TAPDANCE: A Writer Wednesday Post

August 8th, 2012 | Posted by Irene in Essays | Uncategorized


Actions Speak Louder, lettering, photo
and all text © Irene O’Garden, 2012.


To listen to this post, please click here:TAPDANCE

While I hate to start with my punch line, it is this week’s photo…

This above-lettered phrase became the subject of this week’s post when I heard my husband laugh. The scrap of paper I’d scribbled it on had fallen from my pocket and he picked it up. It’s the locomotive and the caboose of a train of thought that runs this way:

It feels like an outright miracle that when we have questions nowadays, we have access to a beautiful instant mass of answers. I’m not even talking fumbling in fusty cubicles with microfilm and microfiche. Questions that might have occasioned a phonecall some years ago now only warrant not even a push of a button, but a simple tap for an answer.

Not a tap like one hammered into a maple tree, and the subsequent patient weeks as the pail fills.  Not a tap born of years of sweaty practice that result in a crackling-clickety-rhythmic Ruby Keeler number. Not even the effort it takes to pull a mug of draft beer. Answers appear with the softest of taps: fingertip on screen.

Everything’s on tap now—music, movies, books, pictures, communication, friends themselves, it seems. Hot and cold running information, entertainment, communication available round the clock at our slightest whim. The genie seeps out with less effort than it takes to rub a lamp.

It means many answers no longer have to be violently wrested from life. But this also means that I might not call my piecrust friend for advice on finessing a bushel of peaches. Why “bother” her when I can get the answer online without disturbing her day?

Of course the genie won’t fill you in on the first tooth or the polished manuscript or the quirky cousin.  The genie can’t pick up your child,  mix you a mojito when you’re tapped out, or make you ache with uproarious laughter. The genie won’t ask you for any favors, but it can’t do you any, either. And it can’t volunteer your time, either.

With all due respect to the genie, many of life’s most meaningful answers arrive only in physical action and interaction. I’ll have more to say about online-life. For now, as we tap, tap, tap, let’s remember to tap the many delights of three-dimensional friendship. Take an action. Call a friend. Volunteer. Remember, even websites themselves exist because people take action.


Have you tapped or been tapped lately?

INCIDENTALLY: You can now read my very short story Off The Grid at Green Hills Literary Lantern. It’s a Women-on-Fire-like monologue taking place in Alaska.

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  • MJ

    Brilliant! Your idea happens to resonant quite extraordinarily with a recent experience I had with round robin emails. I know I’m slightly off point, but induldge me please. With the inflexion and expression gone from the mix, it’s all too easy for us to be insensitive in sanitized communications mediums like text and email. Sometimes when emotions are in play, email discussion can escalate like a small brush fire in a dry forest on a breezy day. The next thing you know, you’ve got a serious blaze that’s threatening to consume everyone in its path. That’s when it’s often best to just pick up the phone and talk, or better yet meet and look someone in the eye when you say that thing you think you so desparetely need to get off your chest. The experience of real human interaction might just convince you that it doesn’t really need to be said afterall.

    • IreneOGarden

      MJ, I don’t think you’re off point at all–that flat affect in email and text frustrates us all, and I’m so happy to hear you make that physical connection with people when you sense a risk. thanks for your heartfelt reply–I could feel that through your text!

  • Linda O’Brien

    Amen! We have just returned from a long weekend of camping with 2 of our grand children who rely on tap for everything. Here we are in a wonderful park, with swimming, hiking trails games to be played, biking, tennis, hoops, and live music on Saturday night. Hot dogs and burgers on the grill. They would rather tap or watch TV (impossible as we don’t get a signal). So after dinner the 1st night, they watched a movie – and the next morning mean grandma took the tap-ers away. Outsider with you Much weeping and wailing, moaning and groaning but they did find something to do. They wer allowed to call mom and dad to say goodnight.

    So off grandpa would go for bikes rides and grandma did crafty things, we did chores (I learned how to twist arms that leave NO marks) and tried to enjoy the days.

    I worry about the younger tap-ers. “Texting is the only way to have a truly private conversation” my grand daughter tells me as we sit on the bed talking quietly about friendships. Of course I think 24 hour news is too much, too. Has thinking and expressing an original (not reactive) thought gone?

    Keep up the thoughts Irene, Love them

    • IreneOGarden

      What good work you are doing, Linda–helping the young ones learn physicality and emotionality! You’re making it possible for them to clearly experience their own thoughts and feelings–necessary before there can be original thought! Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Scott Laughead

    I fear that some of these genie taps are making decision making a bit too easy. It’s too easy to “friend” someone and to spend money via “paypal” to name a few of the tap decisions. Thanks for making me think about keeping it down home with my pals.

    • IreneOGarden

      Thank you, Scott. Glad you friended me in person so many years ago!

  • Thank you so much for this! I agree and love both the tapping and the hugging! I am and will always be an eyeball to eyeball heart to heart girl most of all. Looking forward to the “in person experience with you SOON! I also have some thoughts about the evolutionary purposes of all this tapping that we can chat about when we are 3 dimensionally together.

    • IreneOGarden

      Looking forward to all three dimensions with you, Dana–Thanks for your comment!

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