The verb engage means to involve someone or to become involved…
As in: engage in conversation, engage in flirtation or even to engage in battle.
Recently my fella and I ran away to Europe for several weeks for the first time. Having never been before, we got lots of tips from experienced travelers. One of those tips was to sit in sidewalk cafés and watch people.
So we did.
We watched old married people, newly-marrieds, dating couples, family groups, flocks of teens and other tourists who watched us back. (the teens were fun! More on that in another post — note to self <write a blog about those kids in Paris and the college boy in Barcelona>)
The people we watched were thoroughly engaged in the moment: involved in conversations, taking part in real social interaction, discussing, enjoying, sharing food, wine, morsels, tastes, and kisses! One couple suddenly stood up, kissed each other then took each other’s seats and meals and switched the view they each had. What fun!
Nowhere did we see people texting, phoning or playing games or watching movies on devices. We saw engagement.
I know that life is different in North America. We’re rushed, indebted, underpaid, unemployed and still trying to pretend we’re not. But perhaps if we became more engaged in the moment, in the meal, in the people with whom we live, perhaps we can forget the rest of it and simply enjoy!
In storytelling what we as writers seek to do is engage the reader…we have many ways of doing that and some of us have mastered them. OH! to engage a reader the way I saw people engaging with each other…this, I think, would make for a bestseller.
Since our return from Europe I’ve fallen back into the habit of checking my email on my device after I’ve shut down my pc for the day. I tell myself I’m only taking a moment…but in truth, I am disengaging: from meal prep, from conversation, from time spent with the man in my life.
It’s early yet for New Year’s resolutions, but I think I’ve found one!
I think I’ll resolve to be engaged!