Every time this thread gets bumped up, it reminds me of Toot's observation that it's the little comments and conversations when you're physically together but maybe not actively conversing - those times when you randomly and sporatically make a comment here and there - that makes up the fabric of relationships and families. None of the comments are individually worthy of the additional effort it takes to get someone's attention -- nor even repeating, but in aggregate, make up a closeness between two people.
There are lots of times now that people in our house or family might be pursuing separate leisure activities while in the same space. It's an illusion of "togetherness" but you're not actually sharing an experience.
Just today, Mother and I were sitting together in the surgery waiting room waiting for the doctor to come out to talk to us. We each had our waiting "entertainment". Mine was working remotely, hers was a book on tape and stitching. I found the ear buds to be hugely isolating during a very stressful morning. Yes, she was RIGHT there, but we were having very different experiences of the situation. I was hearing things that were going on, or occasionally thinking of things like, "Oh, what about xyz thing that we should ask the doctor when he comes out?" but it felt like I may as well have been sitting there alone - and actually worse, that there was a wall up, like I wanted/expected to easily converse because she was there but also at the same time not.