be here now or else!

“Nothing is as powerful as a 20-second video clip, where you’re actually seeing the human being.”

This is from Newark Mayor Cory Booker in discussing his new technology Waywire in an interview with Fast Company. But they add this:

No tweet or Facebook update can possibly compete for raw, visceral oomph with the force of the physical. And an in-person pow-wow is almost always a more effective way for communicating a thought. As if to underscore that idea, the full-time mayor and part-time tech entrepreneur dropped a near perfect quote from W.E.B. Dubois’s The Souls of Black Folk.

Here it is: “In a world where it means so much to take a man by the hand and sit beside him, to look frankly into his eyes and feel his heart beating with red blood; in a world where a social cigar or a cup of tea together means more than legislative halls and magazine articles and speeches–one can imagine the consequences of the almost utter absence of such social amenities between estranged races, whose separation extends even to parks and street cars.”

So of course, I was already going to write about this before I saw this article. I had saved the title for the draft yesterday, but did not take the time to write it. Actually, I was prompted to write on this topic even the day before (what day is it? where am i?) when we passed by this restaurant on our way from the Central Park Zoo to our car en route to the other side of the park to go to another restaurant, Eat Here Now (image from NYMag).

When I saw it, I laughed, which prompted our middle grandson to ask what was so funny. He was the one who got the “up close and personal ” thing with the snow leopard from my last post, so he gets language jokes very well, which is terrifically entertaining for me. I explained, on one foot, what the “be here now” expression of the 60’s meant, without adding reference to the drug culture or counter-culture elements. And I also said how ironic that it was we saw the restaurant on our way across town. To go eat. And we both laughed about that.

But we are goal-oriented. We are not here just for now. Otherwise, we would not care about our families. Our legacy. Our future. And we were meeting many other members of our extended family, so we were looking at a larger picture.

And yet–

Last night, we went to a club to hear someone we know perform. But the place was packed, the people were busy talking, and very few of us were listening.

But I was.

How wonderful the music was! What a treat to hear how people come together to create such amazing sounds!

But what was worse than that was when they weren’t talking to someone or another, they were busy proving they had opposable thumbs.

What. A. Waste.

Be. Here. NOW!

So you can continue to be here more!

If we embed as many of our activities with the value of amazement for the gifts we have been given, we will know how we can indeed give that again and again.

In all senses of the world of irony, the young woman I happened to sit next to last night, one of the few who was interested in hearing the music, shared with me (before and between songs) how her parents never seemed to find what they were searching for and always looked to external validation, leaving their family with great extended bitterness, if nothing else, and, as we continued speaking, I realized that she had been a childhood friend of my daughter’s (D#2) and had spent time at my house.

And she asked me, “Since I have wiped out so much of my childhood, can I ask you something?

What was I like as a child?”

So as Steve McCurry quotes on his latest blog entry (which if you have not seen, please stop reading this right now and go look at breathtaking photos and other quotes proving over and over):

Know the true value of time;
snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it.
– Lord Chesterfield



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