Okay, I need to get this off my chest at the risk of sounding old. And a little cranky. But hear me out.
I think it’s just a bit strange…no, not strange…maybe a better word is sad...that the younger generation (Oh, I hate sounding like this! But what else can I call them??) can’t make a simple phone call when they want to ask someone out.
I was recently having a conversation with a 20-something year-old. I’m not going to ‘out’ the person and reveal who it was, but let’s call him YM (Young Male). YM is adorable, personable and the kind of guy any girl in their right mind would want to date. And yet. YM asked a girl out (How? Through a text, of course!). They went out, had a good time. I mean, they had a date – sat face-to-face, in person; chatted for hours. And then, what you’d expect would happen, happened. They made plans to go out on a second date.
But this was all done by TEXT.
So, let me get this straight: you’re only allowed to talk in person, but not on the phone? If you don’t actually see the person, you have to type to them (ahem, I mean text them) until you see them again and then you can have a conversation with real words? Somehow, I think, that along the line, that connection is lost…where’s the continuity?
I remember meeting my husband at a party. A few days later when I was at work, a strange man called me on the phone. (It was him, actually, but I had just started a new job, and lots of new people were calling me, and I got a little confused and thought he was a new client, so I pretended I ‘knew’ him and made small talk.) After a few minutes,when he got around to asking me out, I finally realized who he was.
Oh, never mind. it’s a bit confusing. But my point is: we talked! And then we talked some more! And I actually got to know a little more about him by listening to his voice, which was just the right mixture of soft and tender and had just the right… intonation and cadence. He paused to listen to me when I spoke, and when he spoke, he sounded confident and cheerful.
When we had our first real date a week after meeting at that party, I felt like I knew him a good deal more than I had known him the week before.
I know full well that much has changed since that time; after all, it was more than 30 years ago. We might have been in the dark ages compared with today’s technology, but one thing we did have were real conversations; talk that flowed, voices that expressed pleasure, anger, disappointment, excitement. We didn’t speak in clipped short sentences or headlines, but luxuriated in letting words trickle into long sentences which then flowed into thoughts and ideas.
To me, texting resembles the types of real-life conversations that I have with my husband these days, when he’s watching football on TV (I should know better than try to engage a rabid football fan in any kind of meaningful talk during this time): abbreviated yet rushed; not substantive in any shape or form and easily dismissed – or worse – ignored.
I’m not stuck in the past. Well, not all that much. Texting has its place, I know. I use it as a last resort, like when I have to reply to someone.
But I shy away from texting, since invariably, my fingers slip on the keys. The other day, I was running late and needed to tell my friend, who was waiting for me at a restaurant. That strict schoolmarm, AKA spellcheck, totally screwed up my message. Instead of coming out, “Running late, be there in 10 mins.” she corrected it to read, “Ri biate. Be her is five mind.”