30 September 2008

27 September 2008


I understand it has its uses. I realize that sometimes you are in class, or a concert, or a church, or the bathroom, or a myriad of other circumstances that assign spoken communication a spot somewhere on the scale between awkward and fatal.

But when there is an option, and there usually IS, why are we, fellow American youth, choosing to communicate in the less-efficient, less-clear alternative? Are we insecure about our ability to string together more than one subject and predicate at a time? Do we momentarily lack the emotional stamina for a talk on the phone? Have we become so isolated as a people that we actually prefer electrons on a screen to good old-fashioned sound waves from a speaker?

Here's my thesis: I think people feel wittier in text messages than in person. Texting is godsend for us products of the Seinfeld Era. Think about it: it's Clever Banter for Dummies. You receive a jab, and you get to sit and think and thumb while you formulate a parry and counterblow, without the pressure of responding in real time or the risk of sounding dumb. Well, let's just say less risk of sounding dumb. In a society that places such a high premium on wit, I guess it was inevitable that people migrated to a more distant and calculative way to interact.

But guys, I'm left with this intrigue: What are texting's rules of etiquette? Sometimes people send me texts, and it kind of gives me the impression they needed some iota of information from me that in their minds didn't warrant tolerating an entire conversation with me. It's not a particularly agreeable feeling; it kind of makes me want to call them back just to brass them off. Do you think they'll get annoyed if I reply with my voice? Or was that their plan all along, and I'm just playing into their hands (thumbs?)?

In sum: I would be real flattered to get a text message from you, yes you. But: if you text me, don't be surprised if you get a call back. Especially if I'm in the john.