I have not been here in a while. I thought I’d explain why I come and go; why I create and disappear; why… Why do we feel we have to justify everything?
Remember the first answering machines? My mother bought hers in the 70’s, I believe. Everybody at the time had a similar message. The words may have varied, but the gist of it was consistent. In fact, the majority were constructed around the same three “pillars:” We stated the number that had just been dialed (or the name associated with the household), we justified why we could not come to the phone and finally promised to return the call as soon as possible. Many people even changed their greeting message with every changing activity that kept them away from the phone.
To this day, many of us naturally seek to justify our actions as though we assumed we are being judged; for being 5 minutes late, for changing our minds, for breaking something by accident, for not being home, for everything. Sorry I am late, ___________. Fill in the blank, in absolute detail. Why can’t we just say, “Sorry I am late. Good to see you. How are you?” End of introductions. Let the real encounter begin. There is a lot of insecurity in the background of our being when we are busy explaining. Of course, sometimes explanations are in order. Often, we just fill in the blank automatically.
There was an interview with a psychologist on the radio, a while back, who was interested in this very phenomenon. He suggested that the advent of email contributed to this behavior, but that he suspected answering machines provided the initial turning point. They created an environment where others could enter our space, so to speak, even in our absence. Thus the instinctive need to justify, and excuse, said absence. And if you’re taking messages, then you have to justify not returning them promptly; you have to justify doing things at your own pace.
Email took this a step further. Now, we have an inbox that accumulates a large volume of input and demands. Emails, more so than the answering machine, observed the psychologist (wish I could remember his name), opened the door to all manners of white lies: “Your message probably went to the SPAM folder and I did not know.” That’s a classic, he pointed out. Texting added a touch of urgency.
And this brings us to Blogs and Facebook pages. We are expected to keep up the conversation. And I struggle with this. Sometimes, I go quiet for a month or two.
So I was. And I am back. For now. It is what it is. Nothing to explain. While I was gone, these new creatures came to mind and took shape. The buck lives at Grand Isle Art Works. The doe and fawn live at Sweet Grass Gallery.