Person to Person

Person-to-person is best, you say.

I answer, sometimes, but not always.

Perhaps it depends on what you are used to, best at ease with, grew up with.

You can exchange ideas, like batting a ball back and forth in a ping-pong game.

On the other hand if it’s a chess game, you need time to ponder your next move.

You might never have learned to play the game. Nowadays most everyone plays ping-pong, or maybe tennis. Few there are who learn the moves of chess. Or perhaps of mah jong. 

Of course, there are other aspects of communication besides words. Fleeting changes in expression. Touch or lack of touch. Whether it is just you or whether there are others. And then there is time. Time –that evanescent thing one can never get hold of.

And how about letters?  They can reach beyond time. They can move back in time. Once said, words on a smartphone disappear. Time is here and gone at the touch of a finger. Today so much of communication depends on smartphones, where we are never “out of touch”. Where we are constantly batting words back and forth with an unseen opponent. We have become addicted to, dependent on, those small hand-held devices into which we are constantly consigning our thoughts. If, of course, these exchanges can be given the status of meaningful thoughts.

When we are seeking for information, we focus on those little squares with black pixelated designs – the QR codes – to tell us what direction to go, what we are looking at, which may mean we get to know when a building was built, or what it was used for, but we miss out on seeing how it changes as the sun moves through the sky, or how it glitters in the light – well yes, we might see these things too if we let time play a part and we are willing to sit still and wait.  Time again.  

We sit together at dinner and words seem unnecessary as we show each other a photo on our phone. It is up to us to fill in the rest.

I wonder sometimes if we have regressed to sign language, to Linear A, to the hieroglyphs of the Egyptians or the Cretans.  Or perhaps the Etruscans. Are we given concepts or words? Words can be transferred from one concept to another. Is a concept sufficient by itself? But a concept uses words. Here I’m getting much too philosophical and that definitely is not my field.

We do need to communicate, for various reasons. And being human beings our minds are never at rest, and communicate with themselves, with words.

Person-to-person, physically in touch, or on a smartphone. Or via a written word, whether on the computer, or a handwritten letter where the day can begin again and is never really lost and remains person-to-person with all its inherent possibilities.

10 thoughts on “Person to Person

  1. There are quite a few intriguing ideas here Erika! One that resonates with me is the allusion to sign language. One of my daughters learnt to sign and became a teacher to children who are deaf, and I have watched her in conversation, person to person. It’s a highly expressive language. There has even been an explosion of interest in BSL here in Britain since, a year ago, a popular actress who is completely deaf competed in – and won – our celebrity dance competition on tv. And in the Coronation concert last weekend a choir briefly switched from singing to signing – a very moving moment.


    1. Thanks John. Yes, getting into sign language is fascinating. One of the students in the Arizona study abroad program was deaf but participated. This year one girl is blind. I haven’t met her and of course she has her dog, who seems to be a marvel. I sometimes wonder what her impressions of Orvieto are and one realizes how important color is. Color, shape. And what does reading mean to her.
      Have you seen the movie CODA?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No I’ve not seen that. Her impressions of Orvieto would be formed through sound and smell I suppose. That and the kindness, one hopes and expects, of people around her.


  2. I love your insights. I also wish you Buona Festa della Mamme tomorrow! I hope to speak to you viva voce soon! Keep your posts coming. Baci da James II


  3. Cara, e sempre una gioia leggere tua memorie, di alcune abbiamo il privilegio che abbiamo condiviso con tè e tua famiglia. Ricordiamo per sempre, non dimenticami MAI. 💕Csaba


  4. Interesting that the TACTILE faculty is not raised. Many impressions and knowledge are gained by touching, stroking, feeling an object. Think of the many surfaces one encounters in ones daily life – in Orvieto’s Cathedral facade for example, the warmth or coolness, smoothness or roughness of the various materials. A “kaleidoscope” of sensations. Atilla.


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