I'm sitting in an internet cafe with a $4.00 cappucino in a porcelain mug. Jazz music pipes through JBL speakers - speakers that are carefully situated behind shabby chic book shelves and antique coffee pots. The cashier has blue stripes in her hair, the bus boys are dating, and there's ads for closet rearrangers and dog walkers on frames bought from an art sale in Tuscany. The internet is fast. I have hours on end to write. I can take breaks here and there to read up on politics, art and the best farmers markets in the Valley. I'm doing all this...
... in my head.
In reality, I'm sitting in Grandma stella's mobile home spare bedroom. She's giving Stink a lesson on turkey manners to be executed on Thursday at the in-laws. While I type, Pip periodically pops in with de-shelled peanuts, serving them to me in a plastic Baja Fresh pico de gallo cup. "Don't throw it away," she implores me. "I wouldn't dream of it," I reassure her.
I love being here, listening to my little voices in the next room. As I stare at her desk, I'm immediately reminded of my father who is now gone. His office looked just like this: with the old desk lamp that sways and bends like a goose. The 1980's brown phone with the soft ear piece added on with sticky glue. There's a calender from the local bank on the wall. A family photograph sits (with her son's head spliced in since "he wasn't actually there") on the faux wood paneling. There's a piece of tape over her light switch to remind her that, with the lights going off, so does the computer. An old rolodex sits to the left full of names that probably no longer live anymore.
I love this desk. I loved my dad's desk. The staplers were solid and felt good in my hands. The pens (often pilfered from doctor's offices) had hours of stories and poems in them. Stella's desk has character. Like my favorite people, everything you see is what you get. Not like today, where everything is hidden behind a flat screen monitor. Contacts are stored in address books on files. And godforbid someone else wants to find one. You need the password and code name just to get the number for the neighbor. Stella doesn't need her neighbor's number. She just walks out front and taps on their door.
I know I'm idealistic to think of life in the old days. They had their problems, too. The relics from thrift stores I assign meaning to were probably tossed for a reason: bad reminders of a decade that left a scar. But for me, it's simplicity. And a time when people lounged around. Where formality wasn't more important than sincerity. Where you could fight and stick your foot in your mouth and still be friends the next day because you were going to live in the same apartment for the rest of your life, so just suck it up and move on.
What do you think? Do you romanticize the past or look toward the future? I mean, if we didn't have technology, where would bloggers be? Oh, I'd never know you! Can we find a combo of both?
Happy weekend. I hope you spend it doing what you love, with who you love.
More of my writing can be found on Babycenter.com. I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section.