(Warning: some naughty words…)
I don’t do it.
I don’t text for, what I think is a very good reason.
I just don’t like it.
Of course, I am acutely aware that I am probably the last person on the planet who doesn’t text and that makes me some kind of a Luddite knuckle dragger, and I don’t care.
I honestly don’t see the point of it.
What R you doing?
What R you doing later?
Man, what a riveting way to connect, right?
Now, this is not a condemnation of the whole texting thing.
Not at all.
It’s just for me, it’s a pretty stupid way to communicate.
I really don’t get it – typing away on a keyboard tinier than the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff hopes, misspellings rectified by an auto correct function programmed by a Grade 3 Spelling Bee loser. And because the auto correct is a useless piece of crap, if you decide not to use it, you have to manually fix all the mistakes yourself, a chore only slightly less frustrating than trying to teach your grandmother how to send an email.
Seriously, why not just make a phone call? I still own a flip phone and (yup), I use it for phone calls. That’s why I got it – to make and take the occasional call. If I need to get a hold of someone, I make a call.
Now, I understand that sometimes a quick text like “I’m running late,” “Don’t forget to pick up Junior at soccer” or “Toilet paper – hurry!” is sometimes necessary.
Dashing off a quick note is perfectly fine. Makes sense.
What I don’t understand is having whole conversations via text.
Who has time for that shit?
It boggles my mind. Anywhere – in restaurants, in movie theatres, in churches, on the sidewalk, in cars, in the goddamn toilet, for Christsakes – like chronic masturbators, texters (or better yet, texticles), tap mindlessly away, utterly engrossed in detailed conversations with a ferocious intensity and with blurred fingers in orgasmic textacy.
The telephone was supposed to be a step up from the telegraph. How is tapping out texts any different from tapping out messages in Morse code?
What’s next? Smoke signals? Carrier pigeons?
I’ve heard the excuse that the reason why some people text is that they don’t want to talk on the phone.
However, if you want to get off the phone, just end the damn conversation, dude. All you have to say is, “Gotta go.”
Done. Draw a line under it. Have a Coke and a smile.
Is that really so hard?
But cutting someone off on the phone is rude, you say? How is being hunched over your phone in a restaurant like a vulture with a freshly killed antelope on the Serengeti, completely ignoring the person or people you’re with not rude?
And if you get caught up in a fairly detailed text-versation, it could conceivably go on longer than a “Lord of the Rings” marathon.
Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive. Text. Send. Receive…
What a joke – just make a friggin’ phone call!
Ironically enough, I recently found myself in a position where I was going to have to actually write a text a few weeks back.
I was coming back from the Writer’s Festival in Eden Mills near Guelph with my partner and we were hoping to stop by in Toronto to meet my friend Sonya for coffee. We realized though, that we wouldn’t have time to meet her and since my partner was driving, she asked me to send a text.
I looked at her like I was a beagle who just heard a dog whistle.
“Send her a text,” she repeated.
I snorted and shook my head. “A text? No way. I’ll just call her.”
“No,” she said, with a firmness reserved for a truculent child who is refusing to eat his vegetables. “You need to know how to do this.”
I gazed out the window, hoping to catch the eye of a fellow non-texter in another car who might be able to call me and tell me how to get out of this horrendous impending predicament.
“Are you serious?”
I was surprised at how whiny I sounded.
“Don’t be a baby,” she said.
“Why don’t we just pull over and you text her,” I said.
“Oh my God, just do it,” she replied without taking her eyes from the road. “I’ll talk you through it.”
Okay, first of all, you need to know that smart phones and I do not play nice together. Any time I hold one in my hand, some weird force causes it to fuck up. It’s kinda like when they opened up the Ark of the Covenant in “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I always expect my face to melt or something.
With a heavy reluctance, I took her iPhone, holding it like it was laced with anthrax.
It immediately went into camera mode.
“What the hell is this shit?”
“What did you do?” she asked, not even trying to hide her annoyance with me.
“Nothing! I put the piece of crap in my hand and now it’s in camera mode.”
She sighed. “Okay – just exit it and press the green icon.”
“I fuckin’ hate these things…”
“Yes, I know dear. Did you press the icon?”
“The one that looks like a cartoon speech bubble?”
“Yes, that’s the one.”
“Click her name and it will open up a window so you can write a text.”
I clicked her name.
So I clicked it again…and again.
I must have clicked her name about 20 times.
“It’s not opening.”
“What exactly are you doing?”
“Explain to me again how this is easier than making a phone call?”
(Quick aside – I should let you know that I exasperate extremely easily. I mean, I tend to lose my shit in mere seconds when I’m on the couch and the tv remote is two inches out of my reach. So by this point in the texting lesson, I was way beyond exasperation and heading full speed into out and out frustration.)
I stabbed at the phone like I was trying to gouge out an eye. “I’m pushing her name and nothing’s happ…aw, come on…”
“Do you have it?”
“Seriously? It’s a fucking camera again!”
She sighed again. “Lord, give me strength.”
“This is such bullshit, man…”
Somehow, I was finally able to open the stupid app and so now I had a Lilliputian keyboard and a box to put the text in. The car ride was not exactly smooth so typing was like trying to thread a needle with my foot.
It was incredibly slow going.
How about ponderous? Plodding?
How the hell is this better than a phone call??
“Okay…now how do I make a number?” I asked.
“You have to flip the keyboard.”
“Are you serious? Flip the keyboard? How do I…fuck! It just disappeared!”
Resigned, I put the phone down. “I think it’s gone back into camera mode again…”
No bullshit, I must have taken about two dozen stabs at it. I had to give up on it or risk not only losing what is left of my mind, but also my partner’s patience and her smart phone out the window.
Ten kilometres later, I used the iPhone to do the unthinkable: I called her.
I really think that people need to get back to the art of actual conversation. They need to relearn the value of human connection. And this is coming from a guy who doesn’t even like small talk (more like loathes small talk) but still sees the importance of one-on-one conversations.
And I readily acknowledge that conversations can be a major pain in the ass, but Jesus Christ, at least I don’t have to type out the fucking exchange!
If I ever find myself in an end-of-the-world scenario where my life is dependent on sending a text to someone I know exactly what I will write: