Monday, November 1, 2010
Sunday’s New York Times had a piece called “Funeral For a Friend” about the lost art of telephone calls in the age of cell phones, texts, emails and Facebook. I could relate to the article all too well, as I know the quality of my phone calls has deteriorated dramatically. Originally this was the case due to the fact that I had little free time and was on the phone a lot for work, but I know that I have been greatly affected by the change in communication techniques and have had to have friends remind me of the delicious possibilities a great call affords.
One place where I find the phone to be immensely helpful is with dating. I recognized early in the online dating game that the sound of a man’s voice told me a lot, that it was a part of his being and thus was something to be attracted to – or not! And if a man could not carry on a conversation over the phone, I learned he likely was poor at carrying on one in person, and thus I added a preliminary call to my screening process.
But even more than that is the significance of staying in touch. While I lead a pretty busy life, I still speak to the people closest to me often, sometimes nearly every day. That sound of their voices tells me so much more than an email does, tells me if they are up or down, sick or well, crazed or on an even keel. When they don’t hear from me, they know something is up.
A voice serves as an oral touch, whether a caress , a helping hand, or a slap. If old telephone rituals are akin to a novel, today’s are more often like Morse code, and frequently are taking place along with another task. Maybe it’s not the telephone part that we have lost, but rather that wonderful art of conversation.