Dear Friends: I love you, but get off my back. I haven’t failed to answer your text because I forgot about it, I haven’t answered it because I have not yet answered it.
Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time one of you got annoyed with me for not replying to a text I would have enough money to pay for the overage charges on your phone bill you would likely incur did you not regrettably have an unlimited messaging plan.
Now now, please don’t take this so harshly. I, too, once found myself trapped in the dark and dismal abyss of 160-character communication.
The smatterings of SMS I receive on any given day range from setting up a lunch date, to requests for me to watch a funny YouTube video, to inquiries surrounding my plans for the approaching weekend. At this later point it is usually Monday and I’m scrambling to finish some homework I neglected to do because of too much socializing over the three days prior, so I beg of you, please cut me some slack if I’m not quite prepared to block out my Saturday five days in advance.
Allow me to clarify for a moment what kind of hounding texts bother me so. If you’ve asked me a question and I haven’t gotten back to you within a day, I sincerely apologize for I have most likely accidentally forgotten to answer you, and you are warranted sending me a reminder message. On the other hand, if it has been three hours since your initial text and I haven’t replied, do not send me “?” or “…” like the pendulous threads of your life are on standstill waiting for this particular reply from me. They’re not.
Also, the longer the text and more full of questions, the less likely I am to respond to it promptly, if at all. It’s overwhelming.
To try and squeeze my response into something succinct means I will truly have to sit down and ponder how best to word my answer, which could go much faster for you and I both if you would just call me and get the whole ordeal over with in a matter of minutes. I think communication peaked at the invention of the cell phone (for calling purposes only) and began its rapid descent right around the emergence of a standard messaging system.
Think about it; written communication has advanced far too much since Gutenberg brought us the printing press to bastardize written language with the serious usage of “lols” and “OMGs” brought forth by our abbreviated society of instant gratification. Horses and trains and telegraphs used to have to deliver our written messages. Sometimes letters had to travel across oceans on syphilis-infested boats.
Look on the bright side—it may have taken a few hours to be able to read what I have to say, but at least someone with a raging case of typhoid or the bubonic plague isn’t delivering my message to you! Oh, happy day.
I’m skipping a few decades here, but let’s bring it a little closer to home to the advent of verbal communication for all the ’90s babies still reading and not yet put off by my bitter attitude. Within your lifetime there was such a thing as a landline. In case the brain cells carrying knowledge of this device have been destroyed after countless hours sitting alone in your darkened room staring at a computer screen and flipping through photos of your ex on Facebook, let me jog your memory.
As recently as a decade ago you either had to memorize the numbers of your best friends or keep important digits in an address book. Then, when you wanted to get a hold of someone, you called her or his house and politely asked,“Is so-and-so there?” and if they weren’t—hold tightly to your minds here, kids, lest they blow away—you didn’t get to talk to them. At best you could leave a message with whoever answered the phone and the intended recipient of your call would get back to you at his or her convenience.
I long for those days when I could wake up with no agenda and call a friend to hang out when I was feeling bored, rather than the now-frequent question of “How’s my month looking for free time?” or “Who did I forget to text back?”
I don’t mean to ruin any friendships here. Obviously if you are one of my friends reading this and think my rant applies to you, you are not alone in your harassing ways and were probably unaware of my malicious attitude towards messaging.
But the next time you want to coordinate some complicated communications or even just talk for a bit, please, PLEASE consider calling.
Love, your old-fashioned friend, Jaime.