Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thinking about communicating.

I had some good conversation with John Shirley, tonight. This was meatspace conversation, rather than those silly texts that we exchange or chats by phone. I've always liked that guy, but lately we've been pretty damned tight. Not a bad friend to have, that one. I've been proud to call him a friend for some time, now. If you follow his writings at Wandering Thoughts, then you know his life since returning from Afghanistan. If not, then I would submit that it's worth reading him to know him.

John said the other day that he looks at my dad as a father figure, and I felt no jealousy. Just understanding. His father passed on a few years ago, and I really would rather not have to try to think of what pain that passing cost him. I'm pleased to think of John like a brother. I have a brother, and love the man dearly. But my brother and I are victims of age disparity, and we have very different interests. He's a better man than most, and I have nothing but pleasure when we speak. It's just that, due to our different interests, we don't speak a whole lot.

On speaking: isn't this an odd time? I call my pals across the hundreds of miles, and it costs.... nothing. I could talk to John via phone in Georgia, and my plan has it paid for. I have spoken to Tamara, Claire, Cranky Professor, LawDog, Peter, Marko, Ambulance Driver, Don Gwinn, Roberta X (briefly), and Stingray (of the Atomic Nerds), all of whom live a hundred miles or more away from me, without spending an extra dime. My house phone gives me free long distance, and my cell phone, with 1400 minutes a month, is free long distance. Shoot, calling AT&T, I don't even use those minutes. Remember when the beauty of email was that you could stay in touch without costly long distance charges? Now, that's not an issue. Yet we text and email regularly. It's the modern equivalent of letter writing, I think. Paper mail may yet go the way of paper newspapers. (And make no mistake; their days are numbered.) I remember having to beg permission to talk to my high school girlfriend, who lived 8 miles north of me; it was long distance. I remember my best friend's father being furious when my best friend and I talked for an hour, our freshman year in college; "For the price of that phone call, you could have gotten a round-trip bus ticket from A&M to UT to visit!" He had griped to my buddy.

We can now just call who we want, and have good conversations with good people. Our world isn't limited to bogus "localities,' as defined by the phone companies.

You. Reader: do me a favor. Call someone whom you've either never physically met, or who matters to you, and just chat for a minute or twenty. It may be the most important conversation of your week. Or your life.

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10 Comments:

At Saturday, July 25, 2009 7:05:00 AM, Blogger Mongo said...

Sometimes we want to call people... to connect with them, and it just cannot happen.

But, good point, and well taken.

 
At Saturday, July 25, 2009 10:49:00 AM, Blogger charlotte g said...

Did so this week. Then wrote about it. She lives in Ohio. We are determined to meet face to face "one of these days." I think about the brave folks who moved west, packing up their few belongings, hugging their loved ones and setting out, never to communicate again. I remember Faye Foote talking about the letter she got from her husband in WWII when, after a terrifying few months, she finally got a heavily censored letter where he mentioned walking to the window (still had his legs) resting his arms on the sill (still had his arms) and looking out (still had his eyes). Then I think about the almost daily blogs John managed from Afganistan. It is really a great thing.

 
At Saturday, July 25, 2009 8:11:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Good points Matt... I do talk on the phone with friends regularaly, because I'd rather communicate that way (besides, I spend WAY too much time on the computer at work).

 
At Tuesday, July 28, 2009 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Don said...

I had a girlfriend in Champaign when I was a kid, and it was about the same amount of begging to make phone calls as it was to borrow the car and go see her two hours away. Incidentally, we're talking about 1996 here. It really, truly wasn't that long ago.

I don't know what happened, exactly, but I think the less involved I am in the forums where I met people like you and Tamara and John, the closer I am to each of you. I don't know, but I'm glad we're friends. I don't like giant enemies.

 
At Tuesday, July 28, 2009 6:22:00 PM, Blogger staghounds said...

Every deadbeat fourteen year old school flunkout in every American housing project has health, communication, and information choices that would have astounded Queen Victoria one very long lifetime ago.

I well remember when my great extravagance was $100 a month long distance, and that was when Reagan was still president.

And don't disregard Skype for hours of pointless international gabble.

 
At Tuesday, July 28, 2009 11:36:00 PM, Blogger Jerry in Indiana said...

Hi Matt,
Just popped in here from Tam's site. It is pretty amazing that we can communicate like we do. We have a morning meeting everyday with folks in Corpus Christi, Houston, Lake Charles, and me in Indiana. It's just like being there in person.

Great post!

 
At Tuesday, July 28, 2009 11:40:00 PM, Blogger J.R.Shirley said...

I don't really have good words, for once, man. But I appreciate the open arms of the family more than I can say.

John

 
At Wednesday, July 29, 2009 7:30:00 AM, Anonymous Dick said...

Matt,
Skype does wonders in this area. When my son was in China, I was not only able to talk for free from North Texas but to see his smiling face at the same time. Not exactly Starship Enterprise quality but "I'm doing fine" is a lot easier to buy when you can them when they say it. I sure that by the time your girls do something like that, you can have chips implanted. Best i can do is gave him a talk and his own gov't. model but since my son's the size of you or Johhny, I suspect the talk was only to make me feel better. Take Care - RJ

 
At Thursday, July 30, 2009 9:23:00 AM, Blogger GUYK said...

Yep..my land line is via my cabel and no long distance charge no time and I can gab all I want. And with e-mail, blogs, facebook, messengers..damn! Stay in touch all the time with anybody we want to...

But ya know? There is something tobe said about the days of yon when I could take sweetthing and head for the bush and no one could find me...stay a month and come home and read the news to see if I had missed much...and ya know? didn't.

 
At Saturday, August 01, 2009 6:12:00 AM, Blogger Brigid said...

I know. When things are bad I can just call up Tam and Bobbie and they'll just listen to me go on and on and on, not getting a word in edgewise, and when I'm done they'll say the magic words. "Want to do lunch?". Sometimes just getting it out helps. Friends are sounding boards, they're posts found in solitary places on which we can lean. Whether we talk on the phone, through the interweb or other means the words are the smoke of connection.

 

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