After the Franzen lecture last night I killed my telephone by dropping it into a toilet. Last night, after paper toweling it extensively, all it would do was vibrate when I touched the keys. Last night I shut myself in the apartments bathroom and aimed my housemates blow dryer at it until I fell asleep with my head resting on the ledge of the bathtub. It was 1:30 and time to give it a rest. This morning it turned on, miraculously, but then while I was scrolling through missed text messages it flashed its last little Verizon screenshot of life before turning off. It has yet to resurrect.
Most of all this bothers me because I was supposed to interview my parents over the phone today. But it also just feels strange to not be able to call people up or be able to be called. There's also some sort of deep-seated distrust that I can't imagine my friends to be motivated or creative enough to get in touch with me in other ways. Sadly friends, we are living in a time where people don't just stop by and ring the doorbell to see if you're in, not many people can find the time to draft a postcard (let's not even talk about actual letters....) and most of my friends sweat at the idea of making plans more than a day in advance ("how about we just... call each other?") . It's a sad era and sobering to realize that I am a contributing member of it.
But, I am also the fortunate friend of many well-meaning revolutionaries. I got a 3-part letter from my friend Maggie Starr on Wednesday that made me feel really special. A fellow student, Lauren Marsden doesn't have a cellphone in order for her schedule to be more intentional and less distractable. Occasionally I enter my studio and find love-notes on my desk from my friends. Certainly, this intentionality, this trying and this persistence are gestures based in love, and love is revolutionary. This is not to say that I don't wish my cellphone would get its act together and start working (ugh!). But it's nice to be humbly reminded that the way my life is right now often contradicts the values that I hold dear. It's nice to be reminded that even though my life feels hard, it's not actually that hard, that it could be harder, that it's been harder in the past and that I can try harder, too. Viva la revolution!