What if all that time, energy (electricity, human energy, resources to feed the humans, cleaning staff, building personnel, etc.), and verbiage used in the telemarketing, was instead used for conversation?

Like what if people – tens of thousands of people – were paid to sit behind desks, call up people, and have a real conversation with them? Check in, say hello, find out something about them, share something about themselves, wish them a nice day. What kind of a difference would that make?

I’ve started collecting the physical (mailing) addresses of people in my Facebook friends list, and real world friends (of course for the most part, they overlap). I am sending cards: thank you cards, mostly, although as this thing progresses maybe I’ll get more creative and ambitious. I needed to send something, to all those lovely folks that supported me last year in various different ways. I need to tell all those people I admire, that I admire them. We all need fan mail, right? And who gets any anymore? Almost no one. And it would be an easy thing to do when you’re having a pity party, which I have to admit, I have sometimes: I had one today that lasted hours. All the things I couldn’t do rose up like monoliths: how could I ever manage livestock, dogs, trailers, water, fencing, equipment, if I could barely walk? and with a little kid in hand?

And yet everywhere, people do these things. Mike Canaday runs California Grazing and Living Systems LLC – grazing companies – and he’s not out there every day on their blocks; his employees are. Doniga Markegaard has 4? 5? kids out running the show with her and her husband Erik on multiple grazing leases on top of their home ranch. Bre Owens runs her ranch – cattle, horses, sheep, dogs, and biological monitoring – with her young son in tow. There are always ways to do things, and this experience of California has been one big long lesson in learning how to look for what I can do rather than get hung up on what I can’t. If I wanted to get all metaphysical about it, I guess one might say that I needed a real, physical ‘can’t’ to get the point across, because I just wasn’t getting it with the little hurdles of work authorization, driver’s license, income (lack thereof), vehicle (lack of reliability thereof), family commitments, so on. I was still insisting I couldn’t do the things I wasn’t doing, even though looking back I can find ways around most of them. Obstacles are funny like that: so looming and insurmountable up close, so small and insignificant in hindsight. One must remind oneself of that consistently and often.

So back to telemarketing: there’s an idea. Besides sending out letters, why not just call? Why don’t we all do that a little more – just call people up, say hi, have a conversation, ask people how they’re doing and what they’re up to. We would all love the surprise.

Some might even really need it.

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