Friday, November 28, 2008

Word Play

Thanksgiving was quieter this year than ever.  The grandchildren were calm and unusually quiet and were ready to eat when the adults sat down to ask the blessing.  Of course, at least one came back to the table to protest that all she really wanted was turkey without all that other “stuff.”  But other than the usual requests and compliments, it was a quiet group that sat at our son and daughter-in-law’s table.

Most unusual was the one phone call that we actually made ourselves in order to include our youngest son and his lady in our day.  That was one of the few times that everyone seemed to be talking at once and laughing about what happens when we feed leftovers to the family dog.  But little conversations eddied around the room and were easily heard by anyone interested.  And wonder of wonder, everyone seemed interested in whatever someone mentioned.

We can be very thankful for the improvements in communications today.  Calling that family member thousands of miles away makes us feel much less alone.  But the ubiquitous cell phone has had an unfortunate side effect that just frosts my flakes.  Some people seemingly want to include everyone within earshot in their conversations.  Oh, they don’t REALLY want to include anyone; they just seem to want everyone to know that the phone call is so important—or that the recipient is so important.  Once in a while I really wonder if someone is on the other end of that call—but PLEASE don’t put the caller on speaker phone to prove it!

New words come along all the time to explain our behaviors.  “Communifaking” covers the desire to appear to be communicating when we really are not.  Now that we have the word, surely we can try to understand the desire—or can we?

The restful quiet that our minds require does not necessarily represent solitude.  The house was quite full of children and adults on Thanksgiving Day.  And we all had reason to be truly thankful for the blessings of health and happiness.  Within the family no one felt the need to seem more important than anyone else.  No one needed to communifake or exaggerate to feel loved or appreciated.  Any play that could take place after that sumptuous and satisfying meal had to involve word play among the adults because we were simply too satiated to do anything physically demanding.

If this nation needs one blessing any more than another, surely being quietly capable of restful listening is one we could seek.  Word play should be an exchange, not a display of disruptive dialogue like communifaking.

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