E.T., Phone Home. I Mean, Text Me

Gone are the days of rotary telephones and live operators.  Say goodbye to the wall phone with your neighbor on speed-dial #1 and the police on #2, or for that matter, when you actually knew what number to dial for your local fire department.  Kids will never again wrap the cord around their fingers as they talk to their 8th grade crush, and your phone-talking leash will no longer snap less than ten feet from the kitchen wall.

Folks, you can bury your clunky receiver next to the fifteen feet of fiber optic cable connecting you to the wall. 

Get ready to txt ur bff.

I’ve been making a lot of phone calls lately for work and it’s got me thinking.  Do we know how to talk to people anymore?  In an age when convenience is king and you’re more likely to email your grandma than call her at home, have we lost the ability to be cordial?  To be pleasant?  My sister and I text message back and forth constantly, and very rarely do I think, “man, I should really call her”, but really, perhaps I should.  The fact that I get the sweats while I wait to hear if someone actually picks up my work call is a good indication that I need to start having some real live phone conversations. 

C and I don’t have a home phone.  Well, actually right now we do, but it belongs to our landlord, and I’m pretty sure that only she and the U.S. Census Bureau have the number.  We haven’t had our own home phone in years.  There’s no point.  When you can carry your computer, map, radio, calculator, television and cookbook in your back pocket, why in the world would you still have a number solely responsible for receiving telemarketing sales calls?  It would be absurd.

In the same breath however, I do admit that it is a little sad to recognize that we are slowly losing our ability to communicate well with others, like an animal losing it’s ability to hunt as it becomes domesticated.  Without a reason to maintain our skills, they are slowly being dulled and driven away.  I won’t even get into our shortening attention span.  Using the phone to order pizza seems cumbersome when you can just click a few buttons and schedule your delivery online.   Why would you call a technical support employee when you can live-chat and have them connect to your computer remotely and fix it for you?  We are at a real technological intersection right now.

Old fashioned or new - I won’t say whether one communication style is better than the other, or whether I disapprove of your rotary phone or the iPad you just bought, but I will say this.  Text some, call some. But maintain your humanity and do both with every level of kindness and sincerity you can muster.  I promise you, there is a real human on the other end of that number who deserves your respect.

Of course I’m lying.  It’s just these guys.

1 comment:

  1. Again, I am trying to post a comment. FOR YEARS I have bemoaned the fact that it is tooooooooooooo easy NOT to verbally communicate. this is tragic as we will become more and more impersonal...and we are doing so with texting etc...maybe it is my age that is bringing my emotions to the front in this arena....you are right on Michelle...Love, Mom


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