Today everything is done on the fly, so to speak. One day, I realized that I had not spoken to an old friend for years, though we email each another on a regular basis. So, I decided to shock her. I picked up the phone and dialed her mobile number.
She said that she started not to answer because she did not recognize the city nor the number. She also said that she considered blocking it. When she discovered that it was me, we both laughed and admitted that we have allowed social media to take over our lives.
Since we had last spoken, her land-line number had changed years ago and that says a lot about our current state of affairs when is comes to real communication. When I used to call my older relatives, they would often say, “It’s so good to hear your voice.”
Nowadays, we shy away from actually talking to each other for a host of reasons. We are too busy or though we may not say it, texting and emailing is a convenient way of not dealing with each others’ feelings and emotions. When we shoot a brief message over to someone, we don’t have to deal with their being lonely, worried, sad, overly-excited or just too long-winded.
I recently saw a Twitter message where a woman basically wrote, “Text me or email me. Don’t call because if you do, I will just look at the phone ringing.” I thought, “This speaks volumes and it perfectly makes my point.” People don’t have a lot of time or they are unwilling to spare it to listen to others.
I am currently reading a book called Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell which was written in the mid-1800’s. Mary Smith, the narrator, has a bird’s eye view and she shares what is going on in the lives of the people in the town of Cranford.
Reading this book is comparable to taking a slow stroll in the park. The reader gets to see the houses, the roads, the carriages and the gardens. We feel the silk dresses of the women and witness the threadbare clothing of Captain Brown. We smell the fresh roses and breathe in the frigid air as the townspeople commune with each other in a variety of settings.
The pace is slow enough where they truly get to know each other and accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Their visits often last weeks if they are visiting from another town. They have real face time.
Today, we have allowed our little screens to dominate our existences and we are missing out on a large part of simply being human. Talking and listening to one another are still vital to our wholeness. It reminds me of Charlie Puth’s song, “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” Think about it!
Lynn M. May 18, 2019