Skip to main content

Oldie, 10/2/08: The Quiet Type

Note:  I originally posted this on my old blog, which I'm in the process of shutting down. I'll be copying and reposting some of my "greatest hits" from 2008-2010.

"Dear Prudence" in Slate Magazine published a letter from a mother who was appalled by the huge trend of texting among teenagers. She said:

What I find amazing is how little actual real-voice conversation goes on between boys and girls. My kids tell me that often it's easier to instant message and/or text than talk to someone "live," especially if the other person is someone whom they normally would feel nervous talking to face-to-face, and in fact may not talk to at all if it weren't for the texting/instant messaging.

Prudie, of course, advised her that all new technologies create a gulf between generations during the time that society is adjusting to them.

The letter reminded me of how the Internet really has changed certain things. Online communication really helps people come out of their shells. 

I have a loose circle of acquaintances, most of whom live in my town, and communicate on a message forum. Now and then we get together for lunch or a party, but by and large, our social life is lived on this forum. And boy, are we an outspoken, gabby bunch. A large proportion of the members are in the broadcasting industry, so you'd expect them to be somewhat boisterous. Other members have known each other for a long time, so that when we do get together, there's a lot of loud joking & other silliness going on.

But then there's the bank teller, whose avatar is this guy from the movie "The 300":

When I heard he was going to be at one of our parties, I was curious to talk to him ... I expected him to start burning and pillaging as soon as he walked in the door. But instead, he went and stood over by the wall for nearly an hour, grinning but answering questions in monosyllables, until someone coaxed him out a bit.

In truth, the overwhelming majority of our forum members are like him. Plenty to say, very intelligent, but surprisingly shy and inarticulate in a crowd of people, when they are actually required to SPEAK. Get a keyboard in front of us, though, and all the stuff you never suspected was in our heads finds an outlet.

We have a number of law-enforcement types on our board, and for them, too, it's better than therapy. They have to toe the line with the public and their superiors, but online, under the cloak of anonymity, they can share the stuff of their waking nightmares in awesomely vivid prose.

Blogging and online social networking are amazing things, not to be underestimated. Someone asked me recently how many close friends I had. The answer, in terms of people I see and talk to on the phone regularly, came out to maybe three, not counting in-laws. But I was thinking about Beagle, CalendarGrrl, Misterpatootiehead, Shoedown, Dixalyve, Ratzo.....


Popular posts from this blog

A Subway Journey Home

by The Urban Blabbermouth. Comments are welcome! ~ There is a ritual to theNew York City subway system. Once there, you lose your humanity.  You are transformed into a savage, brutal and selfish automaton.  Savage in that you push and shove other riders out of your way to get into the subway car.  Brutal in that you never excuse yourself for any atrocities that you commit to get in the subway car.  Selfish in that you never give up your seat to any one no matter how cripple and old and pregnant they are.  Automaton in that you never look at any one else as a human being.

Now there are certain strategies that you can employ to be a successful subway rider.  You can stand by the door and obstruct the way just to be selfish and ornery.  That strategy is designed to increase your standing with your fellow passengers by impressing them with how vicious you can be pushing back at people trying to push into the car.  Whenever I see this strategy employed, I immediately piggy back on it.  I move…

Encyclopedia Brown Bear

by The Urban Blabbermouth
At an age when other children decide to set up lemonade stands, Baby Bear decided to start a detective agency. His decision resulted from his experience in the Goldilocks home invasion. If you don't know this well-publicized crime case, Google Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Baby Bear wanted to become a policeman to help the other denizens of the Forest with their troubles and to maintain justice for all. Alas, the police did not accept children as applicants.

Baby Bear ran to his community library and borrowed the renowned guide, The Hardy Boys' Detective Handbook. Baby Bear spent the next twenty days, the library's lending period, studying the text. He chose the business name of "Encyclopedia Brown Bear Detective Agency" after his hero, Leroy "Encyclopedia” Brown. Baby Bear's dad hung the business sign across the garage door and opened a folding card table and four chairs in the entrance below.

On the first day, the Big Bad Wolf…

Im gonna git u Sukkah

by The Urban Blabbermouth [who may or may not be shown in the photo above... - v-E] ~ True story. I am walking to my car and I notice a couple of Jewish fellows, twenty somethings, with the bouquets of what looks like bamboo or palm. I know they are Jewish for they look Hasidic. They are wearing long black jackets, wide brim black fedora hats, and have curly sideburns. In truth, I classify all Jewish who dress like this as Hasidic although they may identify themselves differently. They are standing near the corner canvassing passersby.