Word drought in The Highlands but spring is knocking. ( seniors)

IMG_0918 front garden August 2016

‘It won’t be long now.’ This is a saying that people use when expecting something to come along. It is sometimes used when on the Nr 1 platform waiting for the train to arrive. ‘The train is coming soon’, often spoken aloud by a brave soul to break the silence between waiting travellers, especially when a chill wind is blowing here in The Highlands. Most often, there is a response; ‘Yes, I think it is due in one minute, according to my timetable.’ This answer gladdens the heart, gives hope to the other fellow.

Those snippets of exchanging words to each other is so welcome. There can never be enough words getting exchanged between people, irrespective of waiting for a train or getting served at the Super-Market conveyer-belt. There is nothing more uplifting than getting a few words, after having gone through those endless isles of mind-numbing dairy goods/personal hygiene/ split peas/. There are now endless choices of toilet paper. We are figuring out the mathematical challenges with being confronted by the cost per hundred sheets per roll! No wonder people are becoming silent.

I could be wrong. Is there a shortage of spoken words being exchanged lately? If we feel like a good fill-up for spoken words we need to take Milo (our dog) along. He elicits the words from others so much better than if we walk without him. The word drought in public seems to be getting worse. I am curious if others have noticed this too? Most times, we used to strike it and get to hear words from others. They seem drawn to our Jack Russell more than us. Totally understandable in my own case, but with the welcoming and smiling Helvi, it used to smooth things out so much better.

It seems the problem might lie elsewhere. Often, people look serious when approaching. However, if they allow themselves to change their thought-train away from paying gas bills on line or texting and coping with obstinate or nasty relationships, and allow themselves to focus their sight downwards away from their gadget holding hand, and spot our Milo, an involuntary smile often escapes. Not only that, but many will actually stop, say a few words and pat him. That is the magic of the Jack Russell. We are still in touch. Are spoken words to adults getting less though?

I get the feeling that many are so mute now because their puckered up faces are so often close to their IPhone. I too have become a bit drawn to this gadget and at times open the IPhone without even being aware of it. Helvi gives me warning every time I slip into that. Certainly on trains we now rarely see passengers looking around or in conversation. Most stare seriously on what is in their hands.

I know, I speak and show my age now. It is all old hat. ‘Get real, Opa. This is our world now. Move over rover!’ The grandchildren have no trouble with it. They tell me that ‘Social Media’ is what is being practised. One hopes that this new form of mute media is not going to impact on relationships. I notice that so much modern TV drama is very intertwined with noise and deafeningly loud threatening thundering gun-fire type music, substituting drama where there might be none… It makes us tense and restless in expecting something, but it rarely comes or satisfies.

The words are just drowned out now.

51alYWDUUGL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_oosterman treats

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19 Responses to “Word drought in The Highlands but spring is knocking. ( seniors)”

  1. lifecameos Says:

    Now that I walk to the supermarket and local shopping centre I find that people will great me as often as i gret them. This is vastly different from my days of paid employment and rushing around in my car. Maybe we try to cram too much into our days as well as getting stuck in small screens.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. jennypellett Says:

    As a once seasoned commuter (for fifteen years), in my experience the only time travellers spoke to each other was when trains were not running to time or there was some train related catastrophe to comment on. I actually met who is now one of my dearest friends on a stationary train, stuck at Waterloo one evening. We struck up a moaning conversation about commuting hell and have been chatting ever since. Of course, in those days there was no technology- we had to read books or newspapers. And therein lies another ancient art – the origami-like need for folding a broadsheet newspaper so that you don’t impede or- God forbid – touch a fellow commuter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Welcome, Jenny.
      Right from the start of my early working days, used to fall asleep on the train. If seated at the window my head would end up resting against it. However, if the train was full it sometimes happened I would end in between people and ended up rudely awaked if my head slipped against a traveller.
      Sometimes, the train passed the station and I had to retrace the journey.

      Smoking was full on too as was knitting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mabel Kwong Says:

    Milo sounds like a very friendly dog. If I passed by, I would be sure to stop and admire him. I do that to most dogs and am not one to walk looking down at my phone. Much prefer to look around me and if I see something interesting I will pull out my camera and take a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Welcome, Mabel.

      Milo is great. He, right now is jumping against my legs wanting to be taken for a walk. I am sure you would like him. Last night he slept outside. He watches the cavorting possums in the trees all night. No wonder he sleeps so much during the day.
      You have a great blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres Says:

    Perhaps, in the end, this is what blogs will become: little conversational islands in the midst of a flooding techno-sea.

    Since most of my friends understand their phones as tools to be used rather than as surgically applied appendages that demand to be exercised, we still have interesting and enjoyable conversations. But when I listed “conversation” on my About page as my favorite sport, I hardly imagined it would become about as popular as croquet or lawn darts.

