Saturday, December 6, 2008

S.W.A.K.

La escritura es el vehiculo del amor.

I’m not too sure. I heard it somewhere and it kind of stuck with me, but I continue to question the phrase. And I mean truly, if writing is the vehicle of love, where has love gone? Where are the scented love notes, descriptive love poems, long distance love letters? They don’t exist.

I remember suffering (yes, truly suffering) through middle school because I was the only person without a cell phone therefore uncool and unpopular and therefore worthless. I would yell and scream and cry because I didn’t have an object on which I could choose my own ringtone, buy a glittery cover at the mall, or even better, store all my friends’ numbers in under pseudo names aka Anna Banana, because that’s just fun. When I finally received my chunky silver plastic Nokia, I couldn’t wait to call everyone I knew on my very-own-cell-phone with my very-own-cell-phone number.

But then. Then nothing. Instead of calling my house, my friends would call my cell phone, which was conveniently stored in a metallic pink purse under a pile of assorted flavors of Bonnebelle Lip Smackers and scented blue eyeshadow (eighth grade, don’t ask…), so therefore, I missed all my calls. I never checked my messages (still don’t… ) and forgot to charge my battery. The hassle and irritation that stupid glittery encased cell phone brought me was barely worth the struggle. But it was cool to have this little accessory to whip out of my purse whenever I needed a confidence boost; so therefore, I always kept it with me.

But now. Now, I know better. I know that cell phones kind of suck. (Unless you are British and call it a mobile, then it's cute.) I have to exchange twenty different text messages to find out when we are meeting for breakfast; then thirty three to find out when I should get to said breakfast place, all of which could be discussed in less than a minute over the phone. If I call during dinner it is considered rude to pick up the phone. Texting semi-discreetly in your lap (although everyone knows what you’re doing) is considered socially acceptable because… because… it’s not loud? (And yes, I will admit my cell obnoxiously blasts three choruses of “Spice up your Life” before I usually bother to pick it up.)

Don’t think that sticking both your hands and half your face inside your purse isn’t distracting. Furthermore, it’s just rude. Rude. Rude rude rude. Rude. If you have to excuse yourself to make a call, just do it, but stop pretending to search for gum when I know that you just want to text one of your many, many friends. I am not impressed by your popularity. I do not care that you can send 4525 characters a minute or that you can elaborately design a puppy face using just question marks and exclamation points. If I’m spending time with you, and you are just typing away on your miniscule keyboard, well, I may as well just leave. Seriously. I understand you have better people to talk to, no need for actual human contact so why am I even here?

I, too, am perpetually guilty of texting in the company of others. Sometimes it’s too tempting—I think of something funny to say and I just have to say it. Other times, it’s awkward, I’m with people I don’t particularly like, and I’d rather be with other people. Sure, it’s rude. Sure, it’s the easiest way out. We have forgotten what it’s like to actually interact with people, broaden our horizons, make conversation. The little Motorolas that rest so nicely in our pockets call out to us, “Use me, use me, forget about everyone else, you can look cool and avoid small talk.”

So why do so many actual friends text when we are spending time together. Where else would you rather be; who else would you rather be with? The worst is when I’m driving and I have friends in the car texting, not bothering at conversing because we can blast Beyonce while sending messages to our other friends. Other friends. I am driving you because we are friends. I am not your chauffeur. Talk to me, or walk. That’s the new rule.

There are no love notes to save in your top drawer or pin up on your wall. No epic love poems to show off in years to come. Yes, I, like everyone else, save the adorable texts, the ones that will always make you smile, laugh, (my favorite: “I’m in ancient Greece” – from a friend I was meeting up with at the Met), but they’re far from personal. Each note looks the same, no special handwriting to distinguish it, no colored pen or fancy stationary. The intangibility is so frustrating—at some point, they’ll all disappear, and I won’t remember the sweet “Happy Birthday” notes I received this year.

A couple of weeks ago, I was texting someone from across the train. At the time it seemed cute, silly, discretely making eye contact between focusing on our tiny keypads to send charming little notes to each other from merely fifteen feet away. The texts are still saved in my phone; I can scroll through and smile, but still wonder, what if we actually had a conversation? What if I had actually been human enough to get up out of my seat, sit next to her, and say something more substantial than “@ the next stop, let’s go to the middle and hug.” But it was entertaining. Is that acceptable? Is it ok to sometimes hide behind our two inch, finger-smudged screens and pre-think each conversation, each word, each syllable?

I like to talk. Far too much, I’m sure. So is la escritura truly el vehiculo del amor? Is texting a conservable art form preferable to speech? Is it a legitimate mode of communication? Personally, I’d rather just babble until your ear falls off, but that’s just me.

7 comments:

Anna said...

unlimited texting- can't live with it...
let's schedule a time to just talk. we will put our phones away and have stimulating conversation over latte and biscotti.
that said, i will stop typing because this is just like texting but with a full-size keyboard.

Anonymous said...

WAHOO. i agree. yup. talking is better than texting. The immediacy of texting abolishes all romantic/lovliness of it. writing a love letter takes effort. and even though im sure squishing two hands on the tiny keyboard of a cell phone takes multiple mulscles, it lacks thought. but i must admit that when i am not with you, which is rare, i am often compelled to text you...bad. its bad. im going to try to destory this scema....
instead of coffee and biscotti...choclate cake and squirtable pancakes?? thats just me.

this anonymous thing is moderatly amusing. care to guess my identity?

issa says so said...

yes abby, i know it's you my love

IBCharlie said...

a) i mean even i could tell it was abby...

b) i also did not have a cell phone for middle school, THE HORROR... but looking back, a definite blessing in disguise

and c) agreed with the texting concept. when you spend time with people, there's nothing so rude as them texting... their summer friends, or something like that. if they're going to spend what adds up to an hour of our time together texting, i'd rather leave an hour earlier and give them that time... and then we can avoid small talk just as easily. hmmmm

Julie said...

gee, I wonder who THIS one is about =]

chocolatemilk said...

maybe you know the real reason i choose to loose my cell phone...
some people never moved past that stage in psych....when you put the ball behind your back it is still there.....or maybe not
funny how escaping equals not answering a little machine when it yells at you

Anonymous said...

back to love letters not existing... thats how me and willy communicated all summer even though i had my cell and a computer there was so much more happyness in it haha... i still have the ones he wrote and he has the ones i sent there so much more gratifiying.. mayb its just cuz its me and i just like mail...