No surprise we often get the wrong end of the stick

Autumn is drawing in
Autumn is drawing in
Clive Smith is disgusted that a priest said he hopes Prince George grows up to be gay  Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: What decade is this out-of-touch priest living in?

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These days we tend to do much of our communication via text and e-mail.

So much is passed through the written word that it’s no surprise we often get hold of the wrong end of the stick.

There is no intonation to an e-mail or a text.

We can add as many emojis as we like, but if a person can’t hear the tone of your voice, then they can easily misconstrue what you’re saying.

Equally, what has become of the phone call?

I’ve spoken to several people recently who say that they are now phone-phobic.

They prefer instead to just send whatever it is they are trying to impart via a text.

There can be a satisfying element to this.

Once the text has left our brains via our fingers and is winging its way to the recipient, then we can clear it from our mental checklists.

However, without a human touch, things can go awry.

Gone are the merry days when one could pretend not to have received a text.

Nowadays we can tell if a message has been delivered or even read.

But back in the early Noughties (and the good old days of the Nokia 3210), one had no idea whether or not one’s message had truly not arrived, or if one was simply being mugged off.

Many of my friends say that if their landline rings, then it means one of only three things.

It’s either their parents, it’s PPI or someone’s dead.

Nothing too dramatic there then.

My eldest daughter spends many an evening chattering away to her best friend on Facetime via my phone.

But I’ve had to write a list of emergency numbers for her because, of course, she never dials any.

It didn’t dawn on me until a couple of years ago when she was eight that she had never had cause to phone anyone – simply unheard of in the 80s!

When I was growing up, I was moaned at continually by my parents for spending hours on the landline to friends that I had only just spent an entire school day with.

How times change.

LEAVING PHONE AT HOME IS A TANTALISING TASTE OF FREEDOM

On the subject of communication, I can’t be the only person who gets absolutely sick of being available 24/7.

I have recently taken to deliberately l Autumn and near-hibernation

brings ‘hygge’ to the fore eaving my phone at home and switching the e-mail notifications off periodically.

Whenever I do, it is as if a physical weight has been lifted.

To be able to go somewhere, alone, and for not one other person that you know on this planet of billions to be able to contact you – or even know where you are – is a rare thing these days (and not a bad thing).

To me, the sheer liberation of deciding to disappear, if only for a couple of hours, and to leave the phone at home, is a tantalising taste of freedom.

Do you agree?

AUTUMN AND NEAR-HIBERNATION BRINGS ‘HYGGE’ TO THE FORE

I’ve seen several newspaper articles recently about the Danish concept of ‘hygge’, which I wrote about last winter.

I’ve also spotted books on the subject.

Now that the days are darkening and autumn is drawing in, I imagine we shall start to see even more.

Hygge is more than cosiness.

It is a sense of sheer completeness, and although you can experience it at any time of year and in myriad scenarios, there is something about autumn and our near-hibernation that brings it to the fore.

Just the sight of leaves beginning to turn brown, or the crackle of kindling catching in the fireplace, is enough to do it.

Have yourself some hygge this week.