So first it was a train whistle, then a souped-up engine revving. A few bells, a gong, wolf whistle… even though the hi-def, plasma television screen was black there was plenty of noise.

I was in the waiting room at my Honda dealer having routine service on my little civic. I counted 11 people in there, 7 of whom all had their personal electronic devices, thumbs and fingers flying over the virtual keyboards. Three men, four women. One guy a walking new age-jazz player. I never could figure out where the music was on him. Others coming and going as their cars were ready. Can people not sit and wait anymore without being entertained? Can we not be happy unless we have constant, instant access to news, emails, phone calls, messaging, alerts??

There were complimentary USA Today papers, so I read one glad I did not bring an iPad and do not have a smart phone, which likely would be too smart for me to understand how to use it anyway.

Only one young woman smiled at the lady sitting next to her. That lady had a pre-toddler in her arms and a daughter probably 9 or 10. Mom’s eyes darted frequently to roving daughter from her iPad screen. The baby squirmed and strained against his mother’s very strong encircling arm.

And no one spoke!

Ok, so one guy was sleeping in his comfy chair. There were maybe two or three couples who silently murmured to each other. God forbid anyone might hear their conversation. What, are they plotting something? Some dreadful thing no one must hear? Here we all live on this planet and have no or little interaction. People blame all this electronic stuff. Me? I don’t see why we can’t at least communicate– smile, nod, even dare to speak –to a stranger.

After all, how strange are we?