Saturday, April 19, 2014

It's a Funny Thing

I started working at Western Electric in North Andover, Mass in 1980, with 12,000 other people. Young, old, male, female, American born and not, a little community of faces and fingers, working to make telephone equipment for the world. A few months ago I joined the Lucent facebook page and since then, many of those same people I worked with, ate with, crossed halls with, have died. I see pictures of what they looked like at their death and some of their youth, and although the names do not sound familiar, the faces in all the pictures do. I feel that I knew them and at the same time, know that I didn't.

What does that mean?

Regardless of one's belief, I feel there is an organic connection between realms, between life and death, that should connect us when we are 'alive' but doesn't seem to until one of us leaves.

Why is that?

Do we value a life more when it is snatched away from us? Is the unkindness of people zapped from our minds as quickly as their lifelines have been snipped? How quickly we forget, how quickly we try to find some positive thing about them, or about us with them, and block the negative as we would a mad dog, if we could.

But mad dogs still bite.

And so do memories.

They say time fades all wounds but I don't think so. I think they just get pushed back and new ones get first in line because something - a smell, a song, a movement - brings us back to that haunt.

Maybe I said an unkind thing and didn't have the chance to explain, or apologize, or not even give it a second thought but now for some reason, it matters. The way I shunned a girl in eighth grade who may have been a best friend for life, that I never got to apologize to and who probably hasn't given it a second thought since, now matters.

What's the point then, of life?

I don't know. But I know it should matter because one day, they'll be looking at my picture. And then they will talk. I wonder what those words will be.

What would they say about you?

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