Putting The Phone Down & Talking To Strangers

phone down on table

How often do you put your phone down? Stop scrolling or even turn it all the way off?

No judgement here. I’m usually holding my phone and maybe scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. It might be on my lap or on a table near me. As I write this, it’s just to the left of my keyboard. Not that I’m usually expecting a bunch of calls or texts.

Well, actually I take that back. I’m in the process of helping my mom sell her house and there are two showings today. It seems that whenever I accidentally leave my phone in another room, I miss a call.

But usually, it wouldn’t hurt to put the phone down or away. Lots of people take social media breaks or at least claim to. I always find it amusing when people announce on social media that they’re taking a break, then check-in during their breaks. Is it to create drama and suspense? Maybe they’re truly addicted to social media? I don’t get it.

Anyway, like so many days in this season of my life, yesterday, I brought my mom to a doctor’s appointment. As we were sitting down, a woman in the waiting area said, “Hello ladies!” with smiling eyes above her mask and a very friendly voice. She seemed so happy to see us! I think we said, “Hi,” back to her and I hope our eyes were smiling too.

My mom mentioned to me that her phone was acting strangely and when she was reading a news story it would just go away. I said that maybe it was just refreshing the feed. Then my mom went in to see the doctor while I remained in the waiting area.

The woman with smiling eyes was on her phone talking with someone, then she went up to the front desk to answer some questions. In very fluent English, I overheard her say that her first language was Portuguese. When she went back to talking on her phone, I did notice that it sounded like she was speaking in Portuguese. I was scrolling on my phone the whole time.

Then she got off her phone and mentioned to me that she had overheard me and my mom talking. She said that my mom might need to restart her phone. I had forgotten that maybe there could be a glitch needing that. I thanked her. Then another woman came in and sat down. She said to me that my earring was stuck behind my mask so I fixed it. I thanked her.

Then we all started chatting about how people need to tell people if something is wrong like that. I mentioned how I had a friend that we would always tell each other if we had lipstick on our teeth. Then I mentioned that I don’t really wear lipstick anymore because of masks. My red lipstick used to be part of my signature look. We all lamented my pandemic loss of lipstick.

Then smiling eyes mentioned that she saw a woman whose skirt was all up in the back once and she told her. We agreed that we need people to tell us when something is wrong even if it’s an embarrassing situation. It’s worse not knowing when something is wrong.

Then smiling eyes said that her kids are always on their phones. Even when they are at parties. Kids will text each other, but not talk. We all said how that’s horrible, but I admitted to always being on my phone too. Every few minutes I’d go back to looking at my phone, then we’d start chatting again and I’d put it down.

Smiling eyes mentioned that it was her first time going to this doctor and she was nervous. She has diabetes and needs to get it under control, but hates needles and doesn’t test like she should. “When it’s my time, it’s my time,” she said.

She reminded me of my cousin who used to always say that too. And he meant it. He lived a full and very good life. But he died a needlessly painful and early death last year. It’s still hard to believe that he’s gone. But nobody can change someone else’s life philosophy. They will do what they want to do and can’t be forced to do otherwise.

Smiling eyes looked like she might be in her 40s. She had some lines around her eyes. I thought about mentioning my cousin and what happened to him. But I didn’t. I just listened. The doctor called her into the office and I wished her good luck. Later in the day, I remembered her and restarted my mom’s phone. Then I silently wished her well.

Daddy’s Dairy Is A Real Place

 

Daddy's Dairy ice cream

A few weeks ago, I was out and about somewhere and overheard a conversation. Two people were talking about ice cream places and one mentioned that someone told them about a place called Daddy’s Dairy. They didn’t believe it was a real place and said the name sounded fake.

I thought this was hilarious and was cracking up — in my head. Also, I was thinking about how my super extroverted brother who talks to everyone and can strike up a conversation anytime anywhere, would have definitely walked over to them and gotten into the conversation. My introverted self did not.

First, let me tell you that Daddy’s Dairy is a very real and wonderful place. Actually places. Daddy’s Dairy has five locations: Braintree, Brockton, Stoughton, Randolph and Norwood. I’ve visited the Brockton locations several times. I’ve driven by the Braintree location dozens of times, but never went inside.

I love this place! There are so many varieties of ice cream and it’s delicious! I must admit that the first time that I heard of it I thought the name sounded funny too. Maybe that’s why they picked it. Because it’s a name that you won’t forget.

A friend and I did some catching up yesterday and cooling off over some ice creams at their Brockton location. I had a regular Funfetti Cake ice cream in a cup. I forgot that they pile the ice cream high and should have gotten a kiddie size. It was a lot!

But yesterday was a scorcher, so the cool sweetness was appreciated. Summer is here finally and visiting ice cream shops, along with cafes, is on the must do list for the season!

