I’ve been here in Chile almost three weeks now. It’s been a quiet time of visiting with friends and getting my feet on the ground.
When I say quiet, I mean mostly “silent.” Compared to my old apartment, which is just a couple of blocks away, this fifth-floor apartment is like a monastery. It took me two weeks to realize that I was hearing the bell and siren from the nearby fire station. All that noise used to rise up to my 16th floor apartment. Now, I barely hear it.
Here, I’m surrounded by other buildings. Outside noises are muffled, and I never hear the cacophony from the street that used to keep me awake at night.
Last Tuesday, when I went down to my apartment lobby to check the mail, another woman was there at the same time.
Sigi’s* a little German lady who’s probably lived here since the building opened back in the ’60’s. I was a little taken aback that she was standing there in her housecoat and bath slippers, telling me about a workman damaging one of her walls. She was waiting on the repairman to come and give her an estimate.
I was there when he walked in. A young man, he gave her the once-over. His eyes went wide when he noticed her attire. I give him credit for trying hard to focus on her face instead of staring at her clothes.
With the upcoming ban on using laptops and tablets on flights to the US from 56 routes, I’ve heard many laments and questions about how to pass the time on long flights.
In a online group, I saw the question posed, “What do I do with my 4-year old on our 12-hour flight?”
Keeping young children busy on a long flight is a real challenge for parents. Back in the Dark Ages, pre-computer days, when I used to fly with Phillip, I always went shopping ahead of time. In the carry-on, I packed his favorite snacks, books both familiar and new, and a special grab bag of never-before-seen (or played with) items that I’d bought especially for the trip. Little items picked up at the dollar store could entertain my hyperactive child for a long time.
The other night, I went to a new wine tasting group for the first time. When I arrived, there were two women sitting at a long table.
I sat down next to the younger one, and she immediately stuck out her hand in greeting.
A long time ago, back in my youth, someone, somewhere, maybe the home economics teacher, taught a class in social etiquette. There were many rules of behavior. Some of them had to do with dating manners, such as men walk nearer the curb when escorting a woman down the street. Sounds quaint now, but originally, it was meant to protect her from the street muck in the horse and buggy days.
Why do people hate to talk on the phone these days?
I could understand it better in Chile, where many people used pay-as-you-go phone plans. They only paid for minutes used. Instead of talking, they used texting or the free app, WhatsApp, to contact their friends and make plans. No one that I knew actually used their cell phone for conversation.
I’m in the US now, where most people have unlimited talk and text plans. We can call from coast to coast and talk as long as we want, but what do we do? We choose text over talk.