Technological advances have made real life presence irrelevant for socializing. The advent of cellphones eons ago upheaved my entire social life - instead of conversing with me, my friend(s) yammer on cellphones while I sit back and listen to one-sided conversations.
Until the emergence of texting.
Unfortunately, with texting, I don’t even have the benefit of eavesdropping. Except for occasional outbursts of laughter or groaning from the texter/textee, the conversation remains totally private unless the person reads out loud the contents. Texting takes me one step further out of the loop.
Which makes me question why people want to see me if they don’t interact with me.
On a monthly basis, I shlep to the big city to hang with my best friend. This visit, though, was a departure from the usual. My friend was involved with texts. So involved, I’m going to contact Guinness Book of World Records and demand a special section - the longest continuous texting to one person, something my friend has won hands down.
Because she texted someone else for 13 1/2 hours straight during my visit.
I timed it.
During the 13 1/2 hours she cooked, ate, bathed and dressed with that damn iPhone in her paws. Then we took the subway, walked, shopped and chatted while she clutched that thing in her hand, stabbing at the buttons. I watched, captivated at how fast those thumbs moved despite frigid weather, the coldest winter in the Northeast. Hell, birds froze in the trees. And my friend didn’t wear gloves.
“Why aren’t you wearing gloves?” I said to her when we walked from store to store, bracing ourselves from the blast of arctic winds. Even with my workman’s jacket, gloves, hat and boots which kept me toasty, my nose, certain parts of my neck and legs were gelid.
“It’s easier to text without them,” she responded.
She ignored me while I yelled, “Put down that damn iPhone!” throughout the day. That’s when I held one-sided conversations. A marathon of divulging deep secrets non-stop for 13 1/2 hours knowing she registered a scintilla of what I spewed. Thankfully. At the end, I felt purged of all my demons and may, in fact, have been cured.
Although my friend is in her 30’s, accustomed to texting and cellphones, she feels the pinch of technology when it comes to her social life.
During this visit, she told me, “Would you believe that a good date today is defined as when a guy turns his cellphone off?”
“Call me old fashioned, but I always thought a good date is when a guy takes me out to dinner, a movie or play and pays for all of it.”
“Not today. If he doesn’t turn his cellphone off, if he places it face down and doesn’t respond to calls or texts, it means he’s interested in you.”
“I was always led to believe that a guy’s interested in you when he asks you out on a date, but what do I know?”
She added, “Women now consider true interest when he leaves a cellphone on the table to go to the bathroom. It’s a litmus test of trust, reliability and intimacy.”
“Sounds like a true catch. Real etiquette. Real class,” I responded, eyes rolling to the ceiling. “More than likely, he forgot to bring the phone with him.”
I feel old. I’m too accustomed to interacting with people when they’re face to face with me. Just can’t wait for even newer technology to come out. Holograms? Neural ports? The Matrix?
Everything’s good between us insofar as our friendship despite neglecting me for the most part during 13 1/2 hours. I understand she was resolving an important issue and I’m fine with that. However, today, she’s nursing carpal tunnel frozen thumbs and I, a sore throat from all that yakking.
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