9.28.2009

Sunday morning aloha o ka aina o maui no ka oi

I see the morning stars. Laying in bed listening to the surround sound rain- I can hear the bass pumping from the Mackies to the northeast. Falsetto is dripping down off the gutter to the west. Sounds like Uncle Richard Hoapi`i & brothers playing some slick slack key guitar. I want to soar above the clouds to see where the rainbows are hiding.

It's so easy to slip back into Maui life. Everything is so inviting. A rainy day spent in bed watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 4 is even inviting. That is not my destiny today though. My true destiny is to stay at home & study but sadly that is not going to happen. Why can't I focus this semester? I'm working less than 50 hours a week (phew!), I'm actually keeping my shack fairly clean & tidy, my diet is centered around fruits & veggies- What is it? Who is it? Is it words? Lack of words?

Lexical choices- this is interesting. It's what people say, or don't say, or stop saying. What motivates some people to just stop? Incommunicado. Poof I'm gone. Buhbye. Then there is texting. When does it go to an extreme? In my Language in Society linguistic class this summer one of my classmates observed text-etiquitte between males/females. She kept logs of her texts between male & female friends. She noticed a pattern (you guys know how much I love to identify, follow & try to figure out underlying meanings of patterns in cultural behavior I'm sure...) of female friends leaving long(er) texts regardless of urgency of message whereas her male textors, including suitors, left brief messages & sometimes down to 1 word. She considered this a fundamental difference between males & females.

I wasn't quite buying it but then I decided to do my own research & check out my logged texts... bingo pajama. Same same. Regardless if my textor was a male friend or a male partner, it showed the same results: my female friends left more in depth, personal messages consistently. This is fine in itself as I really enjoy the freedom of texting- the lack of immediacy in it. The message gets across, no one has to be disturbed if they don't want to, there is a record of sent texts so traceable. etc. So many benefits!?

Now as I explained this phenomenon to another classmate in NYC, she immediately wanted more information such as, "so do these minimalist textors call you though? I didn't answer right away as I had to consult my iPhone... I think I was kinda not looking forward to delving further in that conversation- no I know I wasn't going to enjoy it. The proof is in the pudding- or the iPhone log in this case...  She went on further to say that real spoken conversation was essential in addition to texts & that society is embracing this technology (of course- as it is useful), but we are robbing ourselves of some other, much needed on an esoteric, spiritual, sensual, primal level; stimuli of other senses. You know what? She is right on some level. We sit around on our computers (such as I am doing right now as I blog, skype w/Brazil & sift through FB chat to see if Debbie of Istanbul is online...) in these... these environments- not artificially constructed, but certainly manipulated, checking for messages in inboxes, or calls not taken & going to voicemail so we can react at an 'available' time. I do it, yes. Don't we all? But is it right? Is it right for our human-ness?

Are we becoming more human by embracing technology or less humane by readily using it?  As an example I think about cyber love letters. Words can describe beautiful things & we can conjure up exquisite images but we can't hear the words- as they were meant to be heard. Now that I think about it even a handwritten letter tells so much more about someone's feelings that they are trying to convey to the recipient: you see the words filling up the pages and can feel the other person at the other end of that pen/pencil. You can trace your finger over their words and it evokes response, emotions. What does onscreen fonts do? Well it does effectively convey a message, but not a very sensual one as I see it- or as I read it. I'm a very sensual, tactile, kinesthetic person. I need this. I know this. There is no substitution for human-ness, human contact, physical-ness.

So if lines of online communication suddenly stop what does this mean? Does it mean the same thing as when one stops receiving handwritten letters? Does it mean the same thing as when that certain ringtone you have set from that certain person stops chiming? Perhaps it means nothing. Perhaps it never was anything to become nothing. Is my friend right- do people hide behind their texts because life is full of superficialities in this modern world? Computers are cold, hard objects unable to emit emotions. Are people turning this way too? Is this our destiny? To become so remote & robotic & emotionally unresponsive.

Tough considerations for a country girl such as myself. This is why I need to be connected to the jungle. To the knowledge I receive from it. The emotions it provokes in me while roaming around my shack in the bewitching hour listening to critters. I even managed to find solace in listening to the rats come out at night while in NYC. I took pleasure that something- even so banal- evoked an emotional response in me as I took breaks from my computer & schoolwork. I tried so hard to keep it together over there and find some sort of nocturnal beauty that could temporarily distract me from the cyber-reality of the situation. Back here on Maui I listened to the toads as of recent. As I was coming up the driveway last night, in my headlights I could see all the toads hanging out in the rain. Made me happy.

Who am I kidding- I can't find emotions in a text? Not so far anyway. I've looked for it. I've wished for it- sure. But I haven't found it & I won't so I can just stop looking for it. The jungle prevents me from being so unresponsive. The beauty & grandeur of Maui is awesome and can bring tears to my eyes if I think deeply enough about it. As well I realize I cannot  provoke emotions from someone not wanting to be emotionally responsive. The more time I spend in the jungle the more I reflect on my classmates dismay over our conversation.

On the flip side though, I have doubts over the legitimacy. This entry is point in case. This is very emotional. My emotions are flowing as fast as my fingers can tap away on the keyboard. I believe I am communicating effectively what I wish to convey. Maybe the problem isn't the intrusion of technology after all. Maybe the underlying facet has to do with timing. With that thought I end this entry as the timing just isn't right to delve into this monster right now because now it's time to watch 1 last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer... I've decided I am complicated in the most uncomplicated of ways but not many seem to get it. It somehow gets lost in text/cyber translation...