McGregor Says: Practicing the art of conversation

Over 50 years ago John Sebastian of the Loving Spoonful wrote these lyrics: “Darling be home soon, I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled: Darling be home soon, it’s not just these few hours, but I’ve been waiting since I toddled, for the great relief of having you to talk to.”

Ah, yes, the romantic freedom of the ’60s, when people talked to each other.

If John and the boys wrote that song today: “Darling text me soon, my phone is almost dead and I don’t want to miss your message; Darling tweet me now or send a posting to my Facebook, and I will send to you a selfie, Instead of taking time to have to talk to you.”

I spent a few days in the Big City, having to wait around for other people.

While I sat and watched I was amazed at the tens of thousands of people walking and texting or reading the devices in their hands or listening to things plugged into their ears, very few communicating with the folks beside them.

They all seemed to have developed bat-like radar senses and swerved around each other at the very last second, never raising their heads. The audible signals on the street lights are now not just for the visually impaired. As soon as the beep sounded, people moved en masse without ever looking at the color of the light.

I saw a cartoon with two people standing at the Pearly Gates, looking in horror at a sign that says, “No Cell Phones Allowed.”

The man says to the woman, “Surely, this must be Hell!”

But the boring week was over and after a hot, busy Saturday, we ended up on the deck in the backyard with a cold drink, just as the sun was setting. There was some old record on the record player, playing low and we caught up on our week. Just having a quiet conversation.

The neighbourhood was silent and we paused for a bit and watched the sunset turning the clouds a soft pink. We picked up the conversation again and just went from one topic to another as the heat of day faded back into the trees.

We didn’t make plans for the next day or the next week and we didn’t get involved with politics or religion, or anything controversial. We just took turns sharing stories.

As it got dark we could hear the rustle of a few nocturnal critters, no doubt sitting in the bushes wondering what we were doing in the dark, why we weren’t inside watching TV.

There is a porch light and some patio lights but neither one of us made any effort to turn them on, as if it would have broken some kind of spell.

What a great old fashioned way to spend an evening, and what a great relief it is to have someone there to talk to.

At least that’s what McGregor says.