Much is made today of our inability to communicate with each other: men with women, Democrats with Republicans, city people with country people – despite the fact that there are a multitude of inexpensive pocket-sized devices to keep us more easily connected than during any previous era in human history.
A recent text exchange that I observed between two friends:
B: What do you want for dinner?
L: What do *you* want for dinner?
B: I asked first.
L: I picked the last 3 nights.
B: I don’t know what I want.
L: I told you, you have to pick.
B: You did not. What you said is that you picked the last 3 nights.
Considering the millions of quotidian texts and Facebook status updates, the billions of tweets recently acquired by the Library of Congress for their archives, along with the multitude of emails that are exchanged each day despite this last mode’s imminent obsolescence (“Emails take too long,” some of my friends have complained. “It’s so much easier to text”), I’m not sure why our species is still so inept at communicating with each other.
Perhaps it would be best to take a lesson from some of the other species that often inhabit our homes – dogs and cats get their messages across to us and to each other with the greatest of ease and speed: Food. Now. Walk. Now. If we don’t follow their commands, we are leered at and stalked until we obey.
Even spiders, who rarely, if ever, as far as I know, have been heard to utter a sound audible to the human ear, get their message across quite well. “Consider my intricate, awe-inspiring web,” the spider in your stairwell says. “Please avoid it.”