Saturday, April 30, 2011

Technology and Guilt

As I sit on the metro in Paris, I am often the ONLY person not staring down at my lap looking at a laptop, telephone, ipad, ipod, iphone, i  i  i     i       i.  I don't think it is a small coincidence that all this technology is about "I".  It really does shut out the outside world.  It is tempting, especially here in a big city where people aren't exactly chatty.  They are tired.  They want to pretend they are not where they are, in an old, dirty, hot box sitting next to someone who smells like stale cigarettes, strong perfume or both.

Watching Bollywood movies does help make the time pass better I am sure.  Texting and chuckling makes it look as though you have friends.  And above all, it sends the message that you really couldn't be bothered with anything going on around you: very Parisan indeed.

98% of the time I have Sabine with me on the metro, so it would seem a bit strange to ignore her for the sake of watching Ted videos (don't I look smart?).  And so, I don't - and anyway, I feel intuitively that it is anti-zen.  Hicham asked me if i wanted an Iphone, I said no, I am happy hauling around my ipod, my 15 year old cell phone and my little camera.  Last summer, I just had to have a better video camera to document Sabine growing cuz god knows I have not kept up anysort of baby book.  But, that video camera gets serious use, at home and only at home.  All those videos taken here at the apt makes it look like the poor little thing never goes anywhere.  Just runs around in circles like a captive animal.

So, Hicham got an Iphone4 a couple of weeks ago.  I was amazed by it.  I finally had to admit and accept the simple fact that all that crap I have been hauling around truly CAN all be had in one little box.  It takes great pictures, it takes wonderful video, it can text so fast (maybe I would write more than: on way), it has gps, watch as many Bollywood videos as you want and of course it is a phone with speaker (and much more).

Damn it!

I wanted to resist the pull, didn't want to be a sheeple on the metro or on the street using it instead of my little pathetic blue map book as I turn it different angles trying to figure out where in the hell I am going.  The Iphone, or something like it, is just genius.  Pure and simple : ONE piece of technology to replace all the others, one small purse to replace the duffel bag fill of maps, phones, cameras and i pods.

So, Hicham's iphone has changed my mind since I was forced to see him whip it out for the most mundane things, what will the weather be tonight?  What is the currency exchange rate in London?  Oh Sabine is being cute, I am going to take a picture now.  Etc.  Unfortunately, Hicham's NEW and amazing iphone was stolen this past weekend (long story).  Believe me when I tell you that NOBODY would steal my phone, I got it on ebay for two dollars.  But his phone was worth 700 bucks and he was beyond pissed.  He geo-tracked it, went to the street, knocked on doors, talked to people but to no avail (of course).  He went to the police - who admitted that when smartphones first came out that they actually took the trouble to get them back for people, but now that there are so many and so many stolen, they just don't really care.

Well, that sucks.

Hicham now 'needs' a new iphone.  Just like anything that makes life easier, it becomes a sort of necessity. Like toilet paper or sunglasses.  Sure, we could easily survive without them but the thought of it makes most of us shutter.  Having been to India, I can promise you toilet paper is not considered necessary by millions of people and sunglasses are only now gaining popularity in France.  But we in the  'first world' as we endearingly call it, have necessities at the expense of the environment (like, no duh?).  But that is part of my resistance to the iphone, what in the hell would I do with all that stuff that I bought within the last two years?  As we become addicted to the latest and greatest and feel that what we have is just not good enough, we toss toss toss away.  I, for one, feel guilty about that.

Friday, April 29, 2011

What is the Point?????

So, I have been thinking about 'starting' a blog for a while now.  I had started one THREE years ago.  It was to facilitate connection with me and my former life, to share my not very brave new world with friends  and family and yes, to join the masses of cool people who blog.  I guess after moving from NC to Paris, I was consumed with living in Paris and not really talking about it.  Not that there wasn't much to say, and frankly, wish I had - but that is neither here nor there.  I got right NOW, so let's go...

I have read many, many blogs - found many times by clicking at the blog suivant, or in english, the next blog button and roaming around on the blogosphere enjoying the many variations of how people express themselves, make their lives appear and share new information.  A great many of bloggers have inspired me to think about things in new ways, feel deep jealousy at how beautiful someone can make their home look during the holidays, feel lucky at how good I have it, create new sauces and provide insights into life as an expat in France.  I have watched perfect stranger's families grow, change, win some and lose some.  These strangers eventually become online friends.  Probably will never meet them, but in some ways I keep better track of their lives than my 'real' friends who don't have blogs.

Me, age 15, when I spent half my life
blabbing on the telephone.  
It makes me sad sometimes.  I recently read an article about telephone conversations and how they are really, really out of style.  Had I been blogging when I read it, I would have been able to bookmark the link and share it with you.  But anyway, you don't really need a link to believe that long phone calls are just more rare these days.  I can remember HOURS spent on the phone, sometimes even falling asleep with the phone hot next to my ear.  I know it sounds so bizarre now days, but it is true.  I remember watching movies on tv while being on the phone.  Interestingly, I still have long conversations with friends I used to have long conversations with (you know who you are)... but people whom I have met in the last 15 years - with a couple of exceptions, it just doesn't happen.

Many of my old friends tell me that they just don't find people like me in their life anymore.  (yes, it is not me trying to feed my ego a giant bowl of smooth mint ice cream, it is just true).  A few of my new friends have told me how nice it is to finally find someone they can 'be themselves' with and connect with authentically.  I doubt very, very much it is because I am super friend of the year, I have had many people tell me straight to my face that they can't fucking stand me and all my drama (bye bitches).  In any case, I get the desire to connect - I have it too.  That is why I am resuming this blog.  I really, really, really deeply, sincerely hope that I will hear back from people sharing with me their thoughts on what I share here.  Don't hold back, you know I rarely do (but I have learned that I can when I really have to).

This blog is also to share my experiences with myself, to witness my own life as I articulate and reflect later on something that happened.  What I used to recount to good old friends on the phone for hours simply is more difficult because honestly, I think I think slower then I used to.  As stuff simmers in my head, authentic notions are developed.  I am pretty sure that when I was younger I thought more efficiently, more intense, more vulnerable, more open, more quick to tell you what I thought because so much was so interesting and exciting.

Blazing her own trail, 15 months.
Well, I am getting older, more experienced and frankly, sucks but true, I have seen a lot of what the world has to show.  I now get to see my little daughter Sabine as she points with great interest to the little path over there.  She is a little explorer and wants to get the hell off the beaten path whenever she possibly can.  The good news is, while I am her mother and therefore protector, I am also her companion happy to go where ever she wants to (as long as she will have me).

So, okay, here's to resuming a blog, connecting with words my little bubble to your little bubble - together we can burst into a new scene of ideas, sharing, challenges, growth, inspiration, vulnerability, and tons of pictures of Sabine as she explores her new world in 2011.  Please join me (and subscribe it you want to).

Sabine in Doorway

It takes a while to get down the street because Sabine has to go up to each step and try it out.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I am back (plus one)

Just a quick note to say, bonjour and I am picking this blog up again! Yes, it has been a shamefully long time. I even have a 15 month old child now - and really want to blog about being a mama in Paris to an absolutely dynamo daughter and my life in general! So, more posts and pics very soon! woot woot!