could just ‘go ahead and text me the details’ on something she wanted me to
To which I replied, "I don’t text."
She looked at me like I had just slapped her grandmother. Apparently having
an actual conversation with me is a huge chore. But perhaps I shouldn’t take it
personally. Perhaps, by rolling her eyes and sighing loudly, she was saying
speaking in general is more difficult for her than typing a thousand
words on a microscopic keyboard.
Yes, instead of returning her dirty look, I should have been looking on her
with pity. How tedious that must be, going blind and onsetting carpal tunnel
typing all those conversations. And how maddening it must be for her, trying to
determine whether the person on the other end meant that remark sarcastically or
with real enthusiasm. How lonely, to spend more time staring at a screen than
at people’s faces.
Well, the upside is, she was so daunted at the thought of actually having to
speak to me outside of the meeting that she found someone else to volunteer for
her. Someone with a texting plan. Not that I would have minded volunteering
for the organization. But after those daggers she threw at me over not texting,
I was a little afraid that if she found out I don’t have a Smart phone, she
might have actually cut me.
I get that texting has its uses. Ten o’clock at night, you need to get a
message to someone before eight am the next morning, a text is a less intrusive
way to get the message to them. You need to remind eight different people to be
at the staff meeting the next day; much easier to send one text to all eight
people. But that’s hardly ever what it’s used for.
The whole concept of texting conversations back & forth has me baffled.
Do people think all that typing is faster than conversing? Is the goal to ‘cut
to the chase’ of every conversation? To avoid unnecessary chit chat? I’m not
that great at small talk myself, but it’s common courtesy to inquire what a
person’s been up to, or how their elderly mom is doing. And if it’s your
friends you are texting, why wouldn’t you want to know these things?
I was at a wedding a while back, and as the bride and groom exchanged their
vows, a teenager in the third row was busy texting. I agree that those
personally written vows can be brutal, but (according to Time magazine) this
couple had just spent nearly thirty grand for the right to regale us with the
details of their love for each other. The least she could have done was turn
off her damn phone for thirty minutes and smile politely, eyes front, like the
rest of us.
I’m not sure the topic of her conversation, but assuming she wasn’t a
physicist on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough, I’m certain it could
have waited until the reception. I’m guessing she wasn’t discussing String
Theory. She was probably commenting on the bride’s gown or complaining of being
bored or some other drivel rattling through her skull at that moment. Is that
it? Do people feel the need to document their every thought? Newsflash -
they’re not all gems. We need not share everything.
Maybe it’s not vanity. Maybe there’s a certain thrill to it, like sharing
secrets or passing notes in class. Watching someone chuckle as they send their
little messages back and forth to someone else does feel a bit like it did when
the other girls on the playground would giggle and whisper secrets in front of
me. Good times.
And I do remember the thrill of passing notes in class. It was fun, until
the note got intercepted by a teacher or a mean boy. My face is probably still
burning about that one dirty note addressed to me (as a joke) that ended up
being read out loud to the entire school bus. That’s right people, when you
send those naughty little texts to your buds, chances are, somebody else is
going to see them too. Remember what happened to that NFL player who sent a
picture of his junk? Who didn’t end up seeing that? Seriously guys, if
you’re going to do that, put a dollar bill in the shot next to it so we can tell
if we should be impressed or not.
While texting has its uses, I have serious concerns about what it’s doing to
our social skills. People actually get irritated with me for calling them
rather than texting them. I know very few people with Smart phones who don’t
let it constantly interrupt the conversations they have with the people who are
physically in their presence. (That’s another reason why I haven’t bought one,
because I know I’d be tempted to do the same thing.) Being textually social has
made us personally anti-social.
"I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The
world will have a generation of idiots." ~Albert Einstein