Thursday, January 11, 2018

Standing In Line Is A Good Thing




Shaved-ice and watermelon disrupt lives so wonderfully!  In Faenza, mid-summer, post work-day, after dinner, they walk to the zocalo.  Families corral kids and go out into the street.  Old people, young lovers, singles step out into the warm night and make their way down the block.  Coming together under a big canopy; community. Snow-cones and seasonal fruit, wood benches and plastic chairs, man-to-man, coteries of women, cliques of twenty-somethings---catching-up, connecting, “haven’t seen you for a while,” ---evening stretches into late night.  So it was a quarter-century ago.  

I fear it’s a lost tradition. Getting together is no longer a focus.  Casual coffee is going the same route; the ‘pour over’ is being automated because it takes four minutes too long.  We hate lines, so we avoid events. We are submitting to our lesser selves.  

We become little Gollums whose ‘Precious’ is our privacy. It’s easy to hide at home.  Technology makes it possible. We work from home.  We worship at home.  We shop from home.  Bumping elbows with humans is uncomfortable.  People can be annoying.  Unless they’re just like us. Then they’re irritating.  It’s never been good for man to be alone.

To become healthy humans, or hobbits, we need to leave the house.  Build extra time into our schedules.  Set down the phone.  Yes, the lines will frustrate.  Humanity will give you a hundred reasons this was a bad idea. Wait for the moments.  The mother playful with her baby; a shared smile with a fellow customer in line, the scent of a perfume like being in love, affirming words on a tee-shirt, real beauty inked onto a tattoo sleeve. A simple four-minute pour over colors your world with more than coffee; rubbing up against people opens us up to being more richly human ourselves.