© Another Day in the Country
I went out to eat the other evening with family at a lovely restaurant. We talked, laughed, played games at the table, and commented on our environment as we sat waiting for food.
The 2-year old at our table, youngest in the group with the sharpest ears, also was tracking his environment.
“Phone ringing,” he said, looking around.
Sure enough, the people at the next table both had their phones out, and one of them was ringing.
“Almost everyone in this place has their phones out—even while they are eating,” my sister said. “Can you believe it?”
We were feeling rather smug about the fact that our group was actually talking to each other, communicating!
All through our meal, as we commented on the yummy food, our little guy would once again add his two bits, “Phone ringing,” and he’d look around to locate the source.
“Phone ringing,” in a restaurant—or even in a car—is a relatively new phenomena.
We used to chuckle every time we got into our old friend Doc’s car and see the very ornate rotary phone bolted on the hump between the front seats.
This car, a big old Continental Cadillac that we had dubbed “the Mafia Mobile” had actually been owned by some shady underworld character, held as evidence in some government warehouse, before it was sold at auction and Dr. Shaw, a flamboyant man himself, bought it.
The phone didn’t work. Sometimes we’d wished that it had, because that car was always running out of gas—it got about eight miles to the gallon.
Little did we think, back then, that phones in a car—in fact phones on every person—would become commonplace.
I love a good conversation, and in spite of “phone ringing” we had ourselves a pleasant evening sharing stories, talking, communicating.
When I got my new smartphone, I thought that perhaps my communication with my family would become easier, quicker, more frequent. It hasn’t really worked out that way.
I may write a text message with actual content to my daughter; but her return comments are often one word to let me know that she got mine, like, “Great!,” “LOL,” or “Funny.”
“That’s not really communicating,” I mumble to myself.
My daughter’s idea of communicating is to call on the phone. When she calls, I can tell she is double-tasking. Often, she’s in the car, between appointments.
“Hi, Mom,” and we chat until she gets to her destination, “I’m here, now. Talk to you later.”
I’m old fashioned. I still like letters if I can’t see you face-to-face. It’s a thrill to see that envelop in the mailbox that is hand-written—especially if the handwriting is familiar.
This last week I got a letter from my grandson—written in cursive. “I’m learning to write in cursive,” it began, “and I actually think it is fun.”
He went on to tell me about a book he was reading and then he said, “What’s happening in Ramona?”
That was the perfect invitation to write back in cursive. I had to slow down, be careful, as I formed the letters.
Usually, my writing is this mixture of cursive and print and all too often, I resort to writing letters on the computer. This time I held steady, using a piece of paper with lines (just like he did) and hoping that he would be able to read what I’d written.
What was happening in Ramona? My news seemed mundane as I told him I had seen my first snowflakes of the season on Friday night, and my chickens were “on strike” and not laying eggs. I waded into the pond to clear out leaves so the fish could breathe and about the new game I was trying to learn to play.
It’s mundane stuff, not very exciting, sorta like when my grandma used to write to us about the weather and we would laugh.
Actually, what she was communicating to us was that she was thinking about us and that she wanted to share her world with us as much as she could when she was at a great distance, and that she loved us. Same with me!
“I am trying to remember to bring the tail of my ‘g’ back up to the line,” I wrote my grandson. “What I’d really like to learn is how to do calligraphy. How about you? I’ve got to run to get this in the mail. Love, Baba.”
And now I’m waiting for another day in the country when he writes back!