phone belonging

Belonging

At first it seemed normal.  Nothing untoward.

He was one of many making their way along the busy London station platform.

He walked a few paces ahead, a little to the side.  The left.

Like many of us today, he walked one hand held aloft.  Not at eye level, but held in front of his lower face. Face and hand locked at a fixed distance apart, hand leading face, almost as if invisibly tied together.

It seemed like he was following the scent of a delicate flower, cupped within his hand.

Instead, his hand held his mobile phone.

His eyes flicked down, then up, down, then up.  The time spent down seemed to dominate.  Maybe two thirds down, one third up?

My pace was slightly quicker and I began to draw almost level.

I glanced across.  Then lingered.

His screen contained the calculator.  A familiar sight. There were no numbers entered.  Just a blank calculator screen.

We walked on.  I adjusted my pace to match his.  Half a yard behind, just to the right.

We walked in synch. No buttons were pressed.  No numbers entered.  No calculations computed. His eyes flicked down, then up, down, then up.

He was one of the gang.  He was a phone walker.

Like me, maybe others who walked past this phone walker, or those who approached from the front, we might assume he was checking the latest news, scanning his social media timeline, reading a text or an email.

But no.

He was staring at a blank calculator app.  Content in the knowledge that he belonged.  Belonged to the morning throng of commuters who held their phones aloft. Scenting their technology like pungent hyacinths. He was no longer alone. He was accepted. He was a phone walker.

trapped in a void, with a pending yogurt imperative

image

Our office has access control. We carry cards which we touch against pads to open doors from corridors, stairwells and lifts. Public areas in effect. Mostly we carry these cards on lanyards around our necks.

This morning I was in early to do a ‘breakfast briefing’ – you know, describing what a sausage is. 😄 Language makes me laugh sometimes. Anyhow, I digress.

My porridge instruction was to be on one floor, my office on another. I carried some materials, a cup of tea and various facilitation aids up to the room my croissant warming was to take place in.  I left everything on a table and set off back to the office to print something.

On the stairs, a realisation dawned. My lanyard and access card were on the table. I was trapped in the stairwell. A humanless void between the areas of work. I was alone. Caught in the connecting arteries of office life.

I knocked on a door and peered helplessly through the narrow glass slit on one side. It was early though. Few people were around. My tapping went unanswered. Suddenly I heard the ping of the lift arriving two floors up. In sad desperation I bounded up the stairs hoping to meet someone I could beg to grant me escape from the void. I arrived just in time to hear the click of the door, closing, as they had already entered the human space, leaving me in the soulless vacuum. I trudged back down to my tapping door.

I smiled at my ridiculous situation and my preposterous attempts to escape the void. Why is there nobody around to save me? How will my willing breakfast briefers ever discover good yogurt to fruit compote ratios?

The lift on a floor above pinged again.  I turned and took several steps before ruling out another fruitless jaunt upstairs. Peering through my tapping door once more I finally saw my rescuer. An internal passer-by responded and freed me from my humanless void.

Nobody starved. Breakfast briefing was restored.

My moments alone though, trapped in contactless oblivion were curious. My panic, my irrational behaviour, my helplessness, my sense of isolation.

 

the last leaf on the tree

resilience strength last leaf

As Winter approaches the leaves on the trees thin daily. A tree in my garden has maybe only a hundred left.

I wonder whether I will get to witness the last leaf on the tree?

I wonder also, what makes it the last leaf on the tree? What gives it the resilience to hang on in there? What gives it its strength? The determination to stay attached to its branch? What marks that leaf out from the rest? From the masses? The thousands that have fallen?  Is it the courage to stand out, or the fear of falling that keeps it in place? Is it the position it holds in the structure of the tree? Or maybe its angle in relationship to the elements; the wind and rain that strive to dislodge it? What makes it special?

In life, what makes us persist? Hang on? What gives us grit and determination? What makes us stand out from the crowd? Unique?

 

are you lonely sometimes?

lonely alone state of mind
Someone I know passed away very recently.

Their partner is still grieving and confided in me that they felt so alone. Not lonely, but alone.

I was curious about loneliness and alone, so researched a little.   Here’s what I found…

Loneliness can be described as a state of mind. It is a lack, a feeling that something is missing, a pain, a depression, a need, an incompleteness, an absence.

If you are feeling lonely it means that, even if you are with other people, you are missing something or someone. Somehow, you feel empty inside.  I suspect this is what my friend experienced.

On the other hand, being alone means you are without company, isolated.  It is a state of being – you are alone.

‘Aloneness’ can be presence, fullness, a sense of being alive, joy of being. You are complete. Nobody and nothing is needed. You are enough.