“Pleeaase, can I have it?”
“John has one?”
“I don’t know!”
“I’m the child, I ask why; you’re a mummy, you buy.”
“Now I’m the why person, so you’re …
“Pleeaase, can I have it?”
“John has one?”
“I don’t know!”
“I’m the child, I ask why; you’re a mummy, you buy.”
“Now I’m the why person, so you’re …
Good morning mourners, I am getting more ‘Goodbyes’ today than I’ve ever had”hellos”. That speaks volumes to the networks of my friends whom, I believe, most of you are here to support.
My non-cyber space friends were few, three to be exact. I hid behind my computer, an anti-social blogger, writing posts hoping to cheer up the world, to make the world think and to make the world act. At times, I sought to educate or integrate; other times, I aimed to entertain or simply agitate.
My soul mate Caribbeanmarvel, often described me as an enigma; someone antisocial yet pro-social and expansive. But I did not see myself in descriptive terms. I was not an adjective rather I was a Caribbean woman on a mission, a modern day Moses leading thousands of followers along the virtual timeless, borderless communication route towards the promised global village but unlike the Biblical Moses, my followers were not of one race or from one place.
I attracted and sought after people from all classes, nationalities, cultures, races, creed and sexual orientation. With my blog as my staff, this modern day Moses shared perspectives among my diverse group of followers, parting the sea of ignorance, freeing those enslaved by discrimination and ridding the world of pockets of bigotry.
I was not always liked or respected. Some people sampled my offerings and left without a comment not even to briefly acknowledge that they’d liked or dislike what I had provided. Caribbeanmarvel, the describer, was always calling me a tenacious character; and would remark on my ability not to be thrown off by a man or woman’s fickle behaviour or disagreements over my ideas and methods.
Let me give you an example. Once I took a break, to read and research, so I could be better at my task but some people found a replacement. They said they had another hero. They went on to like someone else, in fact to worship someone who was freshly pressed, she was gold minted. But I forgave them and welcomed them back.
A friend said to me, “You are a sucker for punishment; and to think you are not paid for this job. All bloggers are egomaniacs, though and you are the chief among them.”
So mourners, this journey of blogging to a better tomorrow is a hard one with no thanks. I believed that by getting to know each other through blogs and other social media, we will lead others to the promised land of a globalised world, where mankind equitably share all the earth’s fruits.
Your beloved departed is resting in peace and will rise in glory, Amen!
P.S. written for Daily Prompt: Dearly Departed.
“Why do you blog?” Avram asked. “Is it because you’re out-of work, you’re a rejected journalist?’
That got me pissed so I let my temper fly. I ranted: “Blogging is better than journalism, if you subtract the monetary gain. Toot. Toot, it gives a horn to toot even if you don’t want to toot it for me.”
“People from Panama, Vietnam, de North Pole, de South Pole, people that never know I cud write a sentence when I did a journalist, read me.“Numba two, no blog readers doan search for my phone numba and call me cursing me stink, stink; telling me ‘bout my muddah, doan mine they never see she.
“Numba 3, business people and politicans doan call my boss and say I should write ‘xyz’ like they in my mind or is my intellect. Nobody doan fume to higher-ups: ‘I am pulling my ads because she wrote such and such…’ Nothing so, buddy!
“It add up to I get likes from readers, I is a boss analyst, a boss writer, a boss story teller. I don’t get no hate,” I tooted.
“Likes? What likes you talking bout you does get muff hates,” Avram said. She started she own rant:
“I check out your site and muff people visit but the foolishness you write left dem speechless, you doan see they doan say a word in the ‘leave a comment’ slot. More to besides one day 47 people visit you and only one click ‘like’ dat is 46 or more than 99 per cent that hate the dribble you write.”
That one floored me, I failing as a blogger, so I try to comfort myself by boasting that I getting traffic cause most of the tings the WordPress people say about increasing traffic I have covered.
“Covered what?’ Avram said “you minding dem wordpress people and ‘blog-napping’ people by hooking your blog to their Facebook accounts. Traffic? They ain’t even reading you if not your followers would equal or be more than your Facebook friends.
“And when it get to following de Daily Prompt, half of them outside your league, you can’t respond. Like today, they tell you to “toot your horn” what horn? Horn about likes? Horn about traffic? Your horn hoarse, girl! De only horn you ever had is a Bajan horn. Ha! Ha!”
(In Barbados, a person gets a horn if his or her partner is unfaithful. In Bajan parlance, we say: Mary put a horn in Tom. Translate: Mary was unfaithful to Tom. Vincentians use butt instead of horn.)
Diana drifted into consciousness to find George frenetically fanning her and mumbling the “Lord’s Prayer.” He was not a church goer and this was the only appeal to God, he knew.
