dalliance (DAL-ee-anss), noun
A brief, casual flirtation with or interest in someone or something; the act of tarrying rather than proceeding swiftly and deliberately.
My dalliance with starting this page has been a cause of great anxiety. Finally, I have pushed aside my hesitancy and followed through with it! Having lived on both sides of the age of the internet, I remain suspicious of the usefulness of technology knowing full well that things like this page would be impossible without it. I am worried, however, for the things we are losing because of our newfound companionship in technology.
When my parents forced me to get a cell phone in 2002, I was in the tenth grade and didn’t tell my friends for two years. When Judi found it in the middle consul of the 1990 Suburban I drove, she was horrified. “What is this?” she asked. It was a turning point in our friendship. I don’t think I had even memorized the number until Judi made me. She called me and asked me at school why I didn’t pick up my phone. I never turned it on. Those were the days when friends patiently waited for twenty minutes if I were late. Now I cringe as I walk across the parking lot answering my phone to say, “Yes yes, I’m in the parking lot. I’ll see you in a minute.” It’s 10:01. I’m one minute late.
The rapidity of technology has pushed aside our patience. Like chivalry, we may will never get it back. We sit in waiting rooms texting, talking, playing games on our phones because one minute of unused time is too uncomfortable to waste. The people around us will certainly think I have nothing better to do it I am simply sitting, waiting.
Which is why, I believe, something like dalliance is harder and harder to come by, at least successfully (and of course if I have at all understood the word correctly). How can I be coy with the boy next to me when he won’t look up from his phone. Instead I will have to get on an online dating site, hoping that if I check all the right boxes, I will be matched with someone as dreamy as he is. Later I will casually ask why he was in the waiting room at the dentist’s office two months ago. He will be horrified that I know what dentist he uses. I will explain that I use that dentist too and I’ve seen him there, that he simply did not look up from his phone when I was sitting right next to him. I will flirtatiously say that it was my incredible fortune that our mutual friend the dating site happened to match us together. But I have already lost my opportunity. He thinks I am crazy because my attempt at dalliance has revealed that I had nothing better to do while waiting for the dentist than look around at the other patients and then miraculously find them later online.
This word, dalliance, is a suitable word with which to start the year. It explains my hesitance to give my brain over to trusting the internet more than my own senses. I would rather remain casually interested in what it has to offer than jump in head first into the wonders of iphones and kindles. Yet, in an effort to write every day I will take use the internet and take a word from my “The Words You Should Know to Sound Smart 2012 Daily Calendar” and use them as starting points to write. For exercise in a world where casual flirting has been disrupted by the swiftness of technology, I will lean back, happily knowing that I feel completely at ease leaving my phone home when I go to the store because I would rather look up than down and would rather talk to the clerk in the vegetable isle than bump into him because I was too busy flinging my fingers across a screen.