Sunday, August 14, 2011
TALKING DOWN THE HIGHWAY
I have a few super duper brave friends that are gracious enough to ride shotgun. They agree to road trips that take us into the "unknown." Because I am often invited to speak at various women's events, sometimes in Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas or Oklahoma it means I need to be in my car for long hours at a time. (Once in a while it's an airplane if the venue is far, far away.)
My friends Janet, Laura, Sheila and Deanna are the faithful buds. I invite them along and if it's physically possible at all one of them will consent. A couple of these ladies have heard my talks so many times THEY could give them more effectively I'm sure!
When we hit the road I know that I'm in for a GOOD TIME! Telling stories, sharing joys, heartaches, successes, failures, dreams fulfilled and dreams dashed are all shared. World problems and local skirmishes are all resolved in my big red truck. By the time we've arrived at our destination we know each others birth weight. A tear or two might be shed over a past heartache but raucous laughter is the usual response. TALKING is a recreational sport and we're Olympians! SO much wisdom is tossed around while speeding down the road. Rarely do we listen to music or the radio talk shows. That would be too distracting!
(We're waiting for someone to ASK us our opinions about world peace and prosperity, or to be notified of our candidacy for the Pulitzer Price but alas, no interest yet!)
Sometimes we stop along the way to visit an antique store, a McDonald's, or a pit stop at a gas station. More often than not it's a pullover to ask for directions because regardless of all the maps and GPS systems available I still get turned around. (It's a family trait, neither Andy or I can find our way out of the driveway. Honeybuns and Philip could get to Tinbuktu if you pointed them in the right direction.)
Recently I was made aware of a situation with many young people. YEP, they are having trouble in social situations because they don't know how to navigate conversation. Evidently our wonderfully brilliant technology has isolated our teens into a world of texting code words, "tweeting " ideas within a word limit or one sentence e-mails. Even though everyone has a phone those devices are rarely used for TALKING! Rare is the young person that can actually look an adult in the eye and carry on a meaningful discussion.
Time with tell whether this will be a handicap in future employment or relationships. It could be that by the time these kids are grown they won't have to talk at all. Technology will be such that they'll just THINK a thought and it will be electronically relayed to the other person's brain. Perhaps the whole GenX, GenY and generations following them will all agree that conversational skills are highly overrated and no one will care!
Personally I think much is accomplished by talking and listening! Isn't that why counselors and psychologists are in such demand?
I've heard of a business called "Rent-A-Friend" where you can pay for someone to listen to you talk! It can get expensive.
I've read that the '"ladies of the evening" spend most of their working hours just lending a sympathetic ear.
One popular author suggested telling all your troubles to someone that doesn't speak your language. Safety there!
Evidently there is a great need and I have the solution! Just come ride along with me and my friends. We'll show you how it's done.
When we're back home safe and sound we vow to each other to "forget everything that was said and/or heard." The next time we load up my truck the stories are all fresh and new and funny again! (I love having friends my age, every day is a new day, every road is a new road, and every story is a new story, even if they've already heard it 3-4 times.)
Yes, young person, you're invited. Come sit beside me and hear a tale or two. It may seem old fashioned, but you'll be surprised at the improvement in your social skills AND mental health!