Excuse to Get Lost

Lucas Vasquez was a Sales and Marketing Intern at Heyday in the Summer of 2012.

I got my first cell phone when I was almost sixteen, and I was late in the game. I didn’t mind living without one up to that point. Mostly, it was just inconvenient when I had to borrow somebody’s phone or find a quarter for the pay phone to tell my Mom where I was. My first cell phone made calls, played Snake, died every couple hours and, only later when the plan was upgraded, sent text messages. That was it. My current cell phone still does those same things, though there’s no more Snake (sadly) and now, there’s a camera attached. Kids today (God, I sound old when I say that) are getting smart phones before they reach double digits. In my mind, there’s something wrong with a kid learning how to tell time via smart phone, a kid who never gets lost or is forced to find their own way to the movie theater because their phone barks directions every step of the way. There’s something sickening about a half dozen people sitting around a picnic table in the park, each on their phone checking whatever it is people constantly check online. Yes, I understand that smart phones are a technological achievement. Information has never been more accessible. They constantly do away with minor inconveniences like running into unexpected traffic or having a song stuck in your head that you can’t remember the lyrics to. But what are we sacrificing for that?

Perhaps, our ability to communicate honestly with one another. Our ability to share silence together. Our ability to accept being lost once in a while. Our ability to be bored for a couple minutes. Out of this boredom, inspiration is born. How are we to find ourselves if we are never lost? Smart phone in hand, how are we to sit with the world as it is and attempt to make some sort of order from the chaos we perceive? The truth is, we’ve made most of this chaos ourselves. If it was just eat, sleep, and ____, as it is for most other animals, we wouldn’t be in this mess of self-awareness.

But we’ve done it. And now we must sit in it. Smart phones are the easy way out. Hopefully, we will soon see the social and intellectual stunting that these deceptively harmless phones participate in and revert to only what we need in order to communicate; nothing more. Nobody is allowed to get lost anymore; we desperately need an excuse to get lost.

At Heyday, personal connection is of the utmost importance and “lost” is practically a synonym for “being.” I realize all companies claim to believe in the importance of personal connection, but it is genuinely an essential piece of the Heyday staff’s vision. The “office” itself is a welcoming house-like structure and (though a bit nippy at times) has character and personality. Authors, artists, web designers and others are constantly stopping by to chat business or just say, “Hello.”

At the first event I participated in, a launch party in celebration of the San Francisco Arts Committee’s book, Malcolm said something that really struck a chord with me. With an organic sense of poetry that I will attempt and fall miserably short of recreating, the spirit of the statement was as follows: A large chunk of the beauty behind books is that in between the lonely moment of a writer putting pen to paper and an individual reading the book in their lonely seat on the bus, there exists a monumental collaborative effort and a community that’s just so damn beautiful. The importance Malcolm sees in this community is evident through Heyday’s dedication to its authors, staff, and friends.

Events (launch parties, readings, yearly celebrations, etc.) start off with a little wine and cheese. This inevitably leads to conversations and discussions among authors, artists, fans, interns, readers, and friends of Heyday. These events have a sensational ability to bring people together and seems to create a much-needed sense of community fostered by common passions and organic human interaction. They are paramount to Heyday’s vision. It has been genuinely inspiring to have been a part of a group that asserts value to human connection as more than just a means to an end.