paper people

Last night I was given a ticket to a New York publishing schmoozing event with three of my coworkers, so the four of us went down to the Seaport after work to partake in the open bar and free food and amazing view of Brooklyn, courtesy of Oxford. Networking events are weird. This one billed itself as more of a celebratory thing, not an overt connection-making deal. Still, these kinds of events have an odd dynamic -- here is a room (or, in this case, the second floor of a pseudo-fancy restaurant on the pier) full of people who have made their careers in an industry that finds itself utterly unprepared for the quantum leap in the pace of change in the past decade. These are paper people, people who concern themselves with ink and trade in the currency of antiquated jargon -- slugs and galleys and bluelines.

And here they are, on the deck of a pier overlooking the Hudson River and across it, the city of the young and grasping. And they're handing each other business cards. Sheepishly, some of them. These squares of paper are an apology, a polite request to not be left behind, to be allowed to keep up, for a little while.

Maybe that's unfair. But I was there, too, holding tightly to my love for things that my own grasping youth has discarded. And it reminds me of a poem my mom wrote about my little sister bringing water to her face with open hands. So careful, and still the water slips away each time. Maybe she kept at it not for the satisfaction of water on her face, but for the feeling of having something slip through her fingers so reliably.