20 September 2007

are we becoming a speechless society?

Yesterday, being payday, I had lots of errands to run. On thinking about them I was saddened, not because I had to do them and most of them involved handing my precious $$$ over to someone else but because the idea of 'running errands' is almost extinct.

The jobs I had yesterday:
pay rent
pay gas bill
pay loan
pay credit card
renew library books

do grocery shop
pyjamas for beren
buy photo album
get paints for kids

MLWP meeting
discuss assignment with Ella

Post parcel

All the red items were done over the internet. The blue items were done in person but could very well have been done online. The green item was canceled at the last minute. The only thing I couldn't do without actually speaking to someone verbally was post the parcel because I had to buy stamps for it.

On thinking about all of this we really are creating a non verbal world for ourselves.

  • We don't go into a bank unless we absolutely have to because we can use ATM's and internet.
  • Even for government departments it is preferred that we use their online options.

  • Online courses at TAFE/UNI to save us the trouble of attending a class.
  • Specialised yahoo groups etc as a means of support groups
  • We meet our friends in chat rooms or on forums
  • Buy and sell our goods at EBAY and other online shops
  • Recycle at freecycle
  • Update our lives on blogs so our distant friends can catch up with what we have been doing/thinking
We have evolved from paper and pen letter writers to telephone calls to text messages and emails.

On that note, I received a letter yesterday. Not a typed window envelope one but a real letter. Someone had sat down and physically wrote me a three page letter! Do you remember how lovely it is to receive a letter like this. To go to the letter box and see a letter. To open it and sit down and read it.
Yes, still not verbal communication but still somehow personal, no spell check no word count. Just someone taking the time to sit and write.

It bothers me that we are so reliant on non verbal communication, we have created a lifestyle that is so fast and impersonal that we no longer have time to speak. Ofcourse, the times that we do we are often faced with a barrage of 'attitude' because we are bothering someone,. I have often seen this and can tell they are thinking "why are you here? Can't you just do this online or something!" or similar.

Lets start saying hello to our neighbours. Don't send an email to your friend, write a letter or phone them for a chat. IF they are in the same city, visit them!

1 comment:

Bel said...

Oooh, lovely post!

I do tons of errands online... guilty there! And tons of socialising online too. And shopping. Hmm, see the pattern?

I have been thinking about this lately, as I'm trying to buy much more of our food locally. It means I'm running about a lot - going to the markets to buy from local (preferably organic) growers, then on the way home dropping in on friends to pick up and drop off shares in various bulk-orders, home-grown items etc... It's a big day out. Much more effort than a trip to Woolies (though less fuel for me). But oh-so-much-more social! And that's your point, right? :)