Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

A Lost Art

I wish I could find that place where conversation lives now. When I was in middle school and high school, I remember hiding under my covers with the phone pressed up against my face, ear sweating, whispering to friends for hours, or at least until my mother picked up the phone and told me to hang up. In college, I remember having boyfriends who lived across the country (thanks, Internet!) who I would talk to until we fell asleep together on the phone.

People don’t talk on the phone much any more. That bums me out. I talk to my mom pretty regularly. I’ll chat with my brother and a few girlfriends from time to time. But otherwise — meh. It just doesn’t happen any more.

Why people opt to text instead of talk is absolutely beyond me. There’s so much intimacy lost when you can’t hear a person’s voice. I don’t understand when people make jokes about how funny it is that we don’t use our phones for actually speaking to one another any more. Why is that funny? When did we decide it was better to type than talk? If you’re not going to talk, then don’t have a phone. Or, at least, stop calling it a phone. That’s insulting to people who actually use phones for … phone things. Like SPEAKING TO PEOPLE.

I love talking. And not talking.

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9jxSOxtYHs[/embed]

As I type this, my daughter is on her “phone” lying next to me, playing a computer game. It’s maddening. I try to make my bedroom a tech-free zone, but when I’m seen on my computer (albeit writing something and actually trying to create stuff) I don’t set the best example.

I could turn this into a post about eye contact. That’s another thing I miss. Look at me. Speak to me. Let me look at you.

I’m on a tear now. This REALLY irritates me: If you choose to text me, as opposed to call me or actually sit down and talk to me, don’t get upset when I don’t immediately pick up a conversation with you. Don’t read into my lack of response as some kind of affront to our friendship. When we call each other, it’s polite to ask if it’s a good time to talk. That particular courtesy seems to have disappeared with the advent of texting.

Gah. Phones just piss me off. And before I go too far — yes, I’m totally part of the problem. And that bugs me, too. A lot.

There’s no way the earth suddenly got inhabited by millions of unknowing introverts. There are still extroverts, such as myself, craving real contact with people, and the thrill of actual conversation.

So, in case you were wondering what to get me for my birthday, I’d ask for this: Your focus. Your voice. Your laughter. Your company. Leave the apps and the social media shit at home. Just for a bit.

I miss conversations.

An open letter to Paul Gilmartin.

99.