are destined to change the generation before. I only know from the fifties. When I grew up, socializing in fours and hundreds was part of life. Gatherings from my generation was Woodstock, concerts in the park without violence, impromptu jams and performance The millijoules want an audience in numbers ONLINE=money. It is the WAY THEY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT UP.
The throw of the dice this week lands on adventures in livingness; one day at a time. People with terminal illness, suffering from a shattered romance, a death of a friend, a natural disaster, always say the same thing; One day at a time.
Walking up Palace Avenue on a day spread with sunlight, and a continuum of power walkers, bikers and runners, passing by in whiffs of urgency, I took my time. I didn’t feel like flexing, just evaporating into the shadows, and the moving clouds. I walked by a little adobe, that once was a dump site for empty bottles, cartons, worn out furniture, and piles of wood. A year later, the yard is almost condominium clean. Just as I was passing the driveway, the little woman whom I’d seen walking up Palace with her bag of groceries, appeared like a gust of history in the driveway of her adobe casita. She wore her heavy blanket like coat and a bandanna on her head. Regardless of weather, she’s bundled up in the same woven Indian coat and long wool skirt. I stood next to her, a foot or so taller, and she unraveled history, without my prompting. She told me about the Martinez family, the Montoyas, and the Abeytas, all families she knew, all with streets named after them. Estelle asked me my name, and then took my hand in her weathered unyielding grip, ‘Oh I had an Aunt named Lucero, and we called her LouLou.’ She didn’t let go of my hand, and then she told me that the families, some names I’ve forgotten, bought homes on Palace in 1988 for $50,000, She shook her finger to demonstrate her point. ‘You know how many houses the Garcias bought? Five! Then they fixed them up and sold them.’
I could have stood there in the gravel driveway listening to Estelle all afternoon. She owns the oral history I love to record; but it is difficult to understand her, she talks with the speed of a southwest wind. We parted and I thought about the times in my life when the smallest of interactions elevates my spirit. In older people, who are not addicted to gadgets and distant intimacy, I’m reminded of how speed socializing has diminished the opportunity for a sidewalk chat.
About the post office, it’s a relic, a dying old fortress of communication, where we all stood in line at one time to send our letters, the ones that took us a few more minutes than we can afford today. I wrote a lot of letters, long five page letters written on delicate stationary, and art cards I bought in museums and boutiques.
The Post Office loses 96 million dollars a day according to a reporter on television. We have stopped buying stamps, because we don’t mail letters. We don’t even need to send packages, because we buy it online and let them ship it directly. The cards are printed by the shipper, and impersonally attached to the gift. The type is formal, and even though you know that person, had his mind on you for the minute they typed out that note, well, it’s not the same really. Progress is raping us of the personal touch. People like Zuckerberg are reinventing the way we share our thoughts, our photos, our everything.
Letters, of people that acquired prominence in the world of literature, art, and science were adapted into books. I wonder if their emails will be considered for a book.
The postman still comes to the house, he’s usually talking on his cell phone, or listening to his iPod, when he drops the mail off. There is no need to rush to see what he’s brought, it’s always the same, a stack of bills, a few discount fliers, and a real estate brokerage announcement that they can sell our house in thirty days. The postman has changed too. They used to say hello, and have a nice day. I suppose if I wanted to have a conversation with the Postman I could go to their Facebook page.
I’m going to check, and see if they have a Facebook page…. The first three Facebook post offices: one in the UK, one in St Louis, and one in Pakistan. Clicked more, and there they are. You can Facebook the Post office.
I’m raking, a meditation for writing in your head, like ironing or baking, or lavender baths. The pavement on Palace Avenue is under jack hammers and a yellow tractor is parked in front of my driveway.
Eight men, in yellow jackets, are, digging out the curbside shoulder of a two-way road, so traffic is cumulating in front of me. The sun shines on the traffic control worker, his face is crusty with an untamed beard, and bushy eyebrows. He appears to be in his sixties, but he never takes off his sunglasses, so I don’t know for sure. A gentlemen walked by, as I was maneuvering into the driveway with groceries, an open pack of red skinned potato chips, on my lap. As I got out of the car, I turned around, and he spoke out,
“ Exciting isn’t it?” He said smiling.
“ All the activity on the street.”
I shook my head, like an older person who can’t believe you’d say something so
stupid, and marched in the house, repeating what he said, and after a few times, I had to stop myself- I am doing a lot of that, ridiculing, criticizing, mocking and imitating strangers.
The bird, that was born last year returned to her nest to lay her own eggs. Spring, is contracting up through the ground, melting the last remaining buttons of ice, and there is new life, all new, here inside my ground, my fertile ground for love, torment, adventure, challenge, relationships, achievement, conversation, travel, hiking, horses, ocean, it’s all there, I didn’t lose it like I thought I would. You can still call me LouLou, I’m not all adult yet.