When cell phone meets coffee, the ending is not exactly what fairytales are made of. Sometimes, a couple cups of basmati rice in a Mason jar does the trick – and sometimes, forty-eight weary hours later – it doesn’t. Sometimes, one is left with an absolutely, positively, fried cell phone.
This, of course, happens to come near the end of a 40-day Lenten fast from social m
dia on said phone. Call it irony of ironies, or call it God really calling me on my inability to actually take notice, it’s been rather Dickensian in nature:
Being without a cell phone in 21st century America is rather the best of times …and the worst of times. But I have come to realize a few things.
I take notice. Hello, bicyclist to my right who waves at my children. Why, hi there funny billboard in Berkeley, full of wit and charm. Greetings, almost every single driver who seems to have his or her nose pointed downward at the stoplight: get off your freaking phone!
[I can’t tell you how many times I employed my horn this past week, at the number of drivers who didn’t realize a red light had turned green because they were staring at their phones for one… two… three… seconds. It’s unreal! People, let’s vow to let email and Facebook and Instagram be while we’re driving, for the love.]
But then, when I’m driving down the street, I see the blues of the sky and I see the gray clouds coming in from the north. As I drive over bumps and potholes and splayed bits of gravel, I notice the urban grit of my city, and I love it, all over again.
And I hear my children sitting in the back seat – maybe for the first time – because I’m not hearing hands-free conversations with friends and family while I drive.
“Mama,” Cancan said in the car this morning, “when I grow up I’m gonna be a James!” (See also: The HBH/Hot Black Husband)
“Yup! I’m gonna be a dada when I grow up!”
“Well, did you know that you can still be a Cancan and a dada when you grow up, baby?”
“Oh.” He paused for approximately 3.5 seconds, which is an eternity in three-year-old land. “Well, then I’m gonna be a Cancan, and Feo’s gonna be a Feo, and Dada’s gonna be a James, and Mama’s gonna be a mama!”
“Well, can’t I just be a Cara when I grow up?”
“No, you’re gonna be a mama!”
So it’s final: I am not a Cara, but I am a mama.
But y’all: I would not have heard this had I been zoning out to the latest podcasts and catching up on requisite audio books.
It’s so lame. So lame.
And it’s no way to live.
But this silence, this silence that’s somehow come to surround my life since Monday afternoon, isn’t something I’m prone to embrace.
Noise, I can embrace. Chaos, I can thrive in. But silence? Silence makes me think too much. Silence means that I’m not silencing my insides with all the noise I fill it with on a daily basis, even if I qualify that noise as very, very good.
But this silence, I need.
This silence, you need.
So, when I get a new-to-me cell phone, which I will, soon, I have a feeling it’s not going to be so loud. It’s not going to be so urgent. It’s not going to be so scream-o.
But it’s going to be a little quieter, and it’s going to help me to take notice, and in its own little way, it’s going to force me to slow down – because I’m going to realize how much I don’t actually need it, as much as I’ve come to depend on it.
And could it, I ask, be the same for you?
Double dog dare you.
I’m grateful for these little moments of grace, these reminders to take stock of what’s really, truly important. What has it been for YOU this week?