Alison Berkley: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
It seems that in this age of communication technology, people are more incommunicative than ever.
Even e-mail is becoming obsolete as people find it more convenient to rely on abbreviated forms of communication, little phrases riddled with acronyms that now waft into our daily lives like burps and farts, depending, of course, on your ring tone selection.
In case you haven’t noticed, it also interferes with our ability to communicate with one another in person, what, with everyone constantly checking their phones every time it beeps, like Pavlov ringing his proverbial bell.
Just yesterday I was floating carelessly, effortlessly down some untracked line in the trees off the Face of Bell when I heard my phone go off in my pocket, alerting me to a text message. I decided not to stop, pull off my gloves and check it even though I sort of wanted to. Still, it pulled me out of this precious moment.
But what’s really been eating me lately is how no one seems to want to talk on the phone anymore. Oh, no. These days it’s all about text messages. I love getting the old, “How r u?” like I’m supposed to sit around all the livelong day and scroll through letters one at a time because I actually want to say something. It finally occurred to me that the reason these people have opted to send me these text messages is because they don’t actually want to talk to me. A short answer will do, just make sure it’s 10 words or less.
Like a few weeks ago, I organized a dinner party at a restaurant and had an awesome turnout. Almost everyone I invited came, and a lot of them brought friends with them. But one of my closest friends never showed up. I’ll admit, this is when the text message comes in handy.
“R u coming?” is all I wrote.
I know this friend has an iPhone. I know that every time I am with him he has that iPhone down his pants on vibrate, not only so he can get a little tickle in the balls every time it rings, but also because he does not want to miss a call/text/e-mail, especially if it’s from someone he actually wants to talk to.
So I’m a little annoyed when, a day later, I get a response back that says “Sorry I didn’t make it. Hungover and having a sinker. Hope you had fun. Cheers babe.” And I haven’t heard from him since. I have no idea what a sinker is, but I do know it sounds like a lame excuse. It’s also a pussy move to send me a text a day after the fact rather than just manning up and saying the same thing the day of the event, or better yet, calling me to have an actual conversation.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m guilty of the same thing. I have the tendency to ignore at least 40 percent of my incoming calls just because maybe I don’t feel like talking, but most of the time I’ll call back when I do. I will admit that I have done my fair share of canceling and excuse-making over text as well because I don’t want to actually have to face the person I’m rejecting, but I usually try to do it before-the-fact. And I’ll say that I have, on occasion, sent texts to people I don’t really feel like having a conversation with as well.
What I really love is when someone texts me with some elaborate question like, “How r u?” or “How was it?” in regard to some major event in my life.
So I decide it would be better just to call them back rather than get into a head-on collision when I swerve into oncoming traffic because I’m trying to find the parenthesis so I can draw one of those smiley faces made from punctuation marks or something asinine like that. So I call and they don’t answer, even though I know they must be near their phone because they just sent the text two seconds ago. I get it that if they’re at work and can’t answer, but on a Saturday?
Then I leave a message that says something along the lines of, “Hey jackass! I know you’re there because you just sent me a text! Pick up the damn phone!” even though I know it’s not like those old answering machines where they can actually hear me.
Then they have the gall to text me back instead of calling me back, which is sort of how I got onto this whole tangent in the first place.
I realize being resistant to all this new technology isn’t getting me anywhere. I understand that throwing my phone in the toilet/Roaring Fork River/Sky Hotel pool probably isn’t such a great idea. I know I should probably upgrade my pink Motorola Razor, which accidentally went through the washing machine so none of the buttons really work anymore, and get an iPhone or some other device that would make it less painful to deal with the reality of modern life.
Instead, I just turn my ringer off so I can be with the people I’m with or enjoy the moment I’m in. I figure I’ll just check my messages later. After all, that’s what voice mail is for, right? Even though I know no one will believe me when I say, “I just now got your message from yesterday” just like I don’t believe them when they tell me the same thing.
I guess the point is that despite all this communication technology we’re more out of touch with each other than ever. Could someone please enlighten me? Just make sure to do it in three words or less.
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Aspen City Council’s recent actions are proof that you get what you pay for, argues Elizabeth Milias in her Red Ant column this week.