I always bite my finger nails when I see an article in the New York Times magazine that I had plan to write, but did not quite get to in time.
This past Sunday was one of those day. The Times magazine had a short and interesting piece called ” The Overextended Family” on the pros and cons of Skype and other world-shrinking communication technologies that are making our lives quiet a bit different from the ones our grandparents had in telegraph-only times.
While discussing about her difficulties dealing with an on-Skype relationship with her parents wanting follow her grand-daughter’s growing-up progress daily, the author of the article, Peggy Orenstein, raised a very interesting point: What is the effect of these numerous communication means having on our LOVE relationship?
According to the author, since the introduction of texting, emailing, Skyping, Twittering, our commitment to our loved ones are measured by how many texts we send in one day or how many times we twitter about our wonderful dinner/lunch/afternoon date with our significant other.
The point being, communication technology is taking a toll on love relationships, making them much more demanding than they should be. The more ways you have to communicate, the more you expect immediacy and commitment and a missing phones call or lack of prompt emailing response often can create opportunities for discussion and arguments that would otherwise have no point being such a big deal.
At the time in which pony express traveled the tortous mountain roads on horses backs, replying to a love letter might have taken months and the anticipation for such was just as good as receiving the letter itself. How did we loose such sense of romance? How are we so stubborn to think if our boyfriend’s gchat sign is green and he does not answer us immediately when we contact him is because he does not care about us. While, indeed, it could just be that his boss is looking over his shoulders and pressuring him to make a deadline.
Communication overloading is threatening our trust in our partners instead than driving us closer to them.
If only we still took moon walks on the beach in the hope of finding a glass bottle containing a rolled-up poem, we would worry less and enjoy more.
But, I would be an hypocrite if I did not admit that I am guilty of such communication-obsession, constantly gchatting and facebooking my friends, checking my emailing while driving, and getting frustrated if indeed the man I am dating is not promptly answering my “flirting messages” while he is at work.
Is this happening because so much more is available and we feel the need to be WIRED all the time otherwise we might be shut off from the world?! Or is it because these communication devices are helping us to try filling a void in our daily lives?!
But, I truly believe, at least for myself, if there were only paper letters and messages in a bottle, I would probably use ink and paper more often and dread the moment in which I had to wait by the fire for the postman to knock at my door with a month-delayed letter containing tales from my husband at the front.
Now, I know the wait would be painful and hard to endure, but how much more rewarding…
If only we could control how much time we spend being WIRED and we made it a point to step away from our desks and go sit by a candle, once in a while, and write on paper, wouldn’t we enjoy the present more than if we were constantly thinking of another way we could reach out to the world?
But, then again, careful for what you wish for. You rather have your mail box filled with un-red messages than a smail box over-flowing with glass bottles and paper letters.
It’s not a green-enough way to endure today’s environmental challenges.
So, what do we do next?
Maybe write a blog about it. And, then Facebook, Twit and Text your friends about it. 🙂