Okay, we’ve all read those articles that say the younger generation is losing the ability to communicate face to face. Now, I imagine that those issuing the scary news are from some ‘far older generation’ – the same writers that speak of the perils of Facebook but have never been on it – not even to ‘creep’ on their kids. But could there be some frightening truth to their suspicious warnings?
If my kids are texting under the table when they are out with their friends, I could be the one their sending their message to, and vice versa (though I try to be more discerning). I’ll be going about my day, taking care of business and my mind will drift to thoughts of one of them. It’s no secret that I miss them. I mean, I write this blog for whoever to read about how – after having spend twenty-four years in a crazy whirl wind of raising four kids and having all four move out and away – it is now impossibly hard to not be part of all that. So I am a efficient, speedy text-er. But a fifty-one-year-old text-er. I use punctuation and capitals and my iphone spells for me.
My kids and husband came to texting before I did, and back in the day when they did it while at the same time pretending (poorly) to be conversing with me, I would reprimand them and plead, “Love the one your with.” I imagined it to be what Miss Manners would suggest. But what would a young Miss Manners with an iphone say in 2011?
I found this gem on an texting etiquette sight – Reading and sending texts when with someone else (while on a date, for example) tells the one you are with they are less important than the one you are texting. This doesn’t apply when just hanging out with others. WHAT?? I guess my kids and their friends are absolutely always just hanging out.
So having admitted my texting habit I still wonder what all this texting is about? Could it possibly be that we don’t want to bug our friends and family with a phone call that might demand their time and attention so decide that a text would be preferable – ie. la de da – respond as you can. Or, worse – I can’t be bothered with your chat so if I send this text and you send yours we can still occupy ourselves with our more crucial tasks – like texting someone else and waiting for the little ding-ding of them clicking an answer back.
I’ll admit, too, that I’ve wandered around with my hand in my pocket holding my smooth shiny iphone, comforted stupidly that someone I love can send me a little message or a request for some mom advice. Is it possible then that we are starting to prefer texting to talking? Am I?
Just last week I was in Vancouver visiting my kids and lovely grandbaby. My daughter and I decided we were curious to come see the apartment my son had moved into with his girlfriend. I texted said son our request, along with an offer of a bottle of wine before I took them all out for dinner.
I texted him, “What time works for dinner?”
He texted me, “7:30. N has a midterm tomorrow.”
I texted him, “Do you have a restaurant in mind? Chinese? Indian?”
He texted me, “How about German expressionism?” (Sassy guy.) “Or there is a neighbourhood bar called Malones.”
I texted him, “Remember we have the baby.” And then I thought, this is silly, and picked up the phone. We chatted. We sorted out our evening plans – in less time than all our fingers could tap tap tap out the words. The texting has the satisfying ding ding – here I am responding again – but talking, with more than 140 character answers, involved my son’s voice and eager laugh and did so, so much more to brighten my day.