I’m in a rut today. I woke up late… and just can’t get started with my day. The internet’s down to boot… after spending wayyy too much time on the phone with Verizon yesterday, I still haven’t been able to get it to work. The good news(?) is that a service technician will come in 24-48 hours to look at it… *sigh* One slow clap for customer service ya’ll!!! Thanks to my neighbor’s unsecured connection, I am able to write this blog post today. *Sigh again*
I think this YouTube video sums up nicely how I’m feeling right now:
(I’m the cat on top of the ladder. The other cat is Verizon’s response. Good pictorial representation. Very good.)
So with that… let’s bite into the meat of this blog: my texting annoyances. Now, I’m not morally opposed to electronic texting… it has become a way of life in communicating with the outside world. It is indeed, very useful when you are nowhere near a cellphone tower; in a loud, crowded place; and apparently, during earthquakes. (During our DC “shakedown,” cellphone service went out for several hours; texting and email were the only ways that I could contact my family and friends to let them know I was okay.)
But texting is taking over our language and etiquette sensibilities. This fact is what I object to. Let me delineate my complaints to you, the general public:
(And please note, if you see yourself in my response, do not get offended. I do not have anybody in mind as I write my missive. Thanks!)
1.) Texting in a movie hall.
When I pay to see a flick, I would like to see the movie undistributed. Honestly, I don’t go to movie theaters often anymore because everybody has forgotten how to act. Gum smacking, loud gaffawing, Coca-Cola spilling idiots have taken over the movie experience. I have noticed a new unsettling trend of blowhards… actually T-E-X-T-I-N-G throughout the feature!!! Do they not realize that the light radiating from their cellphone annoys and distracts everybody around them? Civility has been officially lost.
Stories like this make me jump up in glee. Thank you Alamo Drafthouse. I wish your policies would carry over to (and/or be enforced by) other, lesser theaters.
2.) Texting in front of me
This one is a no brainer. When I am spending time with you, it’s rude for you to pull out your cellphone and start texting all of your friends in my presence. My father, who deals with life threatening emergencies on a daily basis (he’s a doctor) has the courtesy to put away his cell when we eat dinner out together. Your life ain’t that important.
I usually keep my cell in my purse when I’m spending time with my family and friends, unless we’re expecting others; or if I have to keep track of the time. (I don’t wear a watch… my bad.) But I spend time with my friends… to spend time with them. Not give them my half-a$$sed presence while I’m distracted by my cellphone’s rings and beeps.
3.) Texting me at 4 in the morning
My closest immediate family member lives 1,500 miles away from me. Thus, I feel that I have to leave my cellphone on 24/7 in case of emergency. While I appreciate you not calling me so early in the morning, a text beep is equally disconcerting when I’m asleep. Really, most communication can wait until the morning. (And if it really, truly is a “situation…” why are you texting me in the first place?)
4.) Texting when picking up the phone would be quicker
I see texting as one sided communication… get info out in 30 seconds or less, and move on.
But others actually carry on conversations via their cellphones… and expect me to play along(!) Some people in my life send me theses via text, cramping their fingers (I’m sure) in the process.
Texting, like email is a very informal way to communicate with others. Emotions doesn’t convey very well across a small cellphone screen… inflection and tone often gets lost in your words. Therefore, your well-meaning texts can get misinterpreted, causing misunderstandings. (Believe you-me: it’s happened more than once.) AND… why are you putting your already overly used fingers into overdrive… when dialing me on the cellphone WHICH YOU ARE ALREADY HOLDING IN YOUR HAND will get your point across much easier and faster? In the end, if you have something very important to say in 50 words or more, please pick up the phone; or send an email, if you don’t want to talk to me immediately, per se.
I do not want to carry a conversation via text… we should be able to get across what we want to say over 1-2 texts per person max.
5.) Texting… and expecting an immediate response
Related to what I just said above,I see texting as a one-sided conversation… just say what you need to say, ma’am. A text message is most useful for conveying information quickly (a sale that is on, a reminder about a birthday/event); but if you choose to ask a question that’s fine… it just should not be overly complicated. (e.g.,., Got any plans tonight?) Urgency isn’t conveyed very well in this medium.
So when you expect a response from me from a text you just sent, don’t hold your breath for too long. Responding to text communication is a pretty low priority for me.
There are a few reasons why expecting an immediate text response is a bad idea:
- In “certain” *ahem* cellular networks, text messages can actually get delayed or lost (yup, happens all the time in my ‘hood…);
- I do not have my cell on me at all times; it may be on silent; or I just may be somewhere where I cannot text back.
I tend to queue my responses to texts for when I’m on the bus, when I’m bored.. or when I’m wrapping up the day. In all likelihood, my schedule might not work within in your timeframe. Again, if you need an immediate answer, call. I’m more likely to return voicemails faster than texts, particularly if there’s timing involved. FYI.
6.) Texting on Social Networks.
SMS languages, otherwise known as Textese or txtese, is slowly pervading the English language. When I worked in HR, it was shocking how resumes of seemingly educated people were littered with “words” like “lol,” “thx,” “ur,” etc… it was sad. I respect that in the Twitter universe… as well as texting, you want to keep your posts short and sweet… but I fear as a writer, our English language (and especially grammar) has suffered badly due to this trend. I know I’m getting old when I say categorically that children don’t know how to speak or put together two sentences anymore…
Which is a long way to say… I don’t understand my Facebook status update page anymore. People have perfected Txtese to the point that I feel many are talking in a different language. I feel like a second grader again, phonetically sounding out every word on my news feed. Honestly, I usually get bored and move on. Good work guys. Yet another reason to keep off the social networks. (Outside of the awful redesigns that *certain* websites impose on us periodically… yeah, I’m relevant)
In the end, it’s presumptuous to think that everybody is text happy. Indeed, many people I know don’t even carry texting plans (or have limited texting plans) on their cellphones, and get charged 10 cents per message in overage fees every time you have a thought and send it to them via cell electronically. I, myself, text all the time… but I don’t use it to convenience you. Sad to say. If you need me at your beck and call text-wise… you can pay my cellphone bill. Deal?