I’m from the old school. Wait – don’t touch that dial. Oops! See what I mean? I am sitting here and suddenly I had this yearning to hear your voice on the phone. OK, not really. But I do miss talking to friends. You say, about what? Well, there was a time when that never was a problem.

Today the spontaneous telephone chat, more often than not, goes like this: Hello. Hi, how are you? I am fine. So – what do you want? Well, nothing actually – just to talk. About what? Wait – since when did I need to submit an agenda before we could have a friendly conversation? You mean, you don’t have some specific reason for calling? No. I don’t have one of those. I just wanted to hear your voice and see how you are and perhaps you might have some curiosity about me and we could have a kind of sharing thing, if you know what I mean. And then there is this uncomfortably long silence.

Where, in our social maturation, did we loose our appreciation for a casual, random, unrehearsed, meandering and often surprising conversation, the chief characteristic of which is discovery?

Someone says, well, there is FaceBook. (28.05 – down 0.76 so far today) After I shockingly catch my breath, I reply: Are you listening? I am talking about talking, as with our vocal cords. I’d say about 10% of what’s on FaceBook is enjoyable and actually worth while, and the rest is pure JUNK or SPAM. I do enjoy the contact I have with you there, but it does not replace real conversation.

No! I do not want my phone to ring right now with you wanting to chat. Well, OK, if you want to call I’d love to hear from you. But give me time to finish this.

I have decided that along with my arthritis and persistent belly fat, my attitude toward communication is a piece of aging that is simply unavoidable. I am of the old school. I never thought I’d admit that but the time has come. It’s enough to say that I grew up in an atmosphere of conversation. People didn’t seem to be afraid of it. Anymore, there just doesn’t seem to be time for it. The way we have defined our lives leaves little doubt of that. There is a time for everything. Make an appointment.

It’s enough to say that I lament the passing of the art of conversation for conversation’s sake, and the failure to make time for it. Imagine what we might discover?

But perhaps we’ll meet in the beer aisle at Shaw’s. Maybe in one of those tall pathways at Bow Street Market. It could be the library or a doctor’s office. Don’t worry – I won’t ask why you are there. I know there won’t be that much time, but maybe we could possibly get past “Hello”. You know – just to see how it feels. Barring one of these happy events, you can call me between 8 and 8:15 PM tonight. I’ll need to be done by 8:30, however. There is this thing on TV.

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