Thursday, September 18, 2008

Amen! "The Less Said"

From USA Today columnist Craig Wilson:

I was walking down the street the other day and started counting the number of people coming toward me who were talking on cellphones.

It got up to 10 before one sad sack came along who was walking with only his thoughts. But 10 in a row were on phones. Two of them were walking next to each other, so I assumed they were together. Maybe they were even talking to each other. Who knows?

All I know is there's too much communicating going on these days.

If communication were such a good thing, wouldn't the world be in a better state? Isn't communication supposed to translate into understanding? At least the exchange of useful information?

A friend confessed the other day that she talks to her son who is away at college five or six times a day. At least I think she said five or six times a day. I could hardly hear her over the roar of her helicopter.

Does she call to wake him up? Do they talk after every class? Does he call when he's heading to lunch? Does she call after lunch and ask what he had for lunch? Maybe he calls during lunch to ask what he should have for lunch. Who knows?

All I know is it's too much information.

What's the point of being away at college if your parents know everything that's going on? That used to be the whole point, didn't it? Your parents didn't have a clue what was happening on campus. I think even they liked it that way. The less known, the better.

When I was in college, I used to communicate with my folks once a week. It was always on Sunday night, and it was always after 6 or 7 when the rates went down.

I remember because there was always a line at the phone booth on my dorm floor that night. It got a little funky in there behind those glass doors after the seventh or eighth guy made his call home, but that's the way the world worked. Lots of things were funky back then.

I would always call collect, my parents would always accept, and then we would talk about the important issues of the day. The weather mainly.

Yes, it snowed again. Yes, we're expecting more snow tonight.

I asked after the dog. I'd tell them if I'd snagged a ride home for Thanksgiving. I might have mentioned a class now and then, but I doubt it. I don't ever remember telling them what was really going on.

The whole conversation lasted less than 10 minutes, nothing much was said, everyone hung up happy, and we repeated the whole process a week later.

In short, communication the way it should be.

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