Phones and Other Connections

When did talking to someone on the phone become something that people did while doing something else?

I have a friend who calls me only while she is walking. I have another friend who calls me only when driving. I just talked to someone who put me on the speaker so she could make her bed while we chatted. I know several people who play computer games while on the phone. In other words, no one really talks to anyone anymore. They justphone seem to be filling in what might otherwise be almost-empty time.

I no longer feel slighted by this disregard as I once did, but I am egotistical enough to want people to want to talk to me, to want them to want to connect on a more personal level rather than using me to keep from being boring by mundane activities. (Or — perish the thought!! Could they be doing those other things to keep from being bored by me?)

I do realize time is at a premium in this insanely busy world, that sometimes people can only converse during barely-used moments, but still, it would be nice to feel as if what I have to say — or what people have to say to me — is important enough to experience unaccompanied by the huffs and puffs of the walkers, by muttered comments to other drivers, by computer beeps and dings.

We’ve come a long way from the days of being tethered to stationary phones, but still, it seems as if we’ve gone too far. Just because we can drive and talk on the phone, or walk and talk on the phone, play games or do housework and talk on the phone, it doesn’t mean that we should.

Or maybe I’m being too unrealistic and should be grateful for any moment of another person’s attention, no matter how divided.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

3 Responses to “Phones and Other Connections”

  1. smilingtoad Says:

    Excellent post with much to ponder. I don’t get to enjoy the luxury of talking to people with even divided attention anymore. They insist on texting, and I don’t text, unless it is through a letter through the mail, which is so much more fun than battling with a tiny section of bleeping numbers. When I do get to have a conversation with someone on the phone, it is a rare treat for me. I will call someone when I am out in the middle of a hike, having found a piece of driftwood or an old log to perch upon, and I’ll share the moment with them. It’s wonderful. But rare, as so often people are just too busy for a little twenty-minute chat with a silly old toad like me. 😉 Superb write. Jubilant cheers to you,

    smiling toad

  2. Paula Kaye Says:

    Even worse is when you are talking to someone on the phone and you hear the toilet flush. Come on people. There has to be some dignity left. Good post Pat!

  3. 22pamela Says:

    While guilty as charged…I couldn’t agree more.

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