Friday, January 09, 2009

Not keeping in contact

I went for a massage last night to sooth my aching back, and part way through I thought of stopping the guy and saying:
"Excuse me, I don't want to sound forward, but I didn't personally shell your harbour and sell your great-great-great-grandfather opium"
Trouble is, a soothing massage in Hong Kong seems to consist of a man sticking his knee into the small of your back to hold you still, and then pulling as hard as he possibly can upon one of your arms. One thing I learned from this painful experience is that my left shoulder is slightly less flexible than my right (perhaps because it gets less work) and there's also a very strange sensation, somewhere between wanting to giggle and to scream with pain, when somebody grabs the flesh between two of your ribs betwixt thumb and forefinger, and pulls very hard. So basically a massage involves the word 'between' and pulling hard. Ah well. Back is kind of better (insofar as I don't get creaking noises from it when I lean forwards and back - but then it hurts too much to lean forward and back...)
[very old joke: "What did you do when your horse had colic?"
"Fed it methylated spirits."
"I fed my horse methylated spirits, and it died!"
"Yup, so did mine."]
So perhaps it was pain-induced self-pity, but as I started to fall asleep last night, I began to worry about how poor I've become at keeping in contact with people. In an environment suffused by email, Skype, Facebook et al, communication is ever more shallow, if conducted at all. (On the other hand, I can always find the Headmap Manifesto if I search Google, so I can always keep in contact with the sometimes crackpot ideas of one of my old bosses - so there's some good, some bad...) Last year I sent innumerable emails, but only ever one letter (and my friend never replied - with the quite exceptional excuse that she was putting off reading it until she had time to reply).
Communication is probably shallower because of the heightened opportunities for it, which is something enough people have pointed out for it to be a truism. But how often do I take the opportunity to tell my friends how much I appreciate them, and how meaningful they are in my life? Usually I'm just in an utter rush of gabbling about one thing or another to people, and I've a horrible feeling that in between failing to set up advertising for Diet Croydon, and failing to send Christmas/birthday cards on time, I'm going to wake up forty years later wondering where my life has gone. Perhaps it's from spending the last few days doing career reviews and self-evaluation that makes me maudlin.
Or perhaps it's because I have 'Wind your body' by Shaggy going through my head on a non-stop loop.


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