My grandfather (in law) was griping last summer about how the world is growing away from basic conversation. In place of eye contact and body language are texts, emails, and facebook messaging. He joked that over time humanity will have evolved into a group of speechless drones who will be permanently hunched forward and, in place of fingers, will have ‘super-thumbs’ for texting. This of course will be due to the fact that humans will no longer have face to face interactions and will instead communicate entirely through texting, or whatever will soon replace texting. Far fetched and sarcastic as that is, I think he’s on to something.
I can’t tell you the number of conversations I’ve had in the last year which have involved the person I’m trying to talk to, completely enthralled with their cell phone and unable to focus on what I’m saying. What’s the point in even pretending? I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume the reason that driving and texting is illegal is because you simply can’t pay attention to both. The same goes for conversations; you can’t possibly hear what I’m saying to you if you’re simultaneously involved in another social media based conversation. There’s just no way. Not only that; it's rude. And if you've read previous entries, you may remember how strongly I feel about manners and self-awareness. I posted something on facebook to that effect a few months ago and the response from those on my ‘friends list’ was powerful. If everyone agrees with how awful texting during a conversation is, why does it happen so often? Everywhere I look there is someone texting; most times it’s in the car next to me which, as a mother, I find infuriating. When my kids are secured safely in my mom-van, there are few things that frustrate me more than looking over to see ‘Johnny-Douchebag’ glancing down at what I know is a cell phone. Just FYI to everyone who texts while driving; you’re doing a horrible job at hiding it.
Anyway, now that I feel a bit lighter having ranted, I’m going to go ahead and completely contradict myself by sharing a story which took place last week. I was sitting in my mom-van (whom, for future reference, I named Vanessa VanVanningon – I obviously excel at mom-jokes), and decided to answer a call from one of my friends. I know, I know; according to the law, driving and chatting on a cell is just as bad as texting. I was at a red light and planned on talking for only a few seconds (mostly because I’m overly aware of my ‘daytime minute’ restrictions). The guy in front of me was LOSING HIS MIND in the rear-view mirror. Either that or there was a bee in his car. For those of you who are Seinfeld fans, his wild gestures made him look exactly like Coco the
Monkey. I briefly interrupted my friend to
inform her of what was going on, and that I had to lock my doors in case this lunatic decided to jump out and punch me in the face. Why you ask? Having
deduced the meaning of his chatter box hand sign, I’m pretty sure it was due to
my talking on the phone. Wow; some people are really concerned with what others are doing. I wasn’t sure
how to react so, in my obnoxious ways, I waved at him. Apparently he didn’t
like that and continued with this performance. It made me think of two things: One;
that I should really listen to Mike and stop “poking bears” because one day I realy
will get punched in the face, and two; this poor guy probably shares the same
frustration with my grandfather. The world is being taken over by cell phones
and in place of personal interaction is social media. I know this guy probably
just has anger-management issues, but for the sake of this blog entry I’m going to go
ahead and assume he’s longing for some good old fashioned human connections
without the aid of a cell phone.
I know I sound like someone’s ‘
Nan, but if I had a nickel for all of the friends I’ve
witnessed have incredibly important and emotional conversations via text, I would
probably have….well, I guess about a dollar. That didn’t quite have the impact
I was hoping for. The point of this is that I think as a society we’ve begun to
rely too heavily on technology. For instance, if you’re having marital trouble;
why on earth would you ever assume that settling your differences via text
message is appropriate? Think of how much is lost without eye contact, body
language, and tone of voice. Texting is for things like "I'm at the grocery store - do we need milk", etc. Not "I think we should see other people", etc. Humans are supposed to communicate with their voices and I think if we carry on like this our bad examples might cause our children to grow up without social skills. Not only that; their collective ability to both spell and form
sentences will be far worse than ours ever was. That’s saying something because,
since the explosion of social media, I’ve become painfully aware of how terrible
most people write. I realize this is making me sound like a patronizing ‘B’,
but this is one of my biggest problems with facebook. If I see someone write the
word ‘congradulations’ one more time I think I might lose it (perhaps even
worse than that passionate driver I happened upon at the red light). There is,
and never will be, a ‘D’ in that word – that goes for “congrads” as well (*shudder*). Also, while we’re on this subject, a lot isn’t one
word. It just isn’t. My computer won’t even let me type it as an example.
Apparently this pet peeve is something my laptop and I have in common. There
are a lot (see how nice that looks?) of things that we need to be aware of when
writing – but I can’t communicate them all to you without sounding like I need to
be medicated. Just quickly I’ll say that if you don’t know the differences
between ‘to’ and ‘too”, and “there”, “their” and “they’re”; perform a google
search immediately and stop embarrassing yourself. Or, if spelling doesn’t mean
anything to you, stop contributing to the nervous twitch I’m developing as a
result of this incessant ignorance of the English language.
*Ahhh* that feels better. I promise my next entry won’t be as hot-headed. Well actually I can’t say that – we’ll just have to wait and see. It’s not a coincidence that I decided to incorporate the words rants and tangents into the title. With that said if you take anything from this, please never participate in another text-war. If you have a problem with someone, texting will only make it worse. Get in your car, stop at the LCBO for some Baco Noir, go to their home and have a nice little face to face. Your relationship will be better for it. If not, you'll at least have that bottle of wine you picked up.