Keep Two Thoughts

Personal essays

Connect - Essay from Newsletter 52

Make the call

Checking in Scott texted me Sunday afternoon and asked if I’d like to catch up with a video call.

“Sure,” I said.

I never say no. Not since Kim died.

Before the pandemic if you asked me to meet you for coffee or a meal, I resolved to never say “no”. As a died in the wool introvert it can be very difficult for me - but if I can meet you I always will.

Since the pandemic, in some ways it’s easier. Catching up is just a phone call or a FaceTime or a Zoom away.

In some ways it’s harder. I used to get together once a week with my co-working buddies when ever I was in town. Randy, BJ, my sister and I would get together for coffee and mostly work. We’d chat now and then and we’d usually take a break to have lunch together, but mainly we’d sit near each other - enjoy each other’s company - while doing our work.

That kind of getting together is something I don’t do much of anymore.

It’s more of an active catch-up these days.

“Are you free now?” Scott asked.

I asked him to give me ten minutes. Enough time to shave and shower before we chatted. I’m sure it wasn’t necessary, but it was after lunch and I should probably get myself together.

It was great catching up with him. I’m sure we’ll do it again.

Catching up

I have coffee with my friend Kevin three times a week. Other than the fact that we now are both drinking tea in the morning and we’re hundreds of miles apart, it’s the same as it ever was.

We’ve been close since we met freshman year of college. He’s the one I met in New York a year and a half ago for my sixtieth birthday. We met in Toronto a few months before that for his sixtieth birthday.

And now we catch up at the start of our day several times a week.

There’s a normalcy that that brings.

I have other friends that I catch up with on a regular basis. Josh and James check in every couple of weeks. Rob and I talk on the phone every week. Rick and I actually meet in person once a week - outdoors and distanced while we talk over a cup of coffee.

With Rick it’s still coffee - not tea.

And there are those like Scott that I get together with every once in a while.

Loren got back in touch with me six months ago. We had talked twice in the past forty years and yet it felt like no time had passed.

So many changes in each of our lives.

So many things to talk about.

And yet he is still the guy I remember from college. His voice hasn’t changed a bit.

We caught up again a week ago and traded more stories, things we’re thinking about, and musical recommendations.

It was just what I needed.

Perhaps I’m not as much of an introvert as I think I am.

What’s stopping me

There are people I text now and then, people I email, and some that I only see on Facebook or Twitter.

I haven’t posted on Facebook for almost a year. I took down my posts nine months ago. Heck, Facebook thinks my birthday coincides with April Fools Day.

I stay on Facebook so I don’t miss what’s going on with my friends.

I feel a little bad that my friends can’t keep up with me there anymore but that’s partly why I started this weekly note. Too many people on Facebook aren’t really my friends - they’re my Facebook friends.

There are some, like David, who I miss because we only connected there and in person when I would go out for an Apple event.

I should contact him.

We should talk.

What’s stopping you

I bet there are people in your life like that.

People you think of and say to yourself, “we should catch up.”

And then you don’t.

Either you never get around to it or there’s something holding you back.

There’s a grudge you’re keeping or a slight you feel or something that makes you feel awkward about reaching out.

Don’t wait.

Last year I met Charlie for a cup of coffee when we were each visiting the town where we grew up.

In an hour I was reminded of everything I’d liked about being his friend in High School while getting to know the man he’d become.

It was again that feeling that no time had passed while we caught up on all the things that had changed.

We were now older than our parents had been when we had last seen each other.

Your Chance

There’s a new made up holiday this year. (Yes, I know, every holiday is made up.)

The folks from WNYC’s “Death, Sex, and Money” have announced that this Friday is “Pick up the Phone and Call Day.”

The idea is to help people who feel disconnected because of the pandemic get back in touch.

If you’re not talking to real people and get your view of the world from what people post online, you may think that everyone is happier and doing better than you are.

I remember going to my first programming workshop and I was terrified. I was self-taught and probably not very good and we were going to have to pair program with others. Surely, they would see how very-not-good I was.

In fact, I found how much of my low self-assessment came of not sitting down with others. I’d only seen the brash and bold statements of those making those kind of statements. I was fine as a programmer and belonged with those around me.

Make a call and reach out to someone you’ve been meaning to.

There’s another holiday that’s coming up on March 31 that was created by the Reply All folks a few years back called “Email Debt Forgiveness Day.”

You’ve got those emails that you need to answer but they aren’t something you can dash off quickly so you leave them to be answered later - and then you never do.

At some point it becomes too late or embarassing to answer the emails so you never do.

Email Dept Forgiveness comes along with a URL you can share that explains the holiday and lets the recipient know that you’ve been given dispensation to answer it late.

Call, text, email, or actually write an old-fashioned letter that requires a stamp.


Essay from Dim Sum Thinking Newsletter 52. Read the rest of the Newsletter or subscribe

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