Society has been progressively moving away from the tangible and towards the intangible, with everything being electronic. Paper copies are exchanged for electronic copies. Books are replaced by e-readers. Faceook conversations and internet stalking replace real relationships. In the midst of this technological revolution, I sometimes feel as though I am being coming less tangible and more invisible. I have less in-person conversations, less local friends, etc. This is most apparent at church. I have felt repeatedly that there have been conversations about me but not to me or with me. I have already cited one example-- a typical gossip chain that spanned the continental United States. However, it happened again this past Sunday. The president of our woman's organization came up to me for a brief chat.
President: I heard from someone that you were really busy? What are you up to? How are you doing?
First and foremost, let it be said that I really like this woman. She is a great, smart, down-to-earth, woman. What I have to say doesn’t really change my opinion of her but…..
Can I just tell you how tired I am of hearing the phrase, “I heard from someone.” Who is your informant? If I had conversations with anyone at church, this might be explained. But I am not having conversations with people. The few “conversations” I am lucky enough to engage in seem to fall under the category of listening fests—where I listen to their woes and worries rather than being able to share my own. Plus, I am locked away in a tiny room for 2/3 of church while I body check 4-year olds. Trust me; I am not having meaningful conversations with any adults during this time. Which begs the question, “where are you getting this crap?"
Is it so hard to just ask me how I am doing? To give me a phone call? Heck, even an email will suffice (even though it would be nice to have an actual face-to-face or a voice-to-voice conversation now and again to make me feel more substantial). I just hate being told through some chain how I am supposedly doing. It is like the child’s game of telephone: the message invariable gets garbled. Because, no, I am not particularly busy right now. My thesis has been successfully completed and can be submitted to the school. I am currently only working part time. And while I have traveled to two conferences this month, I am home most nights and have been at church most Sundays. It’s not like I am UNAVAILBLE.
As you can see, I am a bit disheartened right now. I really would like to connect with some of the ladies in my ward, especially as it looks like we are going to be here for a while. However, it is also apparent that there is no need for anyone to make an effort to get to know me and see how I am doing since they seem to have their own independent source of information about me. Never mind that it is UNACCURATE and MISLEADING.
So, I have come to the conclusion that I am currently invisible, at least to a large sector of the local population. How else do you explain the supposed interest but lack of direct contact? Is there a cure to this invisibility? Can I make myself more tangible and substantial? I feel like there is a catch 22. One part of me thinks that if I want to feel connected and to build ties, I have to make the effort. I have to be the one who starts conversations and initiates plans. However, the other part of me, the spiteful part, thinks, “why should I even bother? Obviously, they don’t care. They don’t even care enough to find out first hand what is going on in my life.”
So obviously, I know what I should do, but what would you be inclined to do in the given situation?