The other day I grabbed my phone to call one of my very best friends. It was, I don’t know, maybe 7pm? There was a chance she was home, but she’s been pulling insane hours at the office, so probably not.
I grabbed the phone, pulled up her cell number, and then stopped.
…maybe I should just text her that I need to talk to her and she can call me? Because if I leave a message she’s probably not going to check it because nobody checks messages anymore, so that would be a waste. I could text her the whole message, but it would probably be longer than just one message and if she sees part one of the text without part two she’ll be really confused. Plus am I really going to invite her to dinner at my parents’ house via text? Seems rude…or lame…or both.
…I guess I’ll just call her, and if she’s around we’ll talk, but if she’s not I’ll just hang up and she’ll see that I called, and she’ll call me back, and we’ll have a conversation. But, shit, I have to help Mom finish dinner, and then we have to eat dinner, so I don’t really have time to place or make this call right now or later…
15 minutes later, I sent an email.
The ridiculousness of the situation didn’t dawn on me until I was going through old blog postings from last year.
Confession: when I have absolutely no idea what to write I go to the exact same date one year prior, see what I was thinking, doing, worrying about, and take it from there. This morning was one of those mornings, not but because I had absolutely no idea what to write, but because if I write another post about either the fact that I’m moving to LA or how we as 20-something are feeling at our given age you and I are going to lose it. Fair?
So, very sadly, last year on almost this exact date, Senator Ted Kennedy passed away. I remember it like it was not one full year ago, and I remember exactly what I wrote on the unfortunate occasion.
Ted Kennedy’s Telephone
It was a piece about the fact that Ted Kennedy wasn’t afraid to use the telephone. In fact, you could say his use of the telephone was a critical part of his governing style. He called so you knew him – his voice, the tenor of his different moods, the fact that he cared. I suspect it was 75% the fact that Ted Kennedy didn’t grow up with e-mail (or text message, for that matter)
and 25% the fact that he knew the power of a personal connection.
We don’t. Well, I have moments were I absolutely don’t. Case in point, see above.
We have become awkward with the phone. We feel weird calling people. We think they think it’s weird when we call. We text things that should be handled with a polite, 3-minute convo. We email things that really require a more detailed conversation.
I’m as guilty as the next person.
But I think what we’ve become conditioned to forget in this modernization of communication systems is that communication isn’t all about efficiency – it’s about communication. What you gain from calling your friend to invite her to dinner at your house isn’t just a confirmation on whether or not she’ll attend. It’s the sound of appreciation in her voice for the invite, excitement in your own mind based on the excitement in her voice, a quick chat about how you’re feeling about the whole dinner event, a quick chat about her date, and an undefinable moment in a friendship where two people re-realize that they are lucky to have each other.
All that from a 5-minute phone call?
Yes. Absolutely. If not more.
And, in my case, an important lesson to be reminded of am I’m moving 3K miles from most of the immediate people in my life as I embark on a 20-something adventure.
Sorry. That was unavoidable.