Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hello...can you hear me?

Growing up in my house there was a piece of hardware hanging on the kitchen wall called the telephone. It was quite important to us. It would make a ringing sound when people wanted to find out how your day was, what you had been up to, and when they might see you again. I used to stretch the cord that hung from this device all the way from the kitchen, down the hall and into the bathroom for secret conversations! Or, I'd lock myself in my parent's bedroom since I wasn't allowed to have one of these in my room until I was in college.

When I talked to my girlfriends it usually went something like this,

"So, did you finish the English homework?"
"What was she thinking wearing white heels in February?"
"Didn't he look so cute??? I will marry him some day."
"OK, I have to get off because my mother is waiting for my brother to call to get picked up."

There were busy signals, rotary dialing and no caller ID. You never knew who was going to be on the other end. That was the excitement. And this is how we communicated...for hours...and hours...and no one ever said, 'Well, I'll let you go. I know you're busy" after 10 mins of talking. You were on the phone. You were supposed to talk and listen and ignore the world around you.

Fascinating, isn't it? There's one or two of these telephones in my house now. But they don't make much noise. They ring with the occasional "unknown caller", non-profit solicitation, or family call to check-in.

I'm sure as the children get older it might get more use. For now, it seems the clicking of the keyboard has taken over the ringing of the phone. Twitter. Facebook. Email. Texting. IM. Blogs. I like the outbound aspect of these channels mainly because of the amount of time I spend multi-tasking between conversations. With the click of a button I can switch between this conversation, the one inbound to my email, and the tweet dropping across the screen.

But thinking back on it, I sure did enjoy the ringing of the phone. The absolute knowing when someone was being sarcastic, or laughing or crying. There was no reading between the lines because there were no lines - just voices. Funny how the cell phone has made it more convenient to make a call, yet I use mine for everything but phone calls.

If you get a chance, drop me a line. I'd love to hear from you.

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