“Where R you?”
“2 min. away.”
“Gr8. C U soon.”
In 1992, a new form of communication was born. It allowed users to send information instantly through the use of the telephone lines. It was called the text message. Over the next few years, this technology was upgraded and improved. It grew until it became a worldwide phenomenon. It helped to make the world a little more functional, a little more accessible, and a little more awkward.
Never mind the fact that students everywhere are suffering from the inability to properly punctuate, spell and form complex sentences. Never mind the fact that college professors are baffled as to how to teach the rules of grammar to a generation of texters. We cannot live without the instantaneous gratification of question and response.
Aside from our failing grammar, text messages are creating rifts in relationships. It makes men and women cowardly when it comes to things of depth and meaning. It is the easy way out. It’s the means of miscommunication.
I once was interested in a man named Eric. He was interesting, fun and my saving grace while at work. We hit it off right away and I hoped that something would come from our shameless flirting on the clock. We became Facebook friends. Once again, technology rears its head into our relationships.
Eric finally got up the nerve to ask me out—via Facebook—and we had a date set up for Saturday. I was thrilled at the prospect of spending an evening at the park with him. I was already envisioning us laughing like children as we played on the swings, and walked underneath the light of the pale moon.
The sound of a new text message brought me back to reality. It was Saturday night, and Eric would be there within minutes. I hastily checked my phone. The text informed me that Eric had changed our plans.
“hey- i don’t want to go to the park. i’ll just come over and we can play cards.”
The anticipation began to leak out of me like a deflating air mattress. All I could think of was how lame he was being. But I relented and responded.
“Alright. See you then.”
Disappointed, and wanting someone to validate me, I texted my roommate.
“Just so you know, my date is being lame and is coming over here to play cards. See you when you get home. Love you.”
I sat on my couch waiting for a response that would make me feel better about my emotions.
A high-pitched beeping filled the room. Here was the response that would bring me sweet relief. But it was not from my roommate. It was from Eric.
“Did you mean to send that? Sorry I’m so lame.”
You know the moments where your life flashes before your eyes? The moments where you feel all the breath leave your body? That was my moment right then.
With shaking hands, I checked my worst fear. Confirmed. The most recent message in my outbox showed Eric’s name in big, black, bold letters.
I did my best to salvage our date, while secretly wishing that I could board the next flight to Tibet. My face was hot with embarrassment. I had no idea what to say for myself.
I played it off as a joke, but there is only so much you can do via text. Six minutes passed, and my roommate along with what I can only assume to be half of campus showed up at my door. I recounted my sad tale. They gasped and groaned at all the right places.
Four minutes after that, Eric arrived. To say it was awkward was an understatement. But we valiantly persevered, and no later than 10:01 p.m., he dropped me off.
I will not venture into the details of the rest of our relationship. Needless to say, it did not progress.
Technology masquerades as a friend, allowing easy access to information and witty remarks. But in the end, technology will betray you.
Miscommunication has never been so readily available. Simply pick up your smart phone, and press send.