From the Department of Redundantly Redundant Titles…
Okay, so I took a vacation to Gettysburg with my Dad earlier this month. It was great. Click for Pics! I didn’t expect to basically enjoy being on a Civil War battlefield but I did. I was struck by the oddity of it. The land is so beautiful there…. but thousands of people died there. Is the land above the death that human hands have wrought? Was it just a natural occurance? With so many having died there, shouldn’t there be essentially a scar left on the Earth? Instead, I sat on a stump just above Devil’s Den for almost an hour, talking with my Dad about what could have happened there. Rebel sharpshooters trying to pick off Union troops on Little Round Top 500 yards away with ball and musket… how incredibly good they had to have been with such crappy technology to manage that. How horrible it must have been… the smell of gunpowder, blood, and screams. But it was still an incredibly gorgeous place… and the history is humbling. I want to see Antietam and Manassas now.
I’m also reminded during the trip of an oddity in life… how there are some people who I just never really have trouble understanding their voices. My Dad and I didn’t really go at it like chatterboxes or something, but my Dad’s voice is like a touchstone voice for me. I know what he’s saying almost all the time. Even with a full beard (ex: it’s hard to lipread people with full beards). Of course, my Mom and Dad’s voices were the ones I heard as a baby. The voices I grew up with. I’ve been hearing my Dad’s voice for 37 years. And it’s not just voice. It’s body language, shared history… it makes communication easy for me.
I use this to segue into a simple discussion of friends. I have quite a few people I would consider to be friends, but truth be told, I know little about them. It’s hard for me to make friends now as an adult. When I was a kid, you could just run up to a group of kids, challenge them to a football or baseball game… and you’d make friends. Let’s ride bikes, let’s shoot some hoops, how far can you hit a ball… nowadays, that doesn’t do it. How do I tell these people that I consider them friends, even if I don’t know much about them? I learn things about my friends in very small pieces now. Example: I had lunch today with the Tech Comm group. A bunch of people I would consider to be my friends, like Andrew, Eric, Derek, Ben, Donna, Melanie, Anne… It was in a fairly nice bar (Hamlin Pub), but the noise level was such that I couldn’t make out their voices with any consistency. I could sit there, eat my hamburger and fries, and watch their body language… watch them laugh and smile, and know we we having fun… but not know WHY. The largest piece of conversation I was able to hear was between myself and Eric. I learned Eric drives a LONG way to work and had a Doctor appointment later in the day.
Heck, I’ve known some of these guys for over 10 years or nor (Andrew and Donna), but I still don’t know their voices in the same way I know my Dad’s voice, or my Mom’s or Brother’s voices… do they know I consider them to be friends? Do they understand that I’d like to be able to talk to them, the way everyone does around that lunch table? I just… can’t hear over all the TV sets and music and all the other people talking? Does my sister in law know that I’d like to be able to carry on an actual conversation with her once so I can learn who my brother fell in love with?
To be perfectly literal… it’s not easy for me to communicate, and I just wonder if the people I know realize this, and accept it. I’m sure they do on some points, but its often an odd feeling… sitting around with friends, feeling accepted at that table, but hating the fact that I can’t join in the conversation.
Just random thoughts I have…