Friday, March 20, 2009

WTF R U Look-n At?

So I wandered over to my local community exercise room, expecting to use some of the weight equipment there to limber up my aching Rotator Cuff (shoulder, for those of you not anatomically astute). Sitting at the weight machine with his back toward me, is a young man. His head is down, he's not moving – I wonder, is he praying? No... maybe just getting into “the Zone” before pressing 280 pounds, I think. So I wait a bit… wait some more... Then I notice… he is sitting there “Texting”. He is sitting on the goddam weight equipment, thumbs dancing away, Texting.

Ok, I know… here comes “Old Man Rant”, but seriously, the attraction to typing out a text message on a 9-key pad COMPLETELY eludes me. Why doesn’t he just call and, you know, talk to the person?!

I encountered this same techno-phobia back when voicemail first came into vogue. I was a Welfare worker and my clients frequently (and I mean, frequently) called me to ask when they would get their benefits or if their Food Stamps were in. I almost NEVER answered the phone – why? Because I was almost always already talking to someone else. These morons never figured out how to use voicemail to reach me... Never!

Instead, they would try to get to me through the receptionist. And being the kind-hearted and enabling simple soul that she was, she would transcribe their message onto those little colored phone message pads then drop them on my desk. And even though I repeatedly reminded her that the clients could leave forty-colored-while-you-were-out notes worth of information in a ten-second voicemail – it was all to no avail.

When I would wrap up my initial intake interview with new clients, I would point out to them that it would be a rare occurrence for me to answer the phone because, just like I am talking to You right now, if somebody calls, I can’t talk to THEM because I'm already talking to YOU!! -- Get it?? Leave a detailed message – that way, when I call you back, I will already have your answer. But they never got it… which was probably a good indication why they were in the Welfare Office to begin with.

E-mail makes way more sense than "texting". Hell, stuffing a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean makes more sense than "texting". I’m pretty damn fast typing on a standard “qwerty” keyboard -- but no matter how fast I am, I can ALWAYS talk faster than I can write. Besides I love the sound of the human voice. IMHO

From the tonight show with Jay Leno – the top text messengers versus Morse Code.


Rachel Noy said...

Being a detached, introverted misanthropist, I quite like text messages. Phones come with unexpected answers, awkward silences, and foot in mouth moments.

That video is persuading me to dabble in Morse code, although something tells me that it might lose me the people I do text. Haha.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Rachel: Yes, those can be drawbacks to "live" conversations... particularly if you are not the quick-to-retort type.

Yet we have relatives who just let ALL incoming calls go to voicemail - even when we KNOW they are standing there and could pick up the phone. And with caller ID, one can be tempted to avoid direct conversation and listen to the voicemail.

For me, I just imagine that text messages would have to be so short as to render them too trivial to send in the first place. Donno?!