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.....

Comments

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 anyone, no matter how crippled or old or 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 …

Gone Shopping

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Dracula escorted his newly created undead aide into the store.

"...and you need to sleep in the daytime," he explained.

"But what are we doing here in Sleepy's Mattress store?" asked his aide. "I thought we slept in coffins."

"We are modern now," replied Dracula. "We use a mattress like anyone else. I tell you, after two hundred years of sleeping on rock and dirt, this is a joy. So much more comfortable and you don't have to haul it around from place to place."

"Amazing," said the aide.

"For a newbie like you, maybe you want to go traditional. Sleepy's has a Posturedic that will fit inside a coffin."

"What do you use?" asked the aide.

"I have a sleep-number bed. I love it. Mrs. Dracula can toss and turn and I don't feel it on my side."

"Now that you mention the ladies, I think I will skip the coffin. A moo…

I Swear!

by Vol-E

I've lived in the south for over 30 years. Having grown up as a New Yorker, there were some changes to get used to once I crossed the Mason-Dixon line.

Language was a big one. My parents were well-behaved in public, but behind the closed doors of our home, they taught me all kinds of interesting vocabulary words, as they took their everyday frustrations out on one another. "Jerk" and "bastard" were two of the earliest ones, but by the time I was about eight, I knew pretty much every one of George Carlin's pet no-nos.

It was only in college that I met people who were outspokenly offended by swear words. The ones that raised eyebrows initially were related to religion. I began to think twice about using "hell" and "damn," and was politely informed one day that "God's last name is not 'dammit.'" So I gradually began censoring myself a bit, which was probably a good thing, once I joined the work force. Macy…