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Archive for the ‘Texting’ Category

The Silence of The Thumbs

In Texting on October 5, 2011 at 5:13 pm

TextingMy wife and I were at the theater the other night and saw an acquaintance of ours. We walked over to say hi and he introduced us to the woman he was with. She looked up from her Blackberry and found the admirable strength to pull her thumbs off the keypad, shake our hands and smile. Then she immediately returned to her furious thumbing which she continued to do without ever looking up again (or speaking a word) for the rest of our five-or-so-minute-long visit.

Then, just this weekend, I was out with some work colleagues when someone at the table clearly got bored talking with us and cozied up with her phone–and her thumbs–at the end of the table instead.

I know texting in public is getting more and more common, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. ¬†Wasn’t our encounter in the theater pretty much equal to that woman saying: “Nice to meet you, but I’m really not interested. I’d rather use my thumbs to talk to the person at the other end of my Blackberry than use my mouth to engage with you. Buh bye.”

And wasn’t my colleague’s behavior tantamount to whipping out a pad and pen in the middle of a very social setting and saying: “Um, excuse me everyone but you’re not fascinating enough to warrant my attention. Instead, I’m going to use this time to write a note–using bad grammar and strange abbreviations–to my mother (or boyfriend, or BFF!).”

What I want to know is–when did the people who AREN’T in the room become more important than the people who ARE there? Why is it acceptable to interrupt conversations with flesh-and-blood human beings to type a note to someone in the ether? You wouldn’t really tolerate it if I started to talk to my imaginary friend in the middle of our next conversation, so why do I have to put up with you doing a version of the same? What the hell is more important than what’s happening right here, right now?!!!!

And here are two more questions for you: Shouldn’t we just rename txting to FU-ing? Because, in the end, isn’t it worse these days to be given the thumbs than the middle finger?

Sadly, I don’t have the answers to any of these questions (I’m a writer, not a Magic 8 Ball). But speaking of Magic 8 Balls, I am thinking of marketing a new invention. It’s a series of post-it notes made in the exact sizes of the screens on today’s most popular smart phones. Just write your thought on the note (“I am bleeding and need medical attention,” for example), slap it on someone’s screen and you’re in business. You’re sure to distract your texter from the distraction of texting and, if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll even get a good old-fashioned flipping off instead the silence of the thumbs.