Today sister Sue sent me an article entitled How Not To Be Alone that was published this past Sunday in the NYT. As I was reading it I was struck by how I’ve seen every technological change that was talked about in this article. Growing up in a small, small community helped me see these changes in a more personal and much slower way. Cell service is still non-existent in the town but the internet arrived a little while ago. Our friends still drop in for unexpected visits which I always find delightful. I think it says a lot about the relationship when you are comfortable enough to just get into your car and drive to a friend’s house expecting a quality visit. The friends we have in Rowe are all comfortable with interrupting our day, they know we don’t see it as an interruption but as a time to reconnect.
It’s not the same in Enfield. You cannot drop in on friends without an appointment. People’s lives in suburbia are a very different thing. Everything is so much faster, more frenetic. I have lived in Enfield since 1984, we have lived in our house since 1998. I still do not know my neighbors even though I can walk around the block and see what everyone is watching on their televisions on any given night – and I can walk it in less than 10 minutes. We have a few long time friends but they are not people we see on a regular basis – it’s always good to visit with them but it doesn’t happen often.
My kids would tell you that the reason we don’t have relationships with people in Enfield, where we spend over half of our lives right now, is because we are never here. I think the real reason we are never here is because we don’t have the relationships we have in Rowe. We have a community in Rowe, people who care enough about each other to stop by and talk face to face.
A couple of years ago I had internet put into the house in Rowe. I did it because the girls always complained about not having it, they were disconnected. I tried to convince them that it was a GOOD thing. What has happened over the past couple of years is that I use it more. I use it to communicate with them. It saddens me to realize they will probably never realized the joy of friends dropping by without an “appointment”. Our gatherings are more planned, just as joyous but I think something is lost in the spontaneity.