Edith Bowman talks communication
Communication – it’s what I studied at university and it’s central to my job, but I genuinely feel we are losing the ability to communicate with each other on a personal, human level. I am as guilty as the rest of spending way too much time on social media, and using text and emails to regularly converse with people. When was the last time you picked up the phone to talk to someone?
That argument was tested recently on a family trip to California. One day, my husband took our two boys, Rudy, eight, and Spike, three, to the cinema to watch Sing, while I went shopping. I finished with a good 40 minutes to spare, with no kids, no work – nothing to do except whatever I wanted. I spied a sushi restaurant next to the cinema, lit with an angelic-like beacon.
A CHANCE MEETING
‘Table for one,’ I told the maître d, feeling a bit like Amy Adams in The Muppets film. I was directed to a place at the sushi bar with no one either side of me. After ordering my favourite lunch, a gentleman sat down to my left. As I devoured my sashimi, miso soup and edamame, I asked the waiter for a green tea.
‘Where is that accent from?’ the man to my left asked. I replied: ‘Scotland, but I live in London.’
Over the next 30 minutes, I took part in an interesting, light-hearted chat with a total stranger. We talked careers, family, Los Angeles, alternative healing, Joshua Tree – and then I asked for the bill.
‘I’ll get this,’ he said.
‘As a thank you for your company. I normally eat alone and it’s a lovely gesture to make at this festive time of year.’ I had no reply except for: ‘Thank you. Have a happy new year.’
I left in such a positive mood. After that random encounter, I deliberately struck up conversations with people I acquainted. It made me really happy.
We travelled up to Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada mountain range to visit family and do a bit of skiing. While my kids and husband were at ski school, I flew around the piste on my snowboard and enjoyed the lift rides as much as the boarding.
NO MORE FLYING SOLO
I joined other riders on their journey up the mountain and made an effort to strike up conversation. From 18-year-old Ross, who, prior to starting school in Washington, was volunteering with disabled riders and skiers, to Jeff, a script writer in his 60s, who had been coming to Mammoth for over 30 years.
Those five-minute journeys filled me with hope for the human race and our ability to still talk to each other, be interested, and want to communicate the old-fashioned way.
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Read more: Edith Bowman on being a working mum