First Kiss and Six Degrees of Separation

Hi, Boomers,

Alas, I have some free time. My year old grandson is asleep with his morning nap and everyone in my family is out. The two older grandsons are in ski school and their parents, my son and daughter in law are picking up my ex-husband a lady friend up from the airport. I’m in Park City on a family week’s vacation and it is so beautiful that I can’t take my eyes off the snow coming steadily down every minute of the day and night. We are packed in and it is completely serene.
The other day I received a note on my Facebook page from a boy who gave me my first kiss in the back row of the Rafael theater in San Rafael. I was astounded and, well, so downright astounded that I coudn’t move for several minutes. He was my first love in fifth grade, and he, a much older boy in the sixth grade, was my sexual experience. The First Kiss. I will never forget. And I remember vividly this first crush because I really liked him for a very long time. I’m that kind of girl: hard to let go of really like or love because people get close to my heart, inside my heart and I’m way too sensitive to that condition. This note from my first crush – a good kisser as I recall because I remember good kissers – gave me pause in so many ways.
It has taken me awhile to get use to this social networking gig. For so long, I resisted. In time, I just discovered that if I surrendered and accepted what is instead of fighting what I want it to be that I would be okay, it would be all right in my brain and I could cope. As a result of my released anxiety and rigidity, I’ve reconnected with a good portion of my high school graduating class and renewed friendships and even engaged in making really good friends with those people I didn’t even know very well in high school. When I had my reading and signing of my book, Sixty, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer, at Barnes and Noble in November in Corte Madera, CA, I was astounded at the warmth and comfort of seeing some my old classmates who live in the area, and some even came from the east coast. I was elated and excited and I still carry that joy with me. And it was all a result of social networking. Who knew?
My first kiss reminded me that we are all separated by only six degrees. We know people who know people who know people and then we all know the same people in a few strokes. My fifth grade boyfriend was talking to some friends at his high school reunion in October of this year, and they were talking about “what ever happened to….” and my name came up. The two guys he was talking to knew me well in school – one from grammar school at St. Raphael’s and the other from our high school, Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield. One was on the cheerleading squad with me and I adored him. He married his high school sweetheart whom I adored, too. Kind of reminded me of three guys in a locker room talking about the girls in school and how they discover who “puts out” and who doesn’t. But thankfully they weren’t talking about my first kiss but where I was and how I could be contacted on Facebook. So my first boyfriend contacted me. Turned out to be a smart guy and a blogger, too.
I also found an old favorite friend on Linkedin yesterday. I thought she still lived in Idaho and found out she is back in LA and I’m thrilled – we are joyous to have each other back in our lives. These connections have happened so often since this social networking paradigm has exploded that I am still in a state of wonderment.
In the beginning, I hated text messaging. I write in my book about my loathing of the construct of texting instead of actually hearing another voice on the phone (which I still prefer). It upset me to think that social interaction had taken such a wrong turn. But my private yoga clients kept texting me and it drove me crazy and in defense I had to text them back because I know they were too busy to talk to me on the phone to discuss changes in their schedules. I was finally convinced that I had to be involved in the texting connection. All my young and beautiful yoga clients were thrilled.
In our modern society it is difficult to have straight, honest social interaction. In my life, the only way left to me is by dancing Argentine tango. Through tango, one socializes and rediscovers a meeting point with people that can rarely be found in modern society: the embrace of two people, the shared wordless conversation with pauses and physical embellishments, the thrill of the music recognized by a man and a woman. Texting pales besides this kind of human connection. Tango has staying power because its conventions and traditions remain constant and comforting. I will never succumb to dancing apart to house music. It’s the sterile cuckoo.
Today, there is an outright race to see who can reinvent the reinvention of the social networking media. I’m not going to be an old fogey about this state of affairs. Hey, I’m even one to download movies on my computer for entertainment because I’m too lazy or cheap or more than likely don’t have a date to go the movies and experience the film in its glorious color and technology and immediacy of performance. I can take the easy way out, too, but it’s not such an amazing experience without the full monty.
So we need to make accommodations to our social interaction. It’s so much fun to hear from my first kiss, my first boyfriend, and so much joy to hear from my travel friend who is taking an amazing trip to Patagonia, and so happy to receive word from my oldest best friend since childhood that she is gathering her spirits after the death of her beloved husband and creating new traditions for the holidays. What could be better at this stage of my life to take up the slack of social interaction when everyone lives so far apart? I am blessed by the the instrument of the computer, the electronic age, and the genius brains of all those pioneers who take us to another level of communication.
The best thing about all this is that no one, absolutely no one, can take away from us the face to face, body to body embrace.

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