Life in progress


Communication is Fragile

I had a dream last night in which I traveled back in time, to the ’70s I believe, to speak to high school girls about what it would be like, in the future, to be able to communicate from anywhere. You’d think I’d have had a cell phone in my hand. But that’s not what I had.

In my dream I was carrying a piece of paper. It was like a receipt and it had words and numbers written on it. Strangely enough I remember having to go to a payphone to use it… but what purpose the paper served is beyond me. It was a dream.

When I woke up, however, it left me wondering about the fragility of communication. The paper was nothing but symbolic. What if I lost it? (The piece of paper or the ability to communicate – you decide.) What if I suddenly couldn’t read it because it got damaged? How much did it cost to obtain it? It was a receipt, after all.

Then I started thinking, what if I had five minutes to tell everyone I loved everything I needed to tell them? Could I be succinct? I think that’s the one positive thing the language of texting has provided us with… a shorthand. And it’s such a personal thing as well. Only if I’m in a hurry will I spell ‘you,’ ‘u,’ and everyone close to me knows this, and so I am communicating two things at once.

But what if we could all speak the way the great authors write? To be able to communicate a feeling – ‘All the world’s a stage…’ What if stuff like that just rolled off our tongues as easily as we wrote it? What if we could put real body language and facial expressions into our emails? Speaking from the perspective of someone who actually CAN communicate in two languages simultaneously (spoken English and American Sign Language), it would be wonderful indeed.

And yet do I feel as though, if I had five minutes left in this world to say everything I wanted to, I’m afraid I’d be at a loss for words.