I can remember many nights as a teenager spent on the phone for hours talking to my friends about the day's events. I can also remember fighting tooth and nail with my brother who wanted to do the exact same thing with his girlfriend. Ahhh....the memories of childhood.
And then came the internet. My first utilization of the internet was a handful of websites and mIRC. When we found chat rooms that included friends from school, my brother and I then fought over the phone line for a completely different reason. (I still have nightmares about that screeching sound of connecting to the internet. *cringe* ) We no longer wanted to talk to a friend for hours; we wanted to talk to several friends for any given amount of time. Not everything about mIRC was easy, but it was simple enough that I, the surface-only computer-user, could find my way around. It sounds like a dinosaur now, but it was pretty exciting at the time. :)
Fast-forward to the present, and I find myself wondering what happened to conversation. The answer is right at our fingertips; it has been replaced with texting, instant messaging, and email. Kids no longer talk on the way to school or school functions. Instead, they insert their ear buds and that's the last you hear until the trip is over. And the way language has changed does not make me thankful for this change. Most adjectives are being replaced with four-letter words that I am still offended by as an adult. Even families rarely have conversation, as dinner together around the table is being replaced with fast-food in the car and dinner in front of their current favorite reality show.
The question is WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? As I see Maya Jo growing up, it makes me scared to think that one day we might not be able to talk about the daily happenings of her life as we do now. We still have dinner together every night around the table, she still answers our questions about her day, but I can't help but wonder how much longer it will last. (I vividly remember the anti-social behavior of my teenage days. Blech.)
So, we canceled our television, we ignore all calls during meals, and we fight the urge to turn on music every time we are in the car. Some of my favorite conversations with my husband have been during random road trips. I'm trying earnestly to find other ways to keep conversation alive, but as I look around the world around me, I can't tell who is winning the struggle. I'm still holding onto the hope that it's me.