Radio silence

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's been a pretty low-key week for me so far ... no exciting adventures or restaurants, though I think it is Restaurant Week in New York City. In fact, I've been doing quite a bit of waiting -- something I've gotten really good at but hate with a passion. More than waiting for a friend who consistently runs late, I hate waiting for an important phone call. You know, the kind that paralyzes your schedule so that it's just you and the phone and a nervous silence and an inability to concentrate? That was my day.

I've been thinking about the Jaycee Dugard interview with Diane Sawyer a lot. I remember when she was found in 2009 ... it seems like much longer ago than that to me, and I've struggled to remember news stories from when she went missing in 1991. I sat down to dinner with my mother the other night and I tried to recount the missing children stories of my youth and I really couldn't remember many. I do remember one incident where the mother was constantly in the news, constantly postering, but I can't remember the girl at all. It may have been Jaycee Dugard. It's sad how often these missing children are forgotten by outsiders and the media, and their parents are left with the difficult task of not only funding the search for their child, but keeping their child's memory alive.

What touched me the most from Jaycee's interview with Diane Sawyer was the relationship between Jaycee and her mother, Terry. From Jaycee's side of the story from the morning she was taken -- how her mother hadn't given her a goodbye kiss like she had promised the night before ... to Terry's side of the story, of how she regretted for 18 years having left the house consciously knowing she hadn't given her daughter a kiss goodbye. These types of stories are more often than not a result of pure coincidence, but it doesn't make it any less heartwrenching.

And Jaycee's recollection of her diaries while imprisoned broke my heart -- of how she often looked at the moon and wondered about her mother and whether her mother even remembered her. This tore my heart out. As a child, I remember feeling very forgettable, but now that I'm older (though childless), I know that there is no way a mother, a parent could ever forget their child. But in Jaycee's case, she had an especially extraordinary mother who seemed to fight for her child long after most others had stopped caring. 18 years must virtually feel like an eternity to someone whose child has gone missing ... I think I would have by then long lost hope of my child being alive, but somehow it seems that Terry never lost hope and always felt that her daughter was out there, alive somewhere.

And Jaycee herself, what an extraordinary woman. I was really surprised to find how well-adjusted she seems to be, how forgiving and how strong. She has a childlike-ness (is there a better word for this?) that is both heartwarming and tragic at the same time. One has to wonder whether her childlike qualities are a result of the years of being held against her will, or if it is innate. And her seeming faith in the world, her forgiveness in some ways, astounds me. I wouldn't wish what happened to her upon anyone, but I do wish that all of us would learn a lesson or two about life, hope, love, family and forgiveness from her and her mother.

Other than that, the only other remotely interesting thing to happen to me this week is I finally signed up for Google+. It reminds me, at this point, of the early stages of Facebook, where there were only about 9 Boston-area schools on it. Essentially, very boring. I'm finding it to be a centralized location for a lot of Google's more popular "applications," like Photos, Videos, +1s, Buzz, and "Sparks," which is sort of a combination of Google News and Google Reader. What I don't like is how it forces you to basically link your name to everything. In general -- not just with Google+ -- I don't like the loss of privacy on the internet now. I'm not talking about blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc on their own, but the idea that you are expected to have an online profile ... and it is supposed to be "clean" and relatively conservative (lest any recruiters find out that -- gasp -- you drink alcohol like so many other people). Yet if you go completely private or choose not to have an online profile, you are seen as suspicious in some ways.

Maybe someday this all won't matter ... or maybe it will become the only thing that matters.

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