Tuesday, March 6, 2012

At the End of the Day, Coming Up Empty

I mentioned to a co-worker and friend a few days ago that this blog is where I come to talk to myself. When my brain churns a million times a minute in a million different directions, this is where I come. So, here I am.

"At the End of the Day" is a fairly popular and frequently used phrase. I have heard it used by politicians, television and radio hosts, and the President himself. In a restaurant yesterday, I heard a lady one table over, in her strongest voice, use it at least 20 times; she was doing her best to entertain us all.

For some reason, I cringe when I hear this phrase. To me, it makes our time sound presumptuous and in a way, trivial and empty. A softer, more respectful choice of words, may be "by the day's end", giving a feeling of having, at least, been there as the time ticked away.

But, how is time spent? Yesterday, while in our front yard, I saw a man, woman, and their dog walk by. The dog was doing what dogs usually do when unleashed and running loose, everything had to be sniffed at least five times. In spite of  the bright glare from the sun, the man was squinting into his "Smart Phone" screen, texting, emailing, tweeting, facebooking, or something. The woman was staring into the sky, and sometimes minding the dog. (...I know I am making some assumptions here, no doubt, but please bear with me...) In any case, the man was "in-touch" with someone somewhere else, more than likely reveling in how much fun was being had in his real place with his friend and dog. Never mind that his friend and dog were having a pretty good time without him. But, there he was, making up stories, and after a while, probably believing them himself.

As you might be able to tell, I am not a big fan of the more popular social media sites. Mainly, because I just don't understand them. "Friends", "Friends-of-friends", "Close Friends", "Family", "Public", I mean it really confuses me after a while. How do you keep them separated? There must be a way, because millions of people like it, and have hundreds of "friends" and then exponentially thousands of "friends-of-friends", not to mention "family" and those others tossed into the "Public" digital dustbin.

But, there are only 1,440 minutes in a day. If one has so many "friends" and then "friends-of-friends", and you are constantly tweeting, facebooking, and otherwise becoming their digital reality, then how is one to become real friends with anyone? By the day's end, is there true comfort in the number of "friends";  or a constant turmoil in the brain, along with an empty feeling, yet to be recognized?

Wendell Berry, an author-farmer from Kentucky, wrote a book of essays entitled "What are People Far?" In one of his essays, he simply states that he would not buy a computer because having one would not help him write better...maybe write more, but not write better.

So, by becoming addicted to social media, using this same logic, one can have more "friends", but not necessarily better friends. I opt for better friends. For, now, I am going to stay away from the tweets and facebook. And, by the day's end,  have less chance of coming up empty.