The world has become so advanced with how we communicate with one another, I think we often forget how to communicate. We text, FB, Tweet, Viber, Instagram and Snapchat our way through the day, interacting with those around us….. We share our lives openly by posting pictures on social media, storing precious pictures of life events on a memory stick and on in cloud libraries. Advanced and high tech would certainly describe our society in a nutshell.
But you know, I think we have forgotten how to sit down with someone and talk face to face , without interruption of a ding, bling, chime or musical melody. It is like we need the distraction of an electronic device in our hand to even engage in a social encounter. Follow me here:
One of the places that I love to meet people is airports. I strike up a convo with any nearby stranger and trade stories of where we are going, what the weather is like or going to be at our destination and on and on. Once on the aircraft, I engage with my seatmate about airports, air jams, the beauty of a sunset from our view…
Leaving on my last flight out of DC, I took my seat in the middle of the airport waiting to board. I looked around to see who I could spend a few minutes with .Suddenly I found myself outnumbered by cell phones, ipads, tablets, kindles and some devices I could not identify. Not one person looked up from their devices to acknowledge my asking “ Is this seat taken? ” After a few minutes of feeling displaced, I went over to the food court only to find tall tables with ipads as the center-piece to place your food order, surf the net while you eat and read your email. I scanned the crowds, looking at the countless number of people, all looking down at the device; lost in their own world, unaware of those around them. But they are all communicating with someone…somewhere. Communicating.
Once onboard the plane, I took the window seat as usual. I love to watch the clouds float gingerly by on a beautiful day. For me, flying is a peaceful event; freeing me from phones, ipads, computers and any other device. my seatmates seemed like they would be interesting conversationalist…one appeared to be Middle Eastern and the other, possibly a Greek National. After a few minutes of ” Hi, how are you? Mind if I scoot my bag under the seat” chat, we are airborne.
Within ten minutes the flight attendant announces: ” Welcome aboard, the Captain has turned the seatbelt sign off, so you may move freely in the cabin and you may now use any FAA approved electronic devices. This flight offers WIFI, so feel free to connect and enjoy the internet for this 6 hour gate to gate flight…….. ”
INTERNET? WIFI?? What happened to the peace and serenity of flying? I looked over at my seatmates to discover they both had successfully connected to the www. of life. Connected….. Connected…. Successfully Connected. Hmmmmmmm.
As I sit at my desk today, I listen to a daughter talking to her mother as they go through an old photo album together. “ Mom, this is you and dad, and me and Bobby. It was taken at the old cabin beside grandmas. Do you remember mom? Without expecting an answer, the daughter moved on. “Look at this picture mom. Remember how we vacationed in Big Bear at the lake? Look at this one mom, it’s you and dad at Lake Arrowhead. Look at Bobby in those red pants! Remember mom? Oh here is one of Bobby and I at the church banquet when I was maybe 8. Look at how handsome dad was in that blue suit. You were so beautiful mom in that dress. Here is a picture of Bobby’s graduation from high school; look you and Bobby, Dad and Bobby…..Look mom, here is your and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary picture…..There is Mr. and Mrs. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. Emerson, Mr. and Mrs. Oglen……
Sitting there eavesdropping on the conversation, I realized that it was THAT generation that was truly connected. Just by listening to the daughter identify the pictures to her mother, I could tell that this was a family that spent time together, loved one another and captured their memories in a worn out photo album.
What will our generation have? Cell phone cloud memories? Facebook images? Will we have any captured moments at all since we are so busy snapchatting , vibing, texting and hanging on social media? We never look up long enough and glance away from the electronics to notice the dawn sunrise, the evening sunset or the people around us. Yet the generations before us were more connected than we will ever be. Their memories may not be digitized, tagged and have a thumbs up logo, but what they do have is an everlasting remembrance to a different time and place. A time of fireside chat radio, face to face family visits and time well spent. I call that successfully connected.