“Uh, okay, as you wish,” was my delayed response—though I secretly wanted to teleport myself to them, bonk their cranium with the telephone, and not leave their face until we’d solved the matter.
is a failure to communicate. And to collaborate, create, and connect. Call me crazy, but I miss the days when life happened in real time, face to face. Now, a relentless chore we all face is simply dealing with our inboxes. Our texts. And our calendroids.
How did THEY ever survive when, as in my grandparents’ time, food was planted and canned and cooked for every meal? When communication was by visiting your neighbors or going to town (until that new-fangled “party line” arrived)? When entertainment was swapping stories in the sitting room (before radio wowed the masses)?
If “send me an email” really means, “Leave me alone. I’m busy with my screen right now.”
If “kids these days” will know how to endure decades of marriage that (to work) require ongoing communication, compromise, and commitment?
If “kids these days” are getting short-shrifted when they sit around texting, even when gathered together; where’s the mischief and laughter in that?
If texting as a now-dominant form of communication comes close to conveying the detail, nuance, and emotion that can make even little moments (if I may) amazing?
If online teaching can match the rigors and surprises of a convivial classroom experience? (Two friends have started new gigs in this growing field, whereas I love the challenge and exhilaration of teaching a classroom full of living, babbling millennials).
Fortunately, both of my emails did get replies. The matters got resolved. Life goes on.
But this reluctant screen-stronaut longs for living that happens in real time, and in your face—like these Italian gentlemen enjoying la dolce vita. It’s raining and they’re late for lunch. But they might blow smoke in each other’s face until happy hour, and then head the bar to continue the conversation with a few dozen amici.
To them, I lean in, clink our glasses loudly, and shout, “Salute’!” To those who keep saying send me an email/text me/check your inbox, I retort, “Vada via!”*
* Italian for “Go away.”