By Marian Salzman, Wednesday, October 6, 2010, at 7:28 am.
Today, life is one big blur. At home, my office doubles as art gallery, library and dog playroom. In the kitchen, my palette runs more and more toward fusion (anyone else tried chicken with horseradish and curry?). On vacation in coastal Rhode Island this summer, it wasn’t Hurricane Earl we were worried about but Hurricane Wyclef. (One of the teenagers on that vacation recently announced, “If I ever see Wyclef again, I am going to thank him for the most interesting August….” But what I missed in sand and sunshine, I made up for in street cred every night at the dinner table.)
Everything these days seems to be converging. At work, I’m observing that blurred work-life lines are making 2010 the year businesspeople became humanized. But nothing today blurs life and work more than the social Web. It’s the greatest driver of all trends and a place where blurring is taken to the extreme: Friends become followers, and you follow your friends’ news with shockingly high levels of intimacy if they do TMI posts—and generation gaps fall away if the friends don’t employ “security screens.” Plus, real-time Google searches about anything and everything make all of us mildly “with it” on every subject. Oh, what Wikipedia has done for us….
A pretty close second in the blurring category for me recently was turning my home into a bed-and-breakfast for One Young World ambassadors visiting New York City to make a presentation to the United Nations International Day of Peace.
This blur was particularly interesting, because our guests—who were of Muslim, Christian, Jewish and Catholic faiths—visited during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, and they had convened to present a missing Millennium Development Goal: a request for religious tolerance.
I’m not a religious person; my father might challenge my facts and insist I hung in longer (sixth grade and two years of Hebrew School?) than my sisters did, but my independent spirit and nonbelief made breaking up with the temple easy. In high school, I joined a Jewish youth group because it was high on socializing and low on religion—unless you count singalongs, but with my voice (let’s politely call it tone deafness), I probably chatted through most of them. At Brown University, my honors thesis was on acquisition of religious identity of Soviet (now there’s an outdated word) émigrés to the United States (they used “Jewish” as a means to escape the U.S.S.R. but were typically ill-equipped to join new Jewish communities in the U.S.). And even though I took two summer trips to Israel (both very unrewarding when contrasted with time spent those summers in London and Paris), I grew increasingly distant from everything Jewish. It took my moving to Amsterdam, rereading The Diary of Anne Frank, and coming to understand the Holocaust through the experiences of people who lost family members in The Netherlands during World War II before I started to let any religion blur back into my life—and even then, only one part Jewish and one part current events.
So fast-forward to the holiday weekend and the blur of the OYW ambassadors, who had come from South Africa, Turkey, Nigeria, Kuwait, Canada and Estonia, some by way of London. Blend in guests we assembled from Connecticut and Texas and New York City, golden retrievers, my housekeeper from Trinidad, my Facebook friends joining us remotely, my pals from Holland 13 years ago sending an SMS, and the food I ordered in from Balducci’s (Jewish-style; who says the chef has to be Jewish?), and wines from Chile and Sonoma.
My life is a blur. Or maybe more like a smoothie with some gritty pieces.
Photo Credit: creativecommons.org/by Philou.cn
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 at 7:28 am. It is filed under Features, Insights, Social Media, Trends and tagged with Amsterdam, blur, Brown University, Canada, Catholic, Chile, Christian, Connecticut, Estonia, Facebook, Google, Holland, home office, Hurricane Earl, Jewish, Kuwait, London, Millennium Development Goals, Muslim, New York City, Nigeria, One Young World, Paris, Rhode Island, SMS, social Web, South Africa, Texas, Trinidad, Turkey, United Nations International Day of Peace, Wikipedia, work-life, Wyclef Jean, Yom Kippur. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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