I remember my grandmother adding an egg and crackers to a meatloaf she was making and I asked her why she did that.
Her reply: “They make the meatloaf go further. They serve as a filler,” she explained.
In other words, they didn’t help the flavor, but the meatloaf would feed more people or last longer.
The idea of fillers came to mind this week as I thought about how many ways we use ‘fillers’ in our lives. I think of fillers as something to patch cracks, cover spaces, or mend something broken. For instance, how many times do I say ‘uh’ in a conversation? A lot, I must admit. And why do I use it so often? Primarily to avoid silence. If you have ever attended a Toastmasters meeting, you will notice that every time a speaker uses ‘uh’, someone rings a bell, pointing out to the speaker that it is an unnecessary word or sound. Sadly, my speech sounded like a bell choir practicing a new tune. No harmony, but a lot of ringing.
Which begs the question, is my use of emails, text messages, and facebook entries just fillers, helping me avoid silence, aloneness, or quality time with myself?
I’d probably say yes. We have conversations on our way to meetings, while we are waiting in a fast food line, as we walk up and down the aisles of the grocery store. These ‘conversations’ primarily serve as ‘fillers’, keeping us busy while we are doing something else.
Heaven forbid that I would drive from one end of town to the other, listening to my own thoughts, not sharing, but just ‘being’ with me. Quietness isn’t something that is valued with social media. We want to stay connected even if it is just a ‘filler’ between stops. There is no mental nutritional value in this exchange, but hey, it fills the void, just like caulking fills a crack in the bathroom tile.
Oh my, does that mean when I get a text from someone I’m just serving as their time ‘filler’? Uh…I’ve never thought of myself as a cracker in a meatloaf, but maybe….