Know what I love about texting? Let me count the ways!
First, my kids almost always respond to a text, when they rarely take my phone call. I get it. There’s something ominous about actually hearing your mother’s words and having to respond in that very instant. So much easier to read the text, smirk, roll your eyes, chew your lip, shake your head, then wait until you’re good and ready to respond when it’s more convenient. I can live with that.
Secondly, it works both ways. Besides, texting is a great way to make a quick three-pointer and know someone saw it even if they don't reply.
Third, I love not having to chit chat about this, that and the weather. How are you? (This can be a serious question that can take hours on the phone but is just a blip on the screen if you’re texting.) Using your actual voice can give away all kinds of emotion ranging from boredom to disgust with a colossal reactionary scale in-between. Texting keeps things simple. Or does it?
What if you want to emphasize something? Other than CAPITALIZATION there are no italics to accentuate your thoughts and exclamation points can only go so far!!!!! What if something is funny but not enough to warrant an LOL? It has to be pretty sidesplitting to keep someone Laughing Out Loud. It's so overused. Or maybe I’m just funnier than I think because I get a LOT of LOL’s… get it? Lot Of Them? Whatever.
Of course, there is always an emoji to prompt an emotion but I have a tendency to overthink things. I don’t quite know how to interpret the little guy with X’s for eyes and tears. Is his smile a grimace of pain and he’s wincing because the jest was so bad it made him cry? And I’m never quite certain if I’m getting an OK signal or if they’re just holding up something gross they fished out of their nose, which can be of subtle but explicit significance. Hearts are a little easier to interpret. As Sandra Bullock said in Miss Congeniality, it means, “You think I’m gorgeous, you want to kiss me, you want to hug me, you want to date me…”
You’d think by dictating a text out loud you’d be able to put a little more expression into it but sometimes you get more than you bargained for. A few days ago I dictated a text message
to a business associate and got the following text back:
“You might want to proof read your texts before you send them.”
That did not sound good. So I checked. Cover your ears because it wasn’t pretty.
“Don’t know what the hole up your ass is…” it said.
WTH! Are you kidding me? I was trying to say that I didn’t know what was holding up the assets. Very professional. It's this kind of text garble that keeps Siri perversely entertained and don’t tell me she hasn’t done a number of faux pas on you as well. You’d think for being on the job 24/7 she’d have the experience to nail the finer points of tone, gesture, facial expression and body language. (Forget eye contact, she wouldn’t be able to look you in the eye after her antics.)
Even though text messages can be patchy, I oft times choose to text, prefer to text, love to text because frankly, honest interaction is hard. A real live face-to-face (or face-to-phone) requires diplomacy, patience and empathy. In other words, you need skills. Communication skills, listening skills, Nun chuck skills; and who’s got time for that when you can just tap out a few characters on your phone and be done with it. Hurrah for shallowness! And that's my POV AISI LOL