Dawn: Venus high in the southeast; light clouds. A quiet morning. Light just beginning to collect in the spaces between the leaves.
It was still full dark when I awoke, conscious of a dull pain in my chest, around the fifth or sixth rib on the right, fretting about it – chest pain! It could be my heart! – in my sleep. I sat up and meditated for twenty minutes, watching my breath, becoming aware of all the light in the room, the green light from the clock, the irritating blue-white throb of my netbook recharging beside the bed. It's just a little indicator light, the size of the head of a pin: but it pulsed in my peripheral vision, catching my attention again and again. I wonder if it woke me. I'll put the netbook to charge downstairs, from now on, and cover the face of the clock before I go to sleep.
By the time I was saying the dedication prayers the light of dawn was appearing, and I knew my chances of getting more sleep were slim. That's okay. I'll sleep when I need to. The pain in my chest had wandered away. I came down to the landing to look at the sky, saluted Venus. And now I'm sitting in the living room, listening to the loud tick of the wall-clock, and wondering why the birds are so quiet. A car engine starts up, down the block, and the light is strong now, but the birds aren't saying a thing. I even see one, flashing through the maple boughs, a starling maybe. All silent.
Puzzled, I go out to the deck, sit cross-legged against the wall. Out here, I can hear them. But they're very quiet. No wonder I couldn't hear them inside. The loudest ones are the crows, blocks away, over on the slope of 53rd Avenue, where they like to gather for a brief conference before splitting up into their work-groups. But it's just one, saying the same thing over and over again. Two long caws, a pause, two long caws, a pause, two long caws. No one else speaks up: the others are listening sullenly. So I imagine.
I worked long hours – for me – on my data project yesterday, and I'm a little out of sorts, a little out of balance. My mind feels a little out of true, and my eyes are tired. And I've just done, for one day, what most software people do every working day. It's a wonder any of them last a year.
I was so happy to hear from everyone, yesterday, in my comments! And surprised that my last evoked so much response. But a lot of people seem to be uneasy with their online presences – some more uneasy about the fragmentation, others about the overexposure. The advent of Google Plus, even if you decide not to adopt it, has to stir up all the questions and anxieties that Facebook and Twitter were already raising, about privacy and exposure and homeliness (in the older sense of that word). A couple people brought up the very serious matter of exposing other people with your writing. It's not just our own privacy at stake. (Zuckerberg may not be my cup of tea, but he was right in the largest sense, that privacy and exposure are going to undergo radical cultural shifts as a result of most of us being searchable: I have no answers or predictions, but we are all going to have to attend to it.)
I've been astonished at how difficult it's been for me to find my footing with a “professional” blog, the blog attached to my massage website. It's a different kind of exposure to a different audience – exposure to people who might be employing me as a therapist, exposure to people who are colleagues or rivals – to people who know a lot about the topics and might catch me out. It raises some of the anxieties that academic writing raised, particularly since I find I don't fit in well with any of the massage clans – I heartily dislike both the medical and the shamanic models, with their claims to higher occult truths that are accessible only to people who take expensive training workshops: I really think that a fifteen-year-old who gives her grandma back rubs probably does as much good for her as would the most highly trained specialist in Myofascial Some-Guy's-Name Technique or a level 6 master of some supposedly ancient Asian (conveniently untranslated; if pressed, untranslatable) lore. I don't think rubbing people and making them feel loved and soothed and comforted is really that abstruse or that difficult: the only reason it's a viable “profession” is that our culture is so isolating, so high-pressure, and so hypersexualized, that the only way most people can get the humane, attentive, non-demanding touch they crave is by paying for it. They really don't need us: if by custom everybody in the grocery line rubbed the neck and shoulders of the person ahead of them, the bottom would drop out of our business and we'd be out on the street. It's not our skills that are in demand – it's our willingness to touch and attend, without groping, rushing or judging.
But that's hardly the sort of thing you make a professional blog out of -- saying that professional skills are bogus and unnecessary. I don't know. I need to rethink the whole project.