For instance, when we are out and about and a brilliant idea comes to mind, all we have to do is tell Siri to send us an email with the specifics. And if the need comes to connect with a friend, our computers and iPads are at the ready for instant messaging or email contact.
Our lives have been modernized, simplified, and accelerated. So much so that recently, while in my car. I wanted to send myself an email as a reminder of an important task I had forgotten to accomplish. However, my iPhone was not with me – a very unusual occurrence. Okay, no problem, I realized I could call my home phone and leave myself a voice message. Ooops. Not possible, as my car phone required my cell phone to generate that phone call.
I faced the dismaying prospect that my brain would not retain the thought I had and, with no way to lift it from the grey matter and post it in a more permanent spot, my brilliant idea would drift into the Netherlands never to be heard from again.
It was only pure luck that caused me to remember something called paper and pen. OMG – I could write that brilliant idea in the tiny notebook I’d stashed in the car’s glove box. And so, pulling into a handy parking lot, I was able to transfer my splendid thoughts into written words to save for posterity. Or at least as long as I need to keep it until I’d accomplished the task.
And on the subject of written words: I had somehow remembered how to construct them in cursive lettering rather than in printing. Something, I reminded myself, I should continue to practice so I might teach my grandchildren one day. They probably have no idea what script is. I suspect they can’t write it nor can they read it.
It was several days after my note pad experience that I had wanted to make plans with a friend. I’d texted and emailed her to no avail. She just didn’t respond. Bummer. How the heck could I ask her to join me for a walk and lunch if she was not going to answer my electronic requests? Ah. It suddenly came to me – I could use the phone and call her. I dialed, her phone rang, she answered and our date was made. Easy. And without several dozen emails or texts back and forth between us to clinch the day, time and place of our date.
We find ourselves in an era when electronics are enhancing our lives and offer great strides forward in our abilities to communicate. I Skyped with my friend in Thailand yesterday. And last week did the same with a colleague in Indonesia. Friends around the world can share photos of their families and I can save those pictures in my computer to either print at home or forward to an online photo printing service.
But let us not overlook the importance of the written word or the personal touch of a phone call. Let us not get so caught up in the throes of these electronic marvels that we forsake the power of face-to-face communication.
Yesterday I relaxed in a garden with two friends as we chatted. There were no cellphones ringing, i-Pads dinging with someone’s instant message, or computers vying for our attention. We just sat. And talked. And enjoyed each other and the peace of being outside on a particularly beautiful summer day.
And now I shall do the same as I leave this computer and listen to the birds that are outside calling for my company outside.
Even an up-to-date 21st century woman can find time for that.
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