Friday, December 31, 2021


 The most used key on my computer? Delete. 


For a long time, the mail coming through the door slot has been 8 parts junk mail/ money appeals, 1.5 part bills and .5 something personal and interesting— and .4 of that .5 the Christmas card season.

Now on e-mail, there are nine organizational appeals for every one personal e-mail— and getting worse. Each day, I slog through the mud of what to delete before setting my foot on the solid path of what’s useful, interesting and occasional heart-warming to respond to. 


So yesterday was a field day of “unsubscribe.” Like Hercules lopping of the nine heads of the monstrous Hydra, I set to work. Like both the Greek mythological creature and the actual aquatic animal, I imagine the severed heads will re-generate and the appeals keep coming. It simply is a modern fact of electronic communication, getting worse each day with both consumer hunters and the 10,000 political organizations trying to get both my attention and my money. We crave the human connection of the almost extinct snail mail and almost antiquated e-mail, alongside the texts and Facebook posts and Instagrams. But there is a price and the swords of "unsubscribe/ delete/ block contact/ unfriend" are part of our communications arsenal.


Gratitude to the Holiday Season that live family time overshadows the screen. The turn to the New Year marks the end of our home filled with kid-energy again and a return to the more solitary and more screened life we've become accustomed to. (Probably the longest stretch without a Zoom meeting since the pandemic began!) A mere hour ago, I took my daughter and the grandkids to the airport and the house feels both blessedly peaceful and less vibrant (though enjoying the peace for now!). It has been an intense and wonderful eleven days together and almost the first time without a major blow-up. But I think the pressure was too much for the kids and both Zadie and Malik had a minor meltdown yesterday. Oh well.


We went to a play yesterday—Malik’s first— a Beach-Blanket Babylon-style version of Aladdin’s The Magic Lamp and they passed out cards with pictures of each character and a quality— Joy, Hope, Laughter, Kindness, Silliness, Love, Magic, Beauty, etc. After the play, Zadie tried to make up a game where she chose two cards and I had to choose which was more important to me. Impossible.


And so amidst the constant begging for treats, sibling poking, prodding and punching, things strewn about the house, too-loud indoor voices alongside the joy, hope, laughter, kindness, silliness, love, magic and beauty these two bring into my life, this much is clear: is the one organization from which I will never unsubscribe.


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