Sunday, October 24, 2010

Touching (verboten)

I was at supper in a restaurant with my granddaughter,her uncle ,and two colleagues, when the up beat waitress, who couldn't remember my order, put her hand on my forearm to get my attention! "I'm sorry ",she laughed "I was so discombobulated, I forgot what you ordered!" After I confirmed my order,the granddaughter and my colleague were aghast! "She touched you!", they both said at the same time. My reaction was bewilderment. So what? All I noticed was nothing more than a friendly and an apologetic gesture. My grandaughter, who is 25, said, "They never do that!" I've thought about it since! Teachers don't proudly touch children who turn in good work any more! Your avuncular old pediatrician never gives a precious squeeze to his little patient. Grandad never bounces little Mary or Johnny on his lap. What is going on here? Not everything is sexualized! The world is in a spin of phobic correctness. Maybe it's my age but there was a time when you could pass the peace with those you knew and that mutual cherishing was accompanied by a comfort hug. Now when we pass the peace we shake hands or bow with hands folded prayerfully with those that worry about germs. Old friends cheek kissed as a matter of course! People who conquered the mountain together gave precious hugs to one another! It still happens, but all too often there is tentative hesitation . We seem to have entered a time when tactile expressiveness is guarded. I suppose for good reason at times, but it is a sad thing. For simple enthusiasm with one another, our human connectedness, we only have our voices and the five senses to utilize. That is ,all the five senses! Without them, we are looking at an alternative definition for six degrees of separation!

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