From Love Notes to Text Messages

Together But Alone...

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"It takes a little bit of mindfulness and a little bit of attention to others to be a good listener, which helps cultivate emotional nurturing and engagement." --Deepak Chopra

Two young, very busy, very much in love 20 somethings- sitting across each other in a cozy booth, the lights fairly dim for a casual restaurant, cigarette smoke clouds the air on a chilly winter night in 1978.

She sits eagerly on the edge of her seat, while he glides the napkin from under the silverware, asks the waiter for a pen, and begins to write on the paper napkin. She eagerly awaits even though it feels like forever, even though it’s only been a couple of minutes, watching in anticipation while he continues to write, stops, smiles at her, and returns to the napkin.

Sentence after sentence he writes. Finally, the napkin is full of writing. He folds the napkin in half and passes it across the table for her eyes only.

Writing notes to each other and passing them across the table was a ritual shared early in their engagement and marriage. Sweet and tender, they would take the first few minutes of time together and write thoughts out and share their innermost secrets. Kind, thoughtful notes, expressions of love shared profoundly and forever imprinted on paper. Moments to savor.

Writing notes on napkins to some might seem like a ridiculous habit reminiscent of middle school especially sitting across from each other when they had plenty to talk about. But, this ritual set the tone for the evening, grounded and focused their intentions toward each other. A sense of well-being to appreciate the little things…

Together and never alone.

Two older, very busy, still in love 60 somethings are sitting across from each other in a casual, quiet restaurant, with soft lighting and light background music on a snowy night in 2018.

She sits comfortably in her chair while he is on the phone sending “one last-minute email” before he settles in and asks the waitress for a glass of wine.

She checks her phone and responds to their daughter’s text.

The phone rings, and he takes the call stepping outside for a few minutes.

In the meantime, she checks Facebook, then decides to post a cute picture of her dog on Instagram since she has a few minutes.

While texting her son, her husband walks back in the restaurant and sits across from her while complaining about the slow service.

The entire hour they spend together is more of the same. Texting, checking email, checking email some more, googling who is on Fallen tonight, and checking email again. More time is spent on their phone than with each other…

Together, but sometimes alone.

In the booth across the way sits a young 20 something couple sitting next to each other. They’ve been there for 5 minutes and have not spoken to each other yet – only raising their head to tell the waitress what they would like to drink.

She is on the phone talking, and he’s on the phone texting or playing a game. Their drinks arrive, they politely look up and thank the waitress and return to the critical task in front of them, their phones, sitting side by side –

Together but alone.

Looking around the restaurant she notices children with iPads perched in front of them, playing games and eating fries.

Little children, toddlers, navigating iPhones and playing games while mom and dad are doing whatever they’re doing with their phones.

No one is looking at each other, and no conversations are occurring, no laughter, no chatter, no coloring on children’s menus,

no writing love notes on napkins…

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