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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Quiet Please

Will you be able to relate to your teenage child in 10 years?  Can you understand and socialize with twenty somethings in the work place?  Has technology and social media killed the conversation star?

My 11 year old daughter uses text messaging, and Instagram.  There are rumors she is “dating” a boy in her school.  Oh dating in 6th grade…  is there anything more adorable?

My guess is they have spoken, you know, with their voices, only a handful of times.  I cannot envision a World in which she would lock herself in a room and talk on the phone for hours.  I can remember vividly hanging on the phone getting to know a girl.  Who can remember the content?  Probably nonsense for the most part.  But there were real topics mixed in there.  Sometimes it was counseling.  Sometimes you both helped each other navigate your way through adolescence.  There were laughs.  There were tears.

Emoji’s and cryptic texts have replaced phone calls and face to face dialogues.  You can’t capture a sigh through a text.  You can’t hear the pain, or longing of a voice.  There is no subtlety, no nuance.   You think debate club was a skilled group 20-30 years ago.  What about today?  Can you get a kid to look you in the eyes? 

The other night I misread the caller id and told her she missed a friends’ phone call.  There were a few issues.  One, who calls our home phone??  Why do I still own a home phone?  Oh, right, my carrier informed me it would be MORE expensive monthly if I dropped it.  “My bundle package is tied into it.”  What kind of life is this?  Could it really be more expensive to NOT have something??   If true, and I continue to abide by it, does that make me America’s biggest fool?  Seems like a lot of work.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, the phone call.  We fought a bit, and she ultimately relented and phoned her back.  Turns out I read the name incorrectly and her friend did not call.  When that awkward couple of seconds passed so too did the phone call. 


“You called?”

“I didn’t call.”

“Oh, sorry.” 

Click.  That was it.  I don’t think they even said each others names.  Or laughed.  More importantly I do not think they knew how to talk on the phone. Don’t get me wrong.  They are able to talk.  But it’s how they are talking that makes me wonder.  What is being said in person has more power than what’s read smart phones or computer monitors.  Communication is weighted, and the scales are not balanced.

The inability to communicate is a social problem as these tweens age.  Because judging by how they behave at concerts things look pretty bleak.  The past few weekend I was able to attend some concerts in NYC.  They were both weekend shows with a younger crowd.  Without sounding like the crotchety hipster, oh who am I kidding, allow me to be the aging hipster.  At both shows we were forced to move all over the venue to avoid loud and incessant chatter.  Imagine a tiny club and a full set of blaring Marshall stacks.  Now picture not being able to hear the music.  Because that is how it is anymore.  Is this the only time these kids talk to one another?  It’s cool to need a little liquid courage.  But if you don’t have courage outside the bar, who needs you?

Oh, and show a little respect.  People in the audience are there to hear/see the show.  If I wanted to watch awkward, clumsy courtships I could binge watch My So Called Life or a good John Hughes film.  There are a thousand bars in NYC- take your talk there.

Or will that be too quiet?  Too intimate? 

Scary right?  Who wants to talk to someone? 

Well, I do.  But only if it isn’t at my concert.  There are countless social mores in this crazy World of ours.  Many of them are under attack.  IDK   WTH?  TTYL

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