watching the drama of the ice storm on television both my sister-in-law and my son-in-law have been slogging their way through city streets and country roads trying to get home to their families before the only way available is two days later in a tow truck. Another sister-in-law, in Kentucky is saddened that they just have a minor dusting while Atlanta is expecting 6 or more inches of snow and ice. My friends in Minnesota or Brussels Belgium are probably amused by our consternation caused by the small amounts of snow without considering that a city in the Deep South is not nearly as well equipped for this as a city in the north. I have a friend talking about being on the beach in Hawaii (how unfair is that?) while I hunt down a second pair of socks. Gumbo is cooking in Louisiana while friends ten miles away are building a snowman in their front yard.

These aren’t events of a world shattering nature. God knows there are enough of those covered ad infinitum by every professional and hack journalistic enterprise in the country. These aren’t events that change lives like births and deaths and marriages. I would hear about those anyway, with a phone call or a card in the mail. These are just the day to day, a slice of life, a picture offered to me with short, often humorous, descriptions and a few photos of other people’s existence. People are eating and joking and fighting and playing and relaxing all over the world. These are the tidbits that remind me that I am not alone, that my small life is not so trivial after all.