Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't Call, Don't Write

I used to be a consistent correspondent with a number of people; I wrote my dad every week or two when I was a young man (and probably only half of the time requesting money); and until maybe a decade or so ago, I had half a dozen pen pals with whom I traded letters pretty regularly. I’ve never been a big fan of the telephone, but I did always phone home on Sunday mornings, and I used to be a pretty good drunk-dialer (the sappy kind, not the mean kind) when I was in my cups.

Nowadays, though, I’ve pretty much given up both those practices; I can’t even remember the last time I wrote a personalized missive to anyone and as for calling people, the fact that my cheap portable phone only works for about three minutes until the battery starts dying probably says all you need to know about my habits on the blower.

I’m sure a great deal is lost here, but I seem unmotivated to behave any differently. At the very least, my longtime aspiration to be remembered as a man of letters is probably off the table. At worst, my chances of cadging room and board off of far-flung friends I used to stay in touch with, is totally shot.

It should be easy enough to just pick up the phone and call people, but it’s hard for me to relate to people if I can’t see them in the flesh; I depend on the subtle non-verbal clues, like when my kid raises her middle finger at me and sneers.

I’m kind of jealous of all those people I see in their cars talking on their cell phones; I used to wonder who the hell they were talking to, but now it’s obvious: they’re all having conversations with each other, one automobile to the next.

So maybe I don’t need inspiration to be more communicative; maybe I just need another car.


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