The Lost Art of Conversation

My latest release, the well-received Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, is a humorous and, dare I say, witty look at how much crap we all have in our lives and how vigorously we strive to share all that crap with all those around us. At the time that I was writing it, it did not occur to me that perhaps I should have dedicated an entire chapter to modern technology and its inherent ability to spread and share our crap on a scale previously unknown to humans. I should also have written a chapter about the demise of conversation.

It seems like just yesteryear that we had to communicate with each other like this;

ethan holmes cave drawingI think the caption was supposed to be something like; We go on hunt, Bob fall off horse, get trampled, we eat Bob.

Jumping weeks ahead in history, someone, obviously not Bob, invented something called a phone and we quickly went from cave wall paintings to cave wall phones like this.


A few months later, someone who came across poor Bob’s papers after he was eaten, er…, I mean mysteriously died on a hunt with Dick Cheney’s ancestor, managed to get the phone off the wall and into people’s hands where they could still have conversation.

Mobile phone in a bagAlas, humans were now mobile technology and communications masters, capable of always ‘being in touch’ despite the fact that actual ‘touching’ was the antithesis of the whole thing, as in, “I want to share my crap with you. I just don’t want to have to sit with you to do it.” (Read no conversation.)

As an aside, humans were now also capable of bombarding their heads with relatively new forms of radiation while not being anywhere near transformer lines or nuclear power plants. Before this, they had to rely on the broken microwave ovens in their kitchens. Once again, mobility triumphs and the radiation begins to have an insipid effect on human qualities such as courtesy, sense and intelligence.

As humans became weaker and more dependent upon mobile technology, a hue and cry went up from the masses that the devices they were carrying were “TOO HEAVY”!

 ethan holmes nokia bag phoneMy first cell phone, an eight pound Nokia bag phone. (Good thing I was into working out.)

This is why I laugh today, when I hear people complain about their phone being “too heavy” or “too bulky”. But man, I was mobile, I was happenin’, I was reachable for my customers. Never mind I couldn’t leave the car without ripping the whole thing out, unplugging everything, packing it away in the bag and tearing the suction cup antenna off the window. I was mobile!

Today, smartphones come in a variety of sizes and weights, depending, I suppose, on your current fitness and accompanying exercise program. (In other words, the salesman at the store should inquire about your lifting ability and muscle endurance instead of what you want on your phone.)

It’s a bit ironic that I still like the larger, bulkier phones over the tiny, credit card-size ones I have seen. Even the vaunted Apple Iphone seems tiny compared to what I currently carry.

ethan holmes iphone1

Nevertheless, I digress. I have drifted from my original point. All this mobility, this ability seems to have made humans less willing and less capable of carrying on direct human contact like, I don’t know, a conversation.

It appears that humans would rather email, text, instant message, Facebook, Twitter like a bird or do anything else that does not require direct human interaction. It would seem that many need to accompany the Cowardly Lion on his visit to the Wizard of OZ. Got courage?

Or is it simply the fact that many people are becoming inactive, sedentary, cell-phone addicts and truly cannot hold the phone to their ear beyond three minutes?

On_hold_custer_fluxFlickr_fit_300x300Somewhere along the way, as evolution works it course, I foresee the day when humans are utterly incapable of face to face speech. The voice box has evolved into a useless nodule in the throat and people’s thumbs have biceps the same size as the ones on their arms. They will be completely void of what used to be known as ‘common courtesy’, politeness, and the ability to hold conversation.

But they will still want you to sit in their crap. They still want to be ‘connected’ and ‘in touch’, just don’t touch me.

Ethan Holmes is the author of Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone and Daniel and The Mall; a short story about a kid who decides to address cell phone addiction in his own unique way. You may read it for free HERE.

Visit author Ethan Holmes at his website.


About Ethan Holmes

Ethan Holmes currently resides in Northern Arizona and he is the author of seven published books; Earth's Blood, The Keystone, A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, Shorts and Other Laundry, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Water. and his new novella, The Town of Perfect. When he is not writing Ethan is also a professional freelance nature photographer.
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