Out of Sight…Out of Mind?

I used to attend a writer’s workshop in which I was generally the youngest member by a good 10 years minimum. The group was full of foreigners who had settled in this little part of Spain, from of all walks of life, and certainly with different mindsets – the only common denominator being our interest to fill blank pieces of paper with something somebody would care to read.I remember one particular Englishman, who once expressed his amusing habit of treating people like items in a desk drawer. Every Wednesday morning, when it was time to go to the workshop, he would pull us out of this imaginary drawer of his and place us around the table again, reading, writing, observing… until it was time for us to go our separate ways and he would then place us back in that drawer as he remembered us that day, until the cycle began again the following week.

And it is funny, how we have this tendency to put each other away for some time if we’re not in close contact. Of course it is easier to deal with people more frequently when they live within walking distance, or within a local telephone call. But the times are changing, and with all the communications facilities we now have at our fingertips (pun intended), I often wonder why we still don’t seem to communicate as much as we could. Almost as if having so many options freezes our ability to actually utilise them.

I have friends close by and overseas, who I rarely speak to because of awkward timings or randomised work commitments – but we have the luxury of mobile phones, MSN or Facebook to take a sneak peek at how we’re doing. A little ‘nudge’ or a friendly virtual sucker punch to say, “Hey, I’m still thinking about you.” Obviously, I’d much prefer a full conversation, but I can deal with these crumbs to know that they’re still there and they’re alright – and even if they’re not, they’re just a few keystrokes away.

Naturally, the telephone and the Internet can never fully replace real human interaction, like sitting at the same café table gazing at the same passersby, judging the judges of the X Factor, or comforting each other when life hits us from angles we never knew existed… but (call me a dreamer if you like) distance is no longer an excuse not to keep in touch nowadays and share some of these moments and emotions. This way, the next time we meet up there’s hardly any time spent on the typical, “What have you been doing for the last 6 months?!” and we can simply get on with enjoying our time together.So write that email, pick up the phone, log into Skype, send a text message… Stop procrastinating on the people that matter (or open the door to those waiting on the outside who might leave you pleasantly surprised), and keep the conversation flowing. Who knows? Life is full of strange twists and turns, and you might never see them again. Spare yourself the bitter taste of regrets and ‘what ifs’.

All of My LifePhil Collins

All of my life, I’ve been searching
For the words to say how I feel.
I’d spend my time thinking too much
And leave too little to say what I mean
I’ve tried to understand the best I can
All of my life.

All of my life, I’ve been saying sorry
For the things I know I should have done
All the things I could have said come back to me
Sometimes I wish that it had just begun
Seems I’m always that little too late
All of my life

Set ’em up, I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair, I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, too much I need to say

All of my life, I’ve been looking
But it’s hard to find the way
Reaching past the goal in front of me
While what’s important just slips away
It doesn’t come back but I’ll be looking
All of my life

Set ’em up…

All of my life, there have been regrets
That I didn’t do all I could
Making records upstairs, while he watched tv
I didn’t spend the time I should
It’s a memory I will live with
All of my life.