I was having one of those crappy, miserable, hate the cable company days when I sat down at my computer to catch my breath . I was stuck in the hustle, bustle, and not-very-merry stuff of the Christmas season. I was scattered, stressed, and frantic – going too fast, sweating too much, and doing what I can’t do well – multitask! (Curse that word).
I sat down at the computer to do whatever I was going to do – I’ve forgotten, because I soon discovered, whatever it was wasn’t at all important, and something stopped me in my tracks.. The CNN homepage was open, and there, staring at me, was a photograph of the face of a true and perfect angel—a little girl named Grace. I clicked the link to a story I’ll never forget. The video began and Grace’s mother Lynn spoke and I was struck silent and still. Out of the ravages of the massacre at Sandy Hook came the voice of serenity, goodness, and hope as Lynn spoke and described her perfectly perfect little girl, her “amazing” little girl, a little girl with a great spirit. She spoke about a little girl who loved art, a little girl who was all about peace and gentleness. She spoke about the first time they were able to be “with” Grace, and they walked into a room with a little white casket and felt their breath taken away. But the little casket didn’t stay white for long, as in keeping with Grace’s spirit, everyone there inked up every corner of white with just what Grace would want.
Lynn spoke with a smile that never wavered or dissolved into tears. She spoke with strength and soothing. She spoke with gratitude and love and as she spoke, everything melted away and the only thing left was the miracle of this woman who had lost her baby, yet ended up soothing a network full sorry, frantic, complaining fools.
I will try to write Grace’s mother and tell her that in one small corner, she made a huge difference – she and Grace made a huge difference.
I’m reading my email now, and looking at some recent blog posts, all written before 10 a.m. on Friday, December 14th, and I want to shake these people, scream at them, tell them that there’s no meaning in makeup or last minute Christmas shopping or signing up for a seminar on Pinterest. I want to relive this day and turn back to the relatively innocent headlines in my morning newspaper. I want to turn off the television to which I am unhealthily glued, and I can’t. I want to shake everyone who is against gun control. I want to go and hug those parents, I want to tell them it was all a nasty nightmare. Only it wasn’t. It was real. And tonight their babies will not come home. Nothing will be the same for them. Nothing will be the same for anyone, anywhere. It won’t be the same because we are too busy writing about stupid things, doing stupider things, and building a world that is not safe for our babies, or anyone else, for that matter.
I’m on a role again, and I don’t mean with my grocery cart.
However, I’ve noticed a new trend in the sport of shopping-cart-pushing and actually, instead of pushing, the new sport requires players to lean on the cart in such a manner that it holds them up. The aisles of my local market now look like a sort of physical therapy facility where “patients” use grocery carts instead of crutches or braces to aid their mobility. And, we’re not talking seniors; this trend has coaxed all ages and all sexes to join in.
Have you seen the movie “Wall-E?” This grocery cart trend reminds me of the humans in that movie who were sent to a space station to be saved after global devastation. There they became so fat and immobile, they required the use of high-tech, air-born sleds to move around. But …
…the outcome for the Wall-E humans was positive, and very sweet. Will the outcome for the grocery-cart players be thusly so?
I often wonder about technology and society. I wonder what effects social networking, gaming, texting, and so on, will have on us culturally and biologically. Already it’s known that our brains are developing new pathways to accommodate these activities. In particular, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the bourgeoning world of cell phones, and even more specifically, texting..
First, I teach at a college, and you’d think that when teaching I’d be in constant competition with the click-click of fingers texting their way to at best – infuriating their teacher, or at worst – flunking. I generally experience neither because I have respectful, professional students who take me seriously when I set some conditions the first day of class. I also have older students who are more mature.
However, what I do notice on campus are the hefty numbers of students texting away while walking between classes. I often wonder why there aren’t more concussions, scraped knees, and bruised egos from trips, falls, and cell phones soaring through the air mid-text!
One recent day while on my way home I was stopped at the main campus entrance, waiting for the light to turn. . In front of me was a another car, and when the light changed, we didn’t – as in move. I honked and looked closer. It was abundantly clear that this particular car housed a young woman who was much more interested in her lap then she was anything around her, including her car. (Wonder what she was doing…) I honked, cars moved, and everything was hunky-dorey. Wrong. Off she went in front of me (was hoping she’d turn the other way) and her car weaved all over the road as her head remained mostly bowed. I am quite sure not in prayer. Another stop light. Red turned to green. Once again, car in front did not move. Head remained bowed. HOOOOOOOONNNNNNNKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!
(People don’t honk so much anymore, have you noticed? – Could it be they are too busy texting??)