Let me just say, right up front, that I’m not a linguistics snob. I don’t get caught up with tiny little grammar rules – I mean, some of them can be as uptight as Clara of Mayberry fame. And almost as much fun at parties. Almost.
I’ll absolutely begin a sentence with “And” – never thinking twice about it. I’m usually a stickler for spelling but I do half agree with Andrew Jackson, who said, “It is a damn poor mind indeed which can’t
think of at least two ways to spell any word.”
My text messages don’t even resemble the mother tongue half the time. My daughters, my husband and I kind of have our own language and we’re pretty confident no one would ever be able to decipher any of our messages to one another. When it comes to blog posts, casual e-mails, and text messaging, the casual way is the only way.
However, when it comes to actually communicating, as in face to face, I’m frankly alarmed at what I see and not hear. It’s becoming a lost art. It really, really is. People, as a rule, are forgetting everything they were ever taught about manners, and half of what they ever knew about communication skills.
My daughter, Brittany, works at a retail store in the mall. I picked her up from work the other day – and, being the sweetheart that I am, I had a Caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks waiting on her. I asked her how her day went, and after the straw released her mouth, she said, “Okay, but I can’t believe how many people Google me.”
Most of the time, the things out of my girls’ mouths make perfect sense to me, but I needed a little clarification for this one.
She explained that people will just walk up and say what they’re looking for, like “ladies pants” or “mixers” – like they’re entering what they want in a search field. Then they wait for their “results,” and when she tells them exactly how to get to their item, they head off on their way. It’s kind of like they’re Shopping Pods or Robots….you know, something not totally human.
Whatever happened to, “Excuse me, could you please tell me where I can find the dvd players?” and “Thank you!” Of course, some might say whatever happened to getting a little extra exercise and walking until you found what you’re looking for – but doing things for yourself is a sore spot with some people and another lost art, so we won’t go there.
Communicating is a skill that has to be practiced to stay sharp. Left on the shelf, it’ll get rusty and we all know rusty tools are good for only one thing.