Simply Socialising....



'That's no problem, I'm happy to wait', said I to my car service guy, who had just divulged a thirty minute wait. Of course I knew full well that in car-service-guy-speak, a sixty minute wait was much more likely. 

'Sure I have plenty to keep me occupied', I thought to myself, with a semi-charged iPhone in hand and a slew of tasks in mind.  There were social media sites to trawl, texts to send and maybe, hopefully, a blog post to write?

'Ah, howaya..... how's it going'? Says the Santa-bearded guy in conversational Dublin twang, who sat down beside me. 'Grand, how are you?' I replied, tearing my eyes from my screen and making full eye contact with this very friendly chap. 

I returned to my screen-based tasks when the conversation didn't move on from there . But he was persistent, was my new found bearded pal. 'What ya doing  there...... on yer phone are ya?' Says he, 'Ah sure, everyone's on their phones these days' he mused, a tad sadly. I agreed with him but told him what I was at, that I had a text that had to be sent now but otherwise I was very happy to put down my phone and to chat with him. To simply, socialise. 

So we had a lovely chat, about family, current technology and our apparent dependence on it. He didn't partake in online engagement himself, he didn't get it at all although he had a son who did. I agreed with some of his observations and shared my dislike of people on their phones at shop counters etc - I always put away my phone in these circumstances, or apologise if it's a necessary call. But I also shared the positives of online engagement, the conversational contact during the day when you're the stay-at-home-parent, home, alone, every day..... and I told him about the friends I've made through social media. I told him how some of these online friends are now friends in real life. I keep up with them in my daily social media trawls with a 'like' here, a kind, supportive word there and a giggle or two elsewhere. It's where I get my tea-break or 'water-cooler moment' - on tap, whenever I want.

He still didn't get it. Most people who don't engage with social media don't. And that's alright, so long as they don't judge those of us who do!

In time we were joined by a very friendly lady and our conversation moved on to other topics.

It was a wonderfully pleasant way to spend the wait time. No social media tasks were performed that day but I got to meet people that I wouldn't otherwise have done, and if no blog post was written I at least got fodder for one!

See, I like that. I enjoy these chance conversations one can have with random strangers, who share the little space in the world that you inhabit at any given moment. The shared experience that leads to simply, socialising. 

My more recent chance conversations have occurred in the swimming pool and spa that I go to, fairly regularly for recovery reasons.  In fact most of these conversations happen with a similarly bearded older gentleman. Although conversations had in steamy saunas tend to be short they can be quite interesting!  And it doesn't matter who you are or what you do as everyone in the pool area is the same, when reduced to swimwear! He's a lovely man, my other bearded pal, as is his wife whom I've met once. We chat about all sorts, and compare injuries and available reliefs! He has also chatted to my son and finds him to be 'a lovely young lad.' He recently talked to me about the young lads he hires on his farm, on a seasonal basis. Then suddenly, turning to my boy he asks: 'how old are you son'? with a glimmer of an idea visible in his eyes, through the hot haze of the Steam Room! 
'Hmmmm........' I thought to myself, with thoughts of Transition Year work experience and a summer job glimmering in mine!

I enjoy these real-life chance conversations and the people you meet. You never know where these contacts will lead and what friendships will be born..

Just like on social media. I really don't see the difference. Social media just expands these possibilities.

See, Looking for Blue Sky is a very good friend whom I originally met through Facebook and Blogging, and we are now good friends in real life too. Thanks to that chance meeting some years ago I got to be a guest on her fabulous blog with this post last week. And thanks to her kind offer my post won me the prize of attending the launch of  'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' in London tomorrow.

This would never have happened without my involvement in social media!

I'm very excited about this exclusive Netflix event and although I don't know anyone going, only some of my fellow Irish Parenting Bloggers with whom my path has crossed briefly online, I'm not worried. 


Not at all.


There'll be cocktails, you see.


And I'll just be myself and .....


Simply, socialise!




7 comments:

  1. More than half my socializing in done online atm but without it I'd wouldn't know you or Canid (Looking for blue sky) or any of my other blogging friends. My life is richer for knowing you all and socializing with you.

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  2. @Midlife Singelmum: Nor would I know you and I totally agree with you. My life is totally richer from meeting you all too :-) xx

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  3. Loved this post J. Really made me think. Social Media has been a lifeline for me at times being away from home and all that, but I can see how easy it is to get sucked in, and for that to be your only contact with people. Social Media is only really great in my eyes, when it is really social, whether that means giving people your full attention even when you are trying to do something, or meeting people in real life through it, and become "real" friends instead of purely "virtual" ones! :D

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  4. It's a balance isn't it? The internet has definitely enriched my life and I'm thrilled to have made so many real life friends as a result - and when I meet them, the phones are firmly put down...xx

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  5. Isn't it so lovely meeting perfect strangers and having a chat? I just love it. Social media is amazing for meeting people, especially those in similar situations. I really enjoyed meeting you and Blue Sky in person and as Arnie says, "I will be back!". Have a fabulous time in London, what an awesome treat.

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  6. @BavarianSojourn: I can imagine for ex-pats like yourself that social media is a lifeline. And I agree, it's not the be all and end all but it shouldn't be casually brushed away by those who don't get it? And sometimes I find it all too much myself and I take a break from it. A bit like when you're not feeling too sociable in real life and you lie low for a bit. I guess it's as good as we make it :) x

    @Looking For Blue Sky: Yes. That's exactly it, it's a balance! And most definitely the phones are put down when we meet!

    @Bright Side of Life: Yes, I do love it. I think meeting you with Blue Sky was one of those brilliant moments that show the power of social media in bringing similarly-minded people together in real life! We were already friends online and meeting up, considering you live in South Africa, was truly amazing!! And I look forward to your return ;-)

    Thanks for your comments and apologies for delay in replying, I haven't even shared this post much online! I've been busy in London you see!! xx

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  7. What a great post. I'm thinking your Santa fella might have been the real guy XXX

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