Alternately, he’d passed a vial of smelling salts under her nose. She hated smelling salts but he felt it was exceptional at reviving people who’d fainted.
Realising she was alert, George raised his index finger to his lips said, ‘I know’ and strolled towards the music room.
Soon the notes from the piano filled the house – harsh and violent. He was escaping, as usual. She’d married to a stranger who communicated through things.
(P.S. Remember I said I wanted to see if I have a creative writing cell within me. To do so, I am answering a challenge to write a 100 -word piece that contains, “the notes from the piano” and adding it to my earlier piece of “self-Plotted”. Tell me how you think I am doing. Criticise me, laugh at or with me but please tell me your reaction. I am listening! Thanks!)
Are you in the right group? Are you compatible with the others within your circle?
You may think the answer is ‘yes’ but suddenly you have an awakening that straightens you out. You ask yourself: financially, emotionally and intellectually, am I properly matched.
Examining yourself within that framework can be revealing. In fact, I’ve learnt that such an examination should be guided by what others think since this shapes their attitude towards you. You may consider yourself an equal but they may see you as the group’s football not purposely but because you sit on a low rung of the financial, emotional or intellectual ladder.
That is why I believe that traditional friendships that thrive on physical contact are overrated and are losing importance. An ‘electronic friendship’ is focused on the common areas between persons and the matters that are likely to cause division are downgraded in these modern ‘distant’ relationship.
Social media widens your circle of contacts, expanding areas of interests, places and races from which you can draw friends. Differences in time zones instead of reducing opportunities for relationships are now broadening them. Whether your sleep pattern classifies you as an early bird or an owl, you can tap into the computer and find someone anytime for a chat.
On a recent television programme a group of mental health experts promoted the view that social media and other digital technology tools were causing people to be more distant with each other and was therefore breeding loneliness and leading to an increase in cases of depression.
I strongly disagree.
During my recent awakening I’ve realise that my electronic friends are not interesting in things external to our common areas; and having a variety means all areas of my life are fulfilled. They encourage me and seldom put me down. Traditional friends on the other hand disappeared with negative changes in my fortunes; loss of my job, declining finances and so on.
So off, I go nurturing my electronic friends.
Angela Aspen was willing to sacrifice her life.
“Take me instead of Princely Pine, I am softwood too,” she begged but the man in the big boots – aka Mr. Tablet Logger- consulted his handheld computer and placed an orange neon sticker on Princely’s trunk.
What could she do? She had grown very fond of Princely. They did not share DNA nor did she have papers formalising their relationship but Princely was as much her offspring as if he had grown out of her roots like one of her many clones. She and he were joined by their hearts which were now being ripped apart by Princely’s imminent dislodgement from his spot a few feet away from the edge of her canopy which was his home all his life.
“Human beings seldom fulfil their promises, except those that lead to destruction of lives by war or by wreaking the ecosystem,” Angela Aspen cried.
She was inconsolable. Her leaves, renowned for fluttering and trembling ever since Judas Iscariot hanged himself from one of her foreparents, were now quaking out of control.
Panicky and in pain!
She had given Princely hope every time Mr. Tablet Logger passed their way. Countless times, she reassuringly told the pine that he was young and by the time he was matured enough to go to the pulp mills, the humans would have long fulfilled their promise, thanks to digital technology.
Her thoughts drifted back to the day of the promise, about three decades ago when as a sapling she felt the growing excitement and hopefulness that was sweeping through the tree farm. She knew very important news was being shared because all the trees from every family in Tucky Timberlands- the Oaks, Birches, Spruces, Pines, Firs, Larches and Hemlocks – no matter their heights or flexibility were bending sequentially to each other like sports fans doing the Mexican wave.
Angela had heard about the wave from the gigantic elders who could see into the stadium, a few miles away. They had seen jubilant soccer and cricket fans celebrating in that fashion and had practised the motion. Afterwards whenever the wind blew strong, the whole of Tucky Timberlands ‘Mexican waved’ in celebration of any event that suited their fancy, for example the change of a season or the achievement of a goal by a tree or animal.
That day in question, they were Mexican waving, unaided by wind but spurred on by a desire to spread gripping news. She wondered what could be so important.
Eventually the news wave reached Angela. She learned that the only friendly and trustworthy human beings they all knew, the nature lovers, had been talking about a new development that would lead to a paperless office. The environmentalists, who were camping in the woods, said the development was causing much talk and their peers were joining leading business and financial experts to debate the implications that night on Radio 640.1.