16 Years Blogging

jars of spices for 16 years blogging

Today is 16 years blogging! Sweet Sixteen!

Sixteen years isn’t just a milestone for the number of years. It also represents a dividing line. I blogged for eight years and a few months on my old blog, when it was Anali’s First Amendment. Now the number of years on this domain, Anali’s Next Amendment, is also eight years.

April 29th is not only my blogging anniversary, it’s also the day I choose my word for the year.

When thinking about this new word, what first came to mind was that people enter our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It’s up to us to figure out the difference. That discernment is part of our life’s work.

I started thinking about how a season is really quite short — just three months. But each season repeats in an endless cycle of seasons. I think this deep noticing of seasons comes with age. Because after living through so many cycles of seasons, we notice them more. That might be a reason why I was drawn to reflect on the seasons with the year long Collection of Moments project.

Life is all about the seasons of it. Like that Frank Sinatra song, “It Was A Very Good Year.” He reflects on being 17, 21, 35, and then the autumn of his years. It’s such a beautiful song — his sharing memories of these four seasons of his life. And yet season can take on other meanings.

I grew up learning to well season my food. Using spices and herbs to season our food improves taste and increases our enjoyment. Baking oil onto a cast iron pan, seasoning, prevents rusting and preserves it.

After thinking about the word season, I thought that I might have already used it as a word of the year. It seemed so obvious. But after looking back, I had not. So, I guess the word hadn’t been right before. It is now. ‘Tis the SEASON.

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Links to posts for past years are below. Thank you for being here!

Community, DNA, Kin & Black History

DNA description and genetic community

“Your ancestors are always your ancestors. But their communities may not be your communities.”

                                                                                              ~ Matt

The quote above is from an article called “To Be Good Kin” on the website Midnight Sun and it makes a lot of sense.

Just because our DNA says one thing, doesn’t mean that’s our community — regardless of the percentage. The article is an excerpt from the book, Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future, by Patty Krawec, which will be released this September. The author is Anishinaabe and writes about how settler colonialism tried to change Indigenous ways of life and the idea of kinship.

Kin & Community

I feel like I sort of understand the big picture idea of kinship. But not so sure I understand the exact detailed meaning. There are many definitions for it.

Merriam-Webster says it’s a group of persons of common ancestry or clan; one’s relatives. According to Oxford, it’s our family and relations. Vocabulary.com says it’s a group of people related by blood or marriage. However, I would also add that it should include people related by adoption. But I don’t think these definitions cover everyone.

What about a neighbor who takes in someone who is unrelated and there is never a formal legal proceeding to make them family? What about close friends who are like family? We all have “aunts” and “uncles” who aren’t blood relatives, but they are part of our families. Are they kin? They’re definitely part of our communities.

Each of us has more than one community. But sometimes, because they are so intrinsic to our identities, we may not really think about it. We may take these different groups of people for granted. One group might center around our work or school. Another may revolve around our spiritual life. Another may revolve around a sport or hobby. One of the most central is based on blood relatives. Friends who enter our lives through one or more of these groups also play vital roles in our lives.

Maybe depending upon how close we get to certain individuals in these groups, any of them could be considered kin. Maybe all of them. I’m not really sure. What if you don’t spend holidays or other special occasions with your blood relatives, but with members of your church or your book club? What if you combine all of them?

The idea of kin and community is fascinating and worthy of much discussion. Thinking about the quote above made me think about my DNA results. They are all over the map, but heavily concentrated in West Africa. While I don’t know the names of the individuals, the blood in my veins is from my ancestors. The majority who hailed from Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Benin & Togo, Ivory Coast & Ghana.

Black History Month

I hadn’t planned on writing a Black History Month post. Often the celebration feels forced and fake. Like when conservative Republicans have the nerve to say they are celebrating it on Twitter at the same time they are doing everything possible to prevent Black people from voting.

Anyway…. The countries that my ancestors are from reveal a pattern showing the history of this country. A horrible and frightening trend by many states and localities seeks to prevent teaching American slavery and the history of Black people in this country.

My DNA connects me to three specific genetic communities: Early North Carolina African Americans (1700 -1800); Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama & Mississippi African Americans (1775 – 1950), Mid-Atlantic Coast African Americans (1750 – 1950). Where certain Africans were taken from and brought to in the United States is evident in my DNA now and in the DNA of all of us who descend from Africans enslaved in this country. No matter the attempts to erase what happened, it shows in the science.

Slavery severed generations of families and communities in countries all over Africa. It contributed to the growth of the African diaspora and the creation of African Americans. These ancestors’ communities may not be mine, but at least knowing the countries lets me be curious in a more specific way. And maybe I can learn more about these communities in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about Black History, during the month of February, you can stream for free a three-part class: Black History, Black Freedom and Black Love on MasterClass.com.