CONVERSATION WITH…The Cheshire Cat from Wonderland…about virtual friendships in older age

Over the Hill on the Yelllow Brick Road, I saw a grinning cat sitting in a tree. A moment later, the cat disappeared. The next moment, he appeared on the top of a bush. Then strangely, his body faded. All that remained was his smile and his eyes. Was it possible he was the Cheshire Cat from the story of Alice in Wonderland? I had to ask!

cheshire cat

Hey—are you—

CHESIRE CAT: Yes I am. The Cheshire Cat.

But, you live in Wonderland. What are you doing here? How did you get Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road?

CHESHIRE CAT: How does anyone ever get anywhere? With great difficulty.

I suppose.

CHESHIRE CAT: But I just had to come. Like the rest of you here, I’m growing older and trying to figure out where I belong in the world. I’m having trouble relating to the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, and the others the way I used to. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I’m changing. I’m obsessing with my age.

That’s how I ended up Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road. I was looking for friends who understood what I was going through. I wasn’t sure where or how I’d find them, but I felt compelled to look.

CHESHIRE CAT: I’m looking for others, like me, who can appear and disappear in older age.

 Oh. Well, I’m sorry I can’t help you. I don’t do that.

CHESHIRE CAT: Of course you do.

What? How?

CHESHIRE CAT: You’re a blogger. And so are most of the others who are reading my words right now. Your relationships with each other appear and disappear with a tap of an electronic device. As soon as your phones or computers are turned off, you’re gone. And as soon as you return to the internet, you appear.

You know, you’re right—

CHESHIRE CAT: The question is, if your blogger friends are virtual, are they real?

Well, you appear and disappear, and you’re real.

CHESHIRE CAT: Fair point. But how can you be sure?

Because though I can only see your grin and your eyes at the moment, I feel your spirit as you speak. The same is true with my virtual blogging community.

CHESHIRE CAT: Hmmm…Anything else?

Well, when I don’t have access to the internet, I’m sad. I miss my virtual friends.

CHESHIRE CAT: Hmm. Do say more.

Since virtual bloggers and I communicate through posts and comment sections, we say exactly what we want to say, very concisely. No small talk. And we speak from our hearts.

CHESHIRE CAT: Intriguing.

Also- I never worry about the way I look when I communicate with virtual friends. I don’t have to clean my house before I speak to them. I don’t have to make special appointments to get together and then change my schedule around. We appear to each other, and disappear, whenever we’re ready.

CHESHIRE CAT: Increasingly interesting…

And, if I can’t leave home due to health issues or other problems, my virtual community is still there. We communicate the way we always do. So, though I have never met these amazing people in the flesh, they MUST BE REAL.

CHESHIRE CAT: It’s a distinct possibility. In that case…when I return to Wonderland, might I join your virtual community? May I follow your blog?

I would love that.

CHESHIRE CAT: Thank you.

So…I guess you’re saying…you don’t think it’s insane that I call a virtual community of people, who appear and disappear, my friends?

CHESHIRE CAT: Do I think it’s insane? Well…you know what they say in Wonderland. We’re all mad.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2108

Are you real?

CONVERSATION WITH…An Older Mobile Phone

I walked for miles and miles Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road and finally plopped down on a park bench. I was exhausted. A moment later, an older mobile phone sat down beside me. I sighed. The mobile phone asked:

mobile phone

MOBILE PHONE: What’s wrong?

Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but a mobile phone is the last thing I need to see right now.

MOBILE PHONE: Why? What did I do?

Nothing. It’s just that you’re a painful reminder of my daughter’s move to the other side of the country. My relationship with her has been reduced to text messages and calls on a phone like you.

MOBILE PHONE: Don’t I know it. Social media is killing me. I’m constantly working. Why do you think I look this way? Smashed screen. My keys don’t tap properly. My battery is dying. I need to retire but my owner isn’t due for an upgrade.

I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve never looked at it that way.

MOBILE PHONE: And I’ve never seen it through your eyes. What’s bothering you about mobile phones. We’re working our butts off for ya.

Do you really want to know?

MOBILE PHONE: I can take it.

Here goes. My daughter will text me about something that makes her happy. Like, last week she had a surprise birthday party. She texted me a photo of herself with her friends, but I didn’t get to hear everyone shout “Surprise!” when she walked in the room. I missed that moment.

MOBILE PHONE: Uh huh–

And when my daughter isn’t feeling well, she calls me. I can hear her raspy voice on the phone, but I can’t be there to give her tea and toast.

MOBILE PHONE: Uh huh–

Last night was the worst. My daughter made herself a nice dinner. She texted a photo of it, but I couldn’t be there to taste it with her.

MOBILE PHONE: Right—

And over the weekend, my daughter sent a Snapchat of herself at the end of a marathon she’d just run. But I couldn’t watch her cross the finish line.

MOBILE PHONE: But–

And about a month ago, my daughter texted me when she was afraid of the out-of-control fires in California. She texted there was smog and smoke in the air, but I couldn’t be there to smell it. I couldn’t be part of her experience. At all.

MOBILE PHONE: Okay, okay. Stop. I get it. As a mobile phone, I have my limits. You can’t see, hear, smell or taste experiences you’d like to have with your daughter.

I couldn’t have said it better.

MOBILE PHONE: But each time your daughter contacts you, there’s something you can feel.

What’s that?

MOBILE PHONE: Her love.

Copyrightoverthehillontheyellowbrickroad2108