Does it ever occur to you that in a day and age when there are more modes of communication than ever before that we as a society communicate less than ever before?
When I call a business, it rings and rings, then is answered by an automated message which says they are too busy to answer my call. Then I get options, such as hold indefinitely, which often winds up with either my hanging up or them disconnecting me. Or, I am asked to call back when they are less busy; the funny thing with this is, I can call 311 at 3 a.m., and still receive the same message that they are receiving higher than normal calls, and I should call back at a time when it is less likely to be so busy. Really?
And how often have you been put on hold, only to then hear a dial tone? And that after waiting for over ten minutes in the first place? Not to mention the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing, so they must continually transfer the call to someone else who doesn’t have a clue as to what’s going on or how to help you.
Have you ever been in a restaurant where you see two people on a date, but one is on their cell phone the whole time? But don’t blame cell phones; years ago I was at someone’s apt. and he had a crush on me, so this was his chance to get to know me, maybe get a little closer, when his phone rang and he not only answered it, but chatted for over ten minutes before then going to his bedroom to talk more privately. I was a mope, who did like him, but after yet another 15 minutes with no indication he was returning any time soon, I left. About an hour later, he came knocking on my door (as we lived down the hall from each other) and apologized. Well, sorry, Charlie, the boat has left the harbour and you are no longer a passenger.
I walk my dogs and pass numerous people whom I’d like to say hello to, just as a friendly gesture, but of course, most don ear buds so my greeting would fall on deaf ears, as they are either on a phone call or listening to very loud music. Most times, they are looking straight ahead, thus ensuring nobody tries to initiate any kind of communication.
Then there’s call waiting, where my call must be put on hold so the other person can find out who else they could be speaking with, who might be more interesting than I. Of course, I understand when the person with whom I’m speaking is expecting a call, as I’ve had to put people on hold, but I don’t keep them there for extended periods of time. If it’s something important and will take time, I go back to the first person and explain and ask if I may call them back. That way they’re not waiting and waiting. On the other side of the coin, I’ve told people I’d just be a few seconds, and am true to my word only to return to said person to find they’ve hung up. Impatient much are we?
Then there’s the internet which seems to have taken over common sense altogether. We used to get actual invitations in the mail (that’s right, the word is invitation, as the word invite is a verb and invitation is a noun, so please don’t be so lazy as to drop the mere two extra syllables.) We actually received an invitation to a wedding, and a thank-you, also via e-mail. HOW RUDE!!! Maybe this is the wave of the future, but it’s a future of which I want no part. The only reason I can see for sending Christmas/birthday, etc. types of cards via e-mail is if the people to whom these are being sent are not close to you, and/or you don’t have their address.
In conclusion, I wonder if all the cell phones were suddenly gone, and the call waiting and the internet, if we might not just begin to again communicate in earnest with one another, you know, maybe even face-to-face. Even Skype, is at least that is face-to-face and great for instances where people are distant, this is a better way of communicate. I feel this is especially great when it comes to world leaders who wish to discuss climate change and pollution, but do so by taking a car to the airport, a plane to the city where the talks will take place, a car from the airport, and the reverse after all the blustering is done. Isn’t that a little like serving booze at an AA meeting or junk food at a diet club meeting?
I don’t know what this world is coming to, but it seems we keep taking one step forward and two steps back; as J.B. Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful wrote, it’s a crazy dance.