Snail Mail is Worth the Wait

or what happened to authentic communication?

Photo by Nikolay Tchaouchev on Unsplash

Communication throughout history has been about sharing. Methods have changed, but the goal is always the same. To get words and ideas from one human to another human.

In our modern society in spite of the fact that we have so many different ways to communicate, the quantity of methods has never been like this before. We have cell phones for talking, texting, emailing and social media.

Yet the quality of communication has never been lower.

The average person can’t spell. We rely on spell check and auto correct to fix spelling errors. We do not have to remember how to spell because the device does our thinking for us. We do not use proper grammar. We use short cuts that say what we want in text speak to save time. We leave out words and hope that our recipient will understand our message.

I believe that we should bring back the requirement of hand written correspondence.

Yes, it is slower than texting. Yes, we would have to teach our children how to write….GASP!….in cursive and legibly at that.

It is a scientific fact that using your hands to write with paper and pencil causes your brain to use different parts of thought than when you type on a device. We are doing a disservice to future generations by not requiring that they learn to properly write with a pencil and paper.

If you are of a certain age you can remember the happiness of getting a letter in the mail. For me it was from my grandmother. She began writing me letters almost weekly when I was a small child. My father was in the military and we traveled a lot, so we would write. Even after I was older she continued to write me regularly until Alzheimer’s took her brain from her. Her writing skills were one of the last things to go.

I would call her on the phone and she would have no idea who I was, what my name was or why she was talking to me on the phone, even then she could still write letters and remember she was writing to me. I have passed on this art to my own children and grandchildren, in honor of my grandmother.

Also, I believe we should teach our children phone etiquette. The return of an actual phone call when someones called you should be a requirement. Who answers their phones anymore? Even less people have landlines. Texting has replaced real conversations.

We decided to fight that trend. When my husband and I had a phone installed in our house, yes a landline, our children did not know how to place a call or answer it. We joked about it to keep from crying about it. We taught them to answer a ringing phone like this, “The O’Gara residence how may I help you?” Out next move is to have a vintage rotary dial phone installed or a working payphone.

With all the various methods for communicating with each other, we seem to be no longer respectful of manners and politeness. It is because social media and other electronic methods of communicating allow us to scratch the surface of communicating without having to show our true self. We can hide behind screens and not show our real emotions. We can answer a How are you text with a simple Oh I am fine when in reality we may be absolutely not fine.

I would love to tell you that I am different. That I call people. That I am great at staying in touch. No, I am no different than you. I have become a slave to the digital devices. I am the world’s worst human at not calling, even my family. Unless you are my mother then you are exempt from this restriction. I call her every day. I hear you, “Oh,that is so sweet”. No, it is because if I don’t she will haunt me after death with all the guilt that a good Irish Catholic can muster. She isn’t even catholic, Irish yes. I love my mother. She knows I am joking, right Mom? I am joking. I really do enjoy our daily phone calls.

Here are the two things I can promise…

  1. If you take time to call me, I will answer. I will text faster than anything but will take a call and actually speak to you on the phone if you call me. It is called respect. If I am at work in the library I will have to call you back. Phones ringing in the library is not a good thing. “Shush, it’s a library.”
  2. If you write me a letter, put a stamp on it and send it to my mailbox, I will write you a letter back with a pencil or pen, on a real piece of stationary, and with my own hand. Here is my real address:
Lori O’Gara
PO Box 4718
Pensacola, FL 32507

There you have it…my opinion is just that, but it is truly how I see things.

Believe in authentic communication.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here.