    One of the best books on the subject is Sherry Turkle’s “Reclaiming Conversation in a Digital Age.” I highly recommend it.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, you are right, Linda. You are very modest. Your “conversation” is more like soccer on the popularity scale than lawn darts.

      The blogging gives rise to conversations. I should not complain about the goose laying the golden egg. I am in absolute admiration on how this technology allows cross Continental cross Oceanic conversations within split seconds.

      It is just I wish that a look upwards and towards passers by in public would become popular again. What is the urgency for almost everyone now to stare at the hand held tablet while in transit?

      If it wasn’t for our Milo, the daily walks could often be without human contact. Even in cafes, people avoid eye contact or acknowledge others being present. Sometimes, even the food is hardly eaten or looked at. It seems at times that electronic clatter to have overtaken life itself.

      Fortunately, many show contrition and end up patting Milo our JR Terrier. It is never too late and it makes our day as well.


  5. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Very interesting. The times changed when cell phones came out and then ever few years the phone simply upgraded. Now the phones are no longer “simple” but extremely creative.
    It is despairing to see folks always looking at a phone in their hands. Thus the art of conversation, I think, is being lost among the young. It’s a lazy way of communicating. People no longer call each other, they just use “text-speak.” It seems less personal that way and maybe that’s why it appeals to many people.

    I only know three neighbors well enough to call them if something needs to be said, which is seldom. They are all busy with their own daily struggles just to live. It is the same for me. I do talk to my two friends. My own grown kids text me when they want something. Otherwise I seldom hear from them. I keep asking myself, “what have I raised?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Yvonne.
      Children are the reason for many but they grow up and leave. Bringing up children is not an exact science. Love alone seems not enough and Dr Spock wasn’t always on track either.

      I suppose, the age of the new has arrived and I can’t imagine the world in ten years time. However, not only is everything possible that we can imagine, everything will be possible for things we can’t imagine.

      A kind of fatigue creeps in at times and it is nice to be able to just dream along and take it easy.
      Stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. rod Says:

    I don’t have a dog, though I was chatting to a Leonberger recently. Lovely animal. As for talking, I find I am doing it less amd less, and it’s nothing to do with iPhones. The more words I hear the more they become white noise. And twenty-four news channels don’t help – they are sometimes on in our house. I feel this is age-related.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Leonbergers are great talkers but easily get distracted by sausages carelessly left on the counter by German butchers. Milo can’t reach that high but has been known to pull them out of shopping bags, carelessly left on the ground by shoppers checking urgent messages on their cell-phone.
      Our TV is now on for twenty minutes of news a day. I have taken a great liking to put the TV on ‘mute’ as soon as sport comes on.
      We kame an exception for Wallander serie and Danish crime shows.
      I am going to make a potato bake soon. It is the only way to escape ennui.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Now they have Pokemon as one more excuse. Want to get Peggy excited. Take her to a nice restaurant where people are buried in their cellphones instead of talking to each other. (I confess I am now sitting in a Starbucks (sans-Peggy) responding to your blog, Gerard.) It’s a mixed world with plusses and minuses. But lets hear it for Milo! Dogs have always been good conversation starters! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yesterday while having a coffee with bacon and egg with crispy bread roll, an elderly man wearing a cap stopped by. We talked about dogs and of course Milo. It is amazing how many take to Milo. Of course he looks the complete star of Rick Stein and Midsummer Murder series.


  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    We can still end up taking half an hour to go to buy a loaf of bread in our village because of bumping into people and talking, but elsewhere the people walking past are communing with someone on the other side of the world. Of course, that is exactly what I am doing this minute…

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Hilary. That is great when that happens. I wish it would happen more frequently. Sometimes even the salesgirls/men are texting or avoiding eye contact in case they might have to serve.
      I noticed that the born-overseas often give good service and with a smile.
      I remember in Falwty Towers a guest ended up frying his own breakfast. ( sausages)


  10. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Dogs are great conversation starters. You quickly find out who likes dogs and who does not. I like the fact that I can have conversation with people all over the world when I open my computer, and I also talk to store clerks along the way as well as friends and neighbors. I had a 3 hour lunch with a good friend yesterday just talking. It was one of the nicest days in weeks. Dr. A would talk to a tree if it would answer back.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I try and do as much talk as possible while there is still time. I mean talk with my mouth and to others. Milo makes that possible and gets patted. Some inquire about his age, and often gets a compliment how youthful he still looks. He, of course looks at the bags in case it holds out a nice morsel.
      His behaviour is obvious food oriented together with bum sniffing of other dogs.


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