Ever been in a public place where lots of people but not much chatter?
Everyone face down but not praying. Eyes opened but lowered. Nose glowing as the bright spot in the eerie screen reflection of a smart phone. Maybe nursing a lap top, iPad to engage the back and forth. To ping pong a short string of communication created with competing thumbs. With someone other than who is across the table or in the booth with them.
Distractions, hobbies, diversions.
What we fill our days with, attach importance to has changed. Less chores around the Maine farm. And more time to socialize on line. Untethered. With the device carried everywhere we go. To stay connected. But in the simplest terms of communication. Maybe an image attached, link to a video to round out the information sharing. But pretty quickly created. Then hitting send to whisk off into thin air as the new form of carrier pigeon.
And with busy busy lives but less dependent on food, shelter, safety worries, maybe texting, not being face to face matters more and more.
Just like the volume letter writing, of phone calls has dropped off for many. Texting is simple, easy, lazy. Not wanting the same room conversation that could be uncomfortable, squirm causing, awkward depending on the topic being addressed. Others kept at arms length with a hand held texting device.
These days, instead of a few close friends that were usually family, neighbors who pitched in, helped out, the audience to rub shoulders with has exploded. A more traveled, wider expanse of “others” to be aware of as the globe gets smaller. People move around more. No longer live and die close to where they grew up. Venturing out. Way out. And reaching back to share what they have learned is a tad egocentric. If viewed as come on, top this people.
Even when we are with someone if a stream of text messages drift in and out, is there an urgency to respond to the vibration?
Clutch your hip. Not wanting to be rude or make them wait? But you are with someone. Oh yeah. Multi tasking happens with conversations, not just the to do list items check off. I get it. But what if it’s one of the kids hurt? Better check.
Hunt and peck tapped back strings of abbreviations, slang, short hand in today’s language to keep the simple communication, loose connection going. To reach out and touch someone in the most basic limited written text form. Until we can do the real thing. But been reminded “remember people don’t talk so much any more if they are cool and they only text”. Okay.
New Year’s resolution to text less.
Have more face to face conversations. So you can see facial expressions. Hear the tone, or sense the sarcasm or humorous reaction with body movements. To get the effect of pauses. See and hear the mental wheels of the other end of the conversation turning, meshing, grinding. That texting with chain saw efficiency cuts through. Totally eliminates.
Texts taken out of context. No body language, emotion, color to add to the information transfer when you and I are not on the same porch swing together. Or rocking, sipping tea and sampling a fresh home made pumpkin date filled cookie. In a pair of rockers. Chairs in a farm house kitchen near a wood cook stove I miss most from growing up. Now that parents are both gone.
The number of text messages sent monthly in the U.S. exploded from 14 billion in 2000 to 188 billion in 2010. That’s according to a Pew Institute survey. Don’t texts erode the need to spend time together, to start up the talking, listening two step? With undivided attention to the other? Or has that become a luxury? Just no time.
Or is juggling more than one conversation greater fun, providing deeper satisfaction?
So if one lags, gets boring, other more humorous, stimulating ones can take over. Pick it up. Observations from another conversation thread can keep the entertainment going? Do we have need to be entertained or have a burning need to really always know what is going on elsewhere? At this very second. Even when with someone three feet or closer away? Is the person we would rather be with on the other end of the text but the one we are visiting, spending time with fills the void in between those visits?
And how old should you be to have an account, use Facebook?
Maybe communications in a selfish society has become more let me vent. Just listen. The paid fifty five minute type of frustration down loads at a therapists may have helped weed and feed our self centerness. Spread into the tap tap text messages we create like new fresh Maine sticking snow balls. And to let fly.