Wednesday, March 05, 2008

mixed messages

We lose the scrap of paper on which we wrote down the phone number. We lose the phone or it breaks. If I ever had your phone number, I've lost it (again) because my phone broke (again). The text message fails to send the words we write but do not say, the invitation is obscured, the blog post deleted. We try to manage our communication but sometimes it balks at us, makes us human only. Sometimes we are out of touch with what we mean to say/what we are actually saying/what they are actually hearing. And then what, what next?

Oh wait I'm pluralizing again, how selfish of me.

It's an emotional thing for me, being in touch with people. Now when someone texts or calls, I get to know them once again. You are not lost to me is what this says. You are still here. Some people I know I will lose. Those who have no email. Those who know no one else I know, who are outside the chain. If I ever had your phone number and you are reading this, take a second to send it to me again.

At work yesterday, I rolled the better part of 150 phyllo pastries. After a while, whenever I stopped (to get another half-cup of coffee, or to melt more butter, or to refill my pastry bag), my mind kept trying to roll phyllo. When you do something like that for so long it seems like it is all you do or ever could do. Like piping rosettes onto cupcakes with a pastry bag....Do you stay connected to it? Think about how even though this is the 110th pastry you've rolled it's someone's first experience of this dessert, and so it needs to look just as good as if not better than your 17th pastry? Or do you shut down your mind, not think just act? Become the machine that moves phyllo from spot a to spot b, butters the phyllo, sugars and repeats, pipes, butters, rolls, repeats? My boss wants me to stop thinking. Focus on the series of movements that make up a task, focus on doing them cleanly, fluidly. It seems like it's not hard for other people but it's hard for me.

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