On the dot of 9:00 p.m. when the campers turned on their battery-powered radio, every tree leaned in to get the facts first-hand and they cheered at the prediction that a paperless office was only a few years away. This, they heard, would be accompanied by recycling programmes worldwide that would see used paper transformed into usable materials.
The woods erupted in thunderous applause; branches and leaves snapped, breaking away from their hosts in glee. Everyone felt suddenly free; all the other plants and all creatures in the woods resorted to their primal sounds of merriment as they joined the tumultuous rejoicing. So loud was the noise that people in the nearby towns and villages called the meteorological office asking whether a typhoon was in progress. The humans did not address him but Bullish Birch proffered an apt reply: “Fewer trees will be destroyed, the ecosystem MUST rejoice.”
But today, sapling Angela Aspen had grown into “Disappointed tree” Angela Aspen and yet again she was mourning loss. She bowed her top so low that like Judas she kissed the clones that look up from her roots. It was an accidental kiss of betrayal that happened because she was so ashamed to have believed mankind’s promises. She had only done so because the environmentalists were so positive about the outcome of man’s technological inventions.
Now she wanted to give up. She had grown weary of gaining and losing companions. Oh, how she had betrayed Princely Pine and all the trees that looked up to her for advice and hope. She cried out loudly, her voice echoing in the distant: “Take me! Take me! I have gained Judas’ character, I have caught his virus.”
But the logger with the big boots and tablet ignored her pleas. He moved on to chat with a worker in green overalls who displayed the company’s logo proudly on his left breast.
Princely saw Angela’s pain and opened his branches to form a specially conduit. Normally when the wind filtered this special intertwining of branches, a cheerful tune would fill the woods and Angela would chuckle loudly and dance. But Princely’s unhappiness was so great that his branches responded lethargically and the song that escaped was a haunting dirge. More tears slid down Angela’s bark creating a pool of loneliness, desolation and hopelessness that covered many of her clones.
The willowy aspen was almost friendless. Over the years, saplings were planted or they sprung up; they matured, were felled and carted off to become paper, lumber or fuels. But she remained to produce clones for Tucky Timberlands. Some said she was lucky but she felt she was a Judas and today underlined the fact that she was a helpless traitor like him.
The situation was hopeless for all trees in the farm, Angel thought. She had reached that conclusion, a few days ago when a strong wind swayed her head so she got a peek into Tucky Timberlands’ office.
It was cluttered. Several stacks of paper documents were piled high on desks. There were also scores of files filled with paper receipts, bills and contracts as well as lots of containers of pencils and pens. The volume of paper bothered her most. She had seen more paper in that one five-second peek than she had seen in the same office many years ago when she lived next door in the nursery as a seedling.
In addition, the aspen had overheard a nature lover lamenting that nowadays every house had a computer and printer and householders were always printing something. He had added that every person who could write a sentence was calling him or herself an author and the number of self-published books was growing exponentially. Thanks to the same technology that was the promised route to ‘paperlessness’.
So Angela knew the inevitable was happening. Her days with Princely Pine were ending. She thought about falling on Mr Tablet-Logger, as his punishment for sending Princely to the pulp mills. The logger was no match for her; she could take him down any time.
As she considered her next move, Angela saw Mr. Tablet Logger looking intently at his computer. “They will need fewer workers, soon,” he said.
“It says here that ‘Google and a group of other companies are encouraging users to help the environment while saving time and money this year by adopting a New Year’s resolution to go paperless’. The Paperless Coalition, which also includes partners HelloFax, Manilla, HelloSign, Expensify, Xero, and Fujitsu ScanSnap, is asking users to sign an electronic pledge to go paperless in 2013, and invite others to do the same.”
“I know this will mean fewer of us. Demand is going to drop more than in the 2009 recession when newspaper sales fell and things looked shaky for the industry here. Fujitsu is also bringing out the latest version of their ScanSnap line. Say it will bring the paperless office closer to reality. Fewer workers, layoffs … ” Mr. Tablet Logger grumbled unhappily.
He looked grim and afraid, so Angela roared with laughter as she imagined him getting his comeuppance. She was so excited that she didn’t hear his companion, Tory retort: “Yes? Heard that before!”
“Here it says that ‘before encouraging people to go paperless, and particularly inferring that electronic services are better for the environment, Google and others need to examine their own impacts and perhaps might reflect that, on balance, print and paper can be a sustainable way to communicate’,” Tory countered.
“It is big business against big business, you think they will ever be a paperless office? No, not unless trees get up and form they own multinational corporations.” He put his iPhone into his back pocket and walked towards Princely armed with a chain saw.
(P.S. Hi readers… here is my attempt at writing fiction. It was motivated by the paperless announcement. Tell me what you think. Criticism will help me grow. I am listening.)