As I watch individuals walking alone on the street, chatting to invisible parties, I have come to appreciate the craziness they are unknowingly sharing. Hand gestures, facial inflections, and movements of frustration are all on display to everyone but the person on the other end of the conversation. While I am confident that some of what I can see comes through in the tones and staccato sounds that follow the movements, the visuals being played out can be comical and unknowingly insightful.
My informal and unscientific conclusions, after watching at least eight of these over the past twenty-four hours, starts with the premise that we reveal our hearts when we think no one is watching.
Almost universally, we get louder when we want to be heard or think we are not being heard. One should not conclude that because one is loud that the speaker does not think they are being heard, the visuals support that loud cars, trucks and busses play a role. Also, the quality of the microphone, mobile device, and network connection (good versus bad) contribute.
Anger is frequently dumped on the person you are talking with, regardless of their role in the underlying issue. From the one side I can hear, the buried acknowledgement by the person (often screaming) that s/he knows it is not their fault, does not change the reality that one is screaming.
When you are walking alone and in your own space with someone that you cannot physically see, the conversations are often all about you. Again, recent incidents are dominated by intense talking, not listening. It is as if the person is trying to create a larger stage in order to be heard. In these cases, one-man shows that seem independently produced without interruption, thought, or guidance.
To each that I was subjected to as I walked nearby as well as to myself, I want to share an old writer’s enduring advice; “If you’re going to be angry, be angry with the pagans who care nothing about you, or your rival kingdoms who ignore you.” (Psalm 79.6)