Today, at the DMV, I witnessed non-communication communication.
If you're unlucky (hahaha) I'll tell you about it tomorrow. But for now - I'm reminded of a post that I put up in June of 2007, called Ain't I Communicatin'? - and I want to (re)share it with you.
If I had a magic wand I swear I'd wipe non-communication communication right off the globe! Oh, wait - my mayo sis, the wonderful bonesigharts founder, terri st.cloud, gave me a magic wand for Christmas - I'm going to go get that sucker.
OK, if from this moment on all communication henceforth and forevermore is real communication you can thank me (and my magic wand).
Here's that earlier post:
Ain't I Communicatin'?
A few months ago, if you were a fly on the wall at my house, you would have heard lots of musical conversation:
"Get that damn guitar out of the living room!"
"Didn't I tell you to keep those f-ing drum sticks off my chair?"
Now, however, with the advent of my (3 year old) grand-daughter's live-in status, talk is much less "musical". Recent things you might have heard would include:
"What did I tell you about putting Vikings in your mouth?" (My daughter to my grand-daughter, as the latter was again chewing on one of her "little mens" - figurines she plays with nearly continuously).
"Happy Mothers' Day, we peed your bed" (My grand-daughter - to me - magnanimously including her auntie - who swears she did not pee the bed, after they spend the night in my bed due to painting in their room).
All the (above) sentences have a reason - pronouncement, demand, whatever... - they do communicate, but they're not my favorite kind of communication. My favorite is the kind where thoughts and feelings are shared - two-sided conversations.
It seems that lately I've had to look harder for these kinds of conversation - what I would call "true communication". Have you noticed that too?
Not long ago I was part of this "conversation" (using the term very loosely):
Acquaintance: "What have you been up to?"
Me: (enthusiastically) "My daughter and I are re-doing the kitchen. We've...
Acquaintance (interrupting): "Meanwhile..."
"Meanwhile..." - then she went on to tell me what she'd been up to. "Meanwhile"?!?! - no comment on what I'd said, not even a slight hint that I'd been heard.
I had the sensation of not being listened to - you know that feeling where it's like the words bounce back at you - like they're not going anywhere? Being interrupted by my acquaintance at the beginning of the second sentence (with that awkward segue into her own speech) pretty much justified the feeling.
That's a particularly crass (but factual, unfortunately) example of less-than-true-communication. I've been part of and/or overheard way too many of these kinds of non-communications lately. Another kind of non-communication is where people have the formula down - each talks, then leaves a space for the other to talk, but their words are like two parallel roads - they never meet. I imagine that Martin Buber would've call this It-It communication.
Why is true communication so scarce? Are we too busy, too bored, too scared? Communication is our blood - it feeds our cells, takes away impurities - it matters! Don't we all love hearing people's stories - having our own be heard?
What do we get out of talking without listening to each other? What is the point? And at what cost?
We've got this beautiful gift of speech (or writing) - the ability to connect - the ability to impart joy, hope and encouragement to each other. The ability to share wonders (and horrors too) - to share heart and mind - ups and downs - to hear and be heard - let's use it!