Monday, June 01, 2009

No comments.

"I have something to say," I think as I leave tab after tab open in Firefox. Meaning to return to posts later in order to offer encouragement, support or compliments, I always feel guilty when I quit the program and lose my place.

I once prided myself on my commenting ability. I'd read carefully, taking time to fully understand what you were trying to say. I'd consider, draft, revise and then post my response, hoping it helped in some way. Yet now - even when I find time to tap out a few words - they feel inadequate and lame. More of a quick 'yep!' then a thoughtful and nuanced reply to words you took the time and energy to write.

I don't console myself with thoughts of being so busy or harried or even self-absorbed. I was trying, therefore, to justify my lack of ability as I climbed the steps to curl in bed and realized something. I opine all day. While not the decider, I am among a group of people responsible for making choices. We gather facts and opinions. We talk to people in person - both here and there, by phone and email. We ask questions, listen carefully and offer measured responses in return. We make judgment calls - this is good enough; that is not. We should invest in this but not in that. I like this idea, but not as much as that one so the former will have to wait until 2010.

I then go to work explaining the decision - whether pitching to bosses or gathering feedback from peers. I defend our choices to customers and listen carefully to criticism. I put all my mental energy into understand collaborators and why they have opposing views. I compliment colleagues in sister businesses because they deserve it and it pleases me to watch their expressions of happy surprise when I stop to say I think they did beautifully. I pause by a neighboring office to hear a random story, stepping inside to curl into a chair if I feel more attention is needed.

Given my need and affection for sleep, there is finite time and attention to be given. And the "um..." response my tired brain offers is so much less than I want to offer. So I leave tabs open because I care that someone is considering leaving grad school or working through a divorce or facing surgery. I've read scattered posts about moving forward and that matters. I think they're important and lovely or heart-wrenching. And I want to indicate that somehow - that I've read and care.

Yet another example of how prioritization must occur. In the meantime, I'm sorry I'm not doing better.


Lucy said...

I do the exact same thing, until firefox crashes because I've got so many tabs open. I've been feeling bad that I haven't commented on your posts lately. I don't even have any explanation why it's easier to play a millionth boring solitaire game than to leave a comment for someone I like. Probably the same reason I stay in my room rather than sitting with my housemates to eat dinner, I guess.

And now I'm feeling like this comment needs more thought, but I'll post it anyway so this tab won't join the many open ones. :)

hypoglycemiagirl said...

There is so much shit going on that demands our attention; work, news, twitters and blog posts. I'm always amazed when people have time to write multiple long blog posts a day and commetning on several others while apparently maintaining a full time job.

I sometimes refrain from commenting because a thoughtful response to a serious post takes me too much time to write. Maybe I'm lazy but there is also a fear of being wrong and out of place and not get the English language right.

Anonymous said...

i don't think you should feel bad about not commenting on posts. and you have A LOT going on right now it seems, so, so what if you don't comment. anyone it bothers doesn't deserve a comment from you then. not commenting does NOT equal not caring. don't beat yourself up. we all know you love us and care about us, comments or not.

Anne said...

I feel the same. In my line of work, we talk about the capacity of one person to be present to another. My lack of presence in commenting to the blogs that helped me get through my dissertation leaves me feeling sad.
And yet, I know that I'm still out here reading and that others are out there reading, and comments or not, right now its just good to know we're all there.

Amelie said...

See, I sit here with my open tab and try to comment. Because I know this feeling, it happens to me as well -- because I'm busy, because I'm afraid I won't find the right words, because... of many things. But I'm still there, reading, if quietly.

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