I feel so blessed that in the past few weeks I’ve had wonderful dinners with friends that involved conversations that reverberated long after the meals were over. One impromptu dinner was prefaced by a visit to an exhibit that made my eyeballs and imagination sing. Later our wine was laced with spicy gossip and art talk. Another dinner of salmon en croute was eaten while I played Bananagrams with friends who are as obsessed with word games as I am. And on yet another occasion, we talked about the places we’ve been and the ones on our most-wanted lists. Dreams and plans and what-ifs. During my dinners with friends, our wandering talk took us from the right way to grow gardenias to weddings in Tuscany to political outrage. The food ranged from burritos to sautéed bok choy to homemade macaroni and cheese. None of these evenings could have happened via Facebook or Twitter or email. They had to be in the flesh, in the moment, improvisational and impromptu, the verbal equivalent of a Keith Jarrett concert. Sometimes it’s so easy to have 140-character chit chat that I forget it’s the fast food version of conversation. And when I have the real thing, I wonder how I settled for less.