Months To Years Fall 2018 Months To Years Fall 2018 - Page 22

The response to my nuanced reference to a friend’s death It seems that we are all consumers now, feeding on the and the healing afternoon that followed was almost dramas we perceive, attempting to affirm each other’s universally anguished. “Oh, how awful!” Facebook friends feelings, sometimes, clearly, missing the complexities. wrote. “Someday you will laugh again.” I felt guilty: I had We turn to Facebook friends to validate our real-life already laughed and the sun had not yet set. experiences with love, heartbreak, work, family, grief, but our news gets flattened to its base components on the Had I misled my Facebook community and somehow digital interface, all nuance gone. implied that I was devastated or inconsolable by Lilly’s death? The excessive words of comfort were out of Facebook has added gesture-based emojis to the “Like” proportion to my stated experience. I had intended only or thumbs up sign to expand our range of emotional to share that the news was jarring, but that I was OK. responses and relieve us from having to type out messages Somehow, I had inadvertently unleashed an avalanche of of sympathy, anger, astonishment, love. If only there were emojis, miniature faces spurting copious tears. a way to clue in the clueless about metaphor. I wanted to write: Wait! Save your sympathy. I’m   anticipating bad news from Toronto. The death of dear Recently, after a few discouraging weeks during which I sank into a murky depression, I got clever with a friend Taylor is imminent. When he goes, the landscape metaphor, one I thought obvious, about my houseplant of my life will change forever. I dread the news, check my refusing to bloom because it didn’t see the point. I received emails with trepidation every morning because I don’t heartfelt gardening tips from Facebook friends determined want that day to come. I promise that, when it does, I will to cheer me. Egads! be paralyzed, inconsolable, curled up into a trembling ball, staring at the wall, all color drained. That news will We live in a universe of oversimplification, even though warrant all the compassion I’m getting today. But this life continues to be complicated. We are thwarted by the afternoon I sat happily in the library after hearing of meagerness of available emojis. I wonder what emoji Lilly’s death, and I worked on some writing, sure that shorthand would fit this morning’s news of Lilly’s death the world is still beautiful and life goes on. Don’t cry for and my sweet afternoon in the library? me, compañeros. Pam McAllister is an activist, blogger, and the author/editor of nine published nonfiction books and anthologies on topics as diverse as feminism, nonviolence, women’s history, the death penalty, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, and Shakespeare. Her essays and poems have appeared in magazines and literary journals. She is currently writing a memoir in which she looks at her life through the lens of technology and muses on being a Baby Boomer struggling to adapt to life in the digital age. The working title of her memoir is Going Digital: The Seduction of a Cyber Recluse. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. 22