Ruminations on the crazy people we are, by a retired teacher/musician. Can't get the "requests" out of my system after years of barroom/lounge/restaurant/party gigs mining 100 years worth of the musical mother-lode.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I called my credit card number today for a clarification.(Am I broke, or not?) But not really.
I got a person in Arizona. I asked my question, got an excellent answer in a polite tone of voice, wished the guy a good day,(cautious about whether or not it was "day" there,) and hung up. But then, I realized, I had not attended to all my questions, so called right back. Now I know how these things work, so I didn't expect "Chuck" to answer. Denise answered, and she was in Utah. Well. I understand they're all on the same computer, so it doesn't matter, and Denise took care of my questions promptly and politely, and "have a nice day."

I am reminded of a scene from the movie "The Actress," wherein Spencer Tracy, an old retired salt, has had a phone installed. It is very much against his thinking, but if his daughter was going to be off making her way in the theater, he was going to keep in touch.She called. He ran to the phone, looked at it as if something very strange was going to happen if he dared touch it, and finally, hesitatingly, picked it up, putting the earpiece to his ear.(It was a wall phone, with the separate ear piece.) Now comes the hilarious part: he literally yells into the phone, "HELLO, I CAN HEAR YOU;CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

Of course, it was most natural for him to shout; after all, his beloved daughter was hundreds of miles away. It took him some time to get with the idea that modern communication had somehow brought them closer.

Which brings me back to Arizona and Utah. (I'm in PA, by the way.) The space between us has artificially disappeared. Have we lost anything in this process? I must add that I have developed the habit of asking where people are when I call these service reps. India is no surprise any more.My problem is, I haven't the slightest notion what to say to a person in India. I spoke with a fellow in Texas once, who ended up having come from close to where I sprung from, and we had an excellent conversation. I suppose his supervisor frowned on that, but I believe he and I were richer for having taken it a bit beyond the may-I-have-your-16-digit number, sir.

But have we lost something in the process? As travel has improved, people have so much greater access to distant places and people, but how has that affected their lives as "locals." I met a guy one afternoon picking up kids from after-school activities. He had just flown in from Los Angeles. He had spent his day in or over four time zones. Does it make a difference?
The benefits of a shrinking world are clear. I recently hooked up with an old friend who lives in Hawaii. Fantastic. Long talk every couple of weeks.

Consider, however, the down side of all this cosmic closeness. A century ago, the news you heard was from a local paper, or local people. It was surely easier to handle, and considerably less in volume. People were, I believe, closer. Truly closer. Now, I have to experience some national news channel giving me the option to watch four different police chases that took place on the same day.The event is in my head, but the people sure aren't.But we are daily beset with the miseries of the whole wide world. I'm trying to be compassionate, but sometimes the burden is just overwhelming.

I believe there is a tribe of people hanging on in South America, to whom the words "I know,........." really have the meaning of "I have experienced............"I suspect we need to concentrate a bit on remembering that there is a difference between "I heard," and "I was actually there and saw.........."

End of ruminations for April 2, 2006

Punny thing:Have you ever wondered how many little signals are passing by you, through you, etc.?There's a number I would like to know.


At 8:45 PM, Anonymous beavermama said...

If you haven't seen the Gods Must be Crazy -- you must. Talk about a guy (a bushman) overwhelmed by his contact with our "distant" global reality. And all over a coke bottle.


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