A few years ago when Ken and I first got together we went to visit my parents, in Maine, as a surprise to them. They thought that I was in Florida. We took a motel room around the corner from their apartment. Ken and I were sitting on a bench in front of the motel and I saw Mom’s car coming around the corner. I was trying to hide behind Ken but it was too late. We found out later that Mom had seen us ---- but not recognized us.
What my Mom saw was a couple sitting on a bench “talking”. She told my Dad, “Look, you know they’re not married, they’re talking”. My parents, married for 50 years, were so engrossed in the fact that Ken and I were talking they didn’t even realize it was their own daughter they were commenting about.
I imagine it is safe to say that right now we have more tools to communicate with than any other time in history. Maybe the key word here is “tools”. We have the tools but what kind of “communicating” are we really doing?
We e-mail, we text message, call on the cell phone, house phone etc, but do we really do much talking face to face. We leave each other quick little messages or instructions as we rush from one thing to another. We are even providing our children with cell phones. For what? Oh, right, so we can reach them or them us in an emergency. (That was my brother’s thought before he got the $200+ phone bill!)
Then when each person arrives home at night, usually at different times, what happens? Let’s see, probably someone is glued to the TV, another one to a computer and one or two are probably on the phones! Somewhere in there someone makes dinner or has brought in take-out. Do you eat at the same time? Do you talk at all together?
With all this communicating going on, how come no one is talking with the ones that count the most in our lives? We don’t have time is the excuse often heard. Time? We have time to watch TV, time to play on the computer, time to talk on the phones, time to talk in “chat” rooms, but we don’t have time to really communicate with the ones we live with! What is happening here?
“Chat rooms” those are interesting places. When I want to get away from the real world I usually pick up a book but it seems there is a new option out there. You can get into a “chat room” and be who ever you want to be. You don’t have to be the Dad, with the kid who only hears the father’s voice when being reprimanded (if he has the time then), you don’t have to be the Mom who works and comes home to work some more. Or you can complain about how unjust your parents are and can’t wait to be away from them.
Is it any wonder there have been so many people get involved with someone else from meeting in a “chat room”. People will give more attention and courtesy to a perfect stranger than to their own family members. That is another subject altogether, maybe some other day.
I know all these tools of communication that have been invented have been put to some remarkable uses. That is a good thing. However aren’t we abusing them just a bit? So, on your death bed are you going to be wanting the cell phone or wanting someone to check your e-mail for you or will you be wanting your loved ones by your side?
That just reminded me of a medium, John Edwards, who ends each of his meetings with he hopes that we will communicate, appreciate and validate our loved ones so a medium like himself won’t have to do it for us later.
There is no better time than today to start if any of this hits home for you and I don’t know if this means anything but Ken and I are still talking.