Shut Up and Read

Sometimes I think that reading and writing are exponentially better than verbal communication. Now I know that the written word certainly has its drawbacks (hello…no sarcasm font), but hear me out on this. Some people are “blessed” with the “gift” of gab…let’s call them Gabbers. What Gabbers might not realize is that some people don’t view it quite so much as a gift. As a writer, I am all about the details, but as a listener…please, PLEASE, PLEASE just give me a straightforward story. All I really need to know is a starting position, a couple defining moments of the story, and the end result, which hopefully has a point. If you are telling me about the chipmunk that you almost ran over when it darted out in front of you on your way to Target, I really don’t need to know that you dried your hair in record time that morning; that you wore this cute little gray cowl-neck sweater dress that you had to buy when you saw your best friend’s sister wearing it in red on Monday, or that you were thinking about making tacos for dinner later. All I need to know is that you were driving, a chipmunk darted out in front of you, you jammed on the breaks, and the chipmunk went on to harass more unsuspecting drivers. The story should take 2 minutes tops, not 10. If such an above story were written communication, however, I’d have the luxury of skimming over the unnecessary details and skipping right to that glorious finale in record time.

Because people are not remotely like books at all, I would look exceptionally rude if I was engaged in a conversation and suddenly said, “I’m sorry, but can we do this conversation thing another time?” and walk away. If a conversation were a book, you could just mark the page/dialogue to pick up again later.  You would not lose your spot, and you would not have to hear the same thing over again. Unfortunately, you can’t put a bookmark in someone’s mouth. I can’t imagine that sliding a bookmark (no matter how pretty) between a person’s flapping lips, would be deemed socially acceptable, funny though it might be.

Picture 10.13.15

After all of this, however, I certainly acknowledge and embrace the fact that holding actual conversations with people is enjoyable as well as necessary. There are certainly moments in life when you need people, and that comforting look or gesture can do wonders for a weeping soul. For all of a book’s merits, it can’t smile at your joys; it can’t hug you back; and it certainly can’t wipe that tear off your wet cheek.


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