I love it, because it means I can “talk” to my Aunt Deborah multiple times a week, even if only for a brief moment, even if one of us takes a day (or longer) to return to our conversation.
I hate it, because any given conversation with any person could go on for days, with no obvious conclusion, just a trailing off at some random point.
I love it, because awkward silences no longer exist.
I hate it, because awkward silences perpetually exist.
I love it, because I can avoid actually talking on the phone but still talk to someone by returning his or her call with a quick text. This means, I am available to talk, sort of, but not by actually talking.
I hate it, because if I call someone and he or she doesn’t answer, I know that it’s likely I will get a text reply within five minutes. This means, I am available to talk, sort of, but not by actually talking.
It’s rare to meet someone now and to have him say, “I’ll call you.” I try not to smirk as I think, “You mean you’ll text me.” There are no more rules, like “wait two days and then call”— because we can text, now, and it's not that big of a deal, and who’s going to call anyone anyway?
Sometimes, if only rarely, that person actually calls. Isn’t it sad that this is a surprise?
And isn’t it wonderful?
With texting, I can be really direct. I can easily type out exactly what I mean, and be done with it, rather than stutter around the point like I might if we were talking.
But then there's the constant possibility of the mixed messages.
A simple period placed at the end of a statement can change the entire meaning of a message. A simple wink or a smiley face turns what might have been read as a passive aggressive, maybe even shitty comment into a “just kidddddding!” (Wink, wink.) And in my mind I’m thinking, I’M NOT FUCKING WINKING RIGHT NOW. BUT I DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT.
Or maybe I really am winking! YOU’LL NEVER KNOW!
And isn’t that even weirder, the thought that I am WINKING at you right now, right as you are reading that message?
If we all winked as much in face-to-face contact as we did over text messages, shit would get weird, really fast. My girlfriends and I would never have a real conversation, because we'd be too busy with all the winking and the LOLing and the haha-ing.
Anyway. I might have typed, “ok”—but was that it? Was there a smiley face after it? A wink? Nothing? Well, ok then.
But here’s this: Ok.
That doesn’t mean ok at all, now does it!
I could just as easily have sent the same message by saying:
YOU ARE PISSING ME OFF RIGHT NOW AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY BECAUSE THIS CONVERSATION IS GOING NOWHERE. SO OK.
But then again, maybe I really did just mean: Ok. That's it! Ok.
Ugh. Isn’t this all the worst? I don’t even know what I meant anymore. Can’t we just talk? Ok? Smiley face?
I blame my mother for my issues with texting. As a high school English teacher and the self-appointed GRAMMAR POLICE, she had no patience for bad grammar, even in pop songs. Uttering phrases like, “That sucks” or “Whatever” or “My bad” in the presence of my mother was a more reckless move than dropping an F-Bomb.
Can you imagine how she’d feel about all this shit?
LOL. OMG. “hahaha” OBVS. TOTES.
My mother died in 2002, right when I was just taking off my texting training wheels. I wonder if she would text now. While I like to think she’d stay fairly savvy with changes in technology, I just can’t imagine. She’d proofread every text! She’d likely be personally offended if I didn’t capitalize an “I” or forgot an apostrophe.
My bad, Mom.
Will you call me?
I probably won’t answer, but I’ll text you back as soon as I can.
You probably won't text me back, because you just read this and now think I'm insane.