2/1/11

Methinks the lady doth text too much...

So, emboldened one night by some wine and the cajoling of a hen or two, I decided to send a message to my former lovah, John McCain.

I've been thinking a lot about him, ever since his totally out-of-the-blue Happy New Year via facebook. A few weeks ago I had dinner with the friends who originally introduced us, and that brought back a lot of memories.

And a lot of guilt.

I got to thinking how nice he was, how he showered me with kindness and affection. And how I just sort of left him hanging.

I didn't have any notions of hooking up or getting back together, really. Ok, maybe just a tiny bit of me can't help but think how different life could be right now if I had just been less psycho. But just a tiny bit.

More than anything, I felt as though I owed him a real apology.

And so last Friday night I sent a furtive text: "call me or text me" (my way with words deteriorates after a glass or two of malbec). The next day I felt stupid and juvenile for doing it, but figured that my dorky stab at starting a dialogue would be ignored.

But he responded. At first it was just a polite text: "how are you, how are things" etc. I got right to the point and expressed to him my guilt over how things ended between us. I told him that I appreciated how kind he was to me, and acknowledged the fact that I was a complete and utter bitch in return. I said I was sorry.

He expressed mild surprise. Asked me where this spontaneous remorse came from....I told him about my dinner with the friends, related how I have always felt that he deserved a proper apology.

And then I mentioned how I finally understood his disdain for texting, now that I am an iPhone user. Texting on an iPhone is rage-inducing. I miss my old, scratched up Blackberry like crazy.

That's when things went downhill.

Apparently the issue of texting was a sore spot with him. I vaguely remember some spirited banter between the two of us regarding my penchant for texting vs. talking on the phone. I've never liked talking on the phone, not even in the gabby teenage years. When texting came along, I was thrilled. It was a way to communicate without having to sift through all of the conversational b.s. that comes up when gabbing on the phone.

Maybe I'm not the most personable girl in the world, but I simply can't be bothered with long chats on the phone. And I don't think I'm alone.

I'd be willing to bet that there a more than a few other women out there, women with kids, women who are busy from sun up until sundown, just like me. Women for whom text messaging is a godsend.

How else could I communicate with someone when I am constantly surrounded by people? I work with 600 kids during the day, live with 4 the rest of the time. If I had to talk out loud on the phone and make plans and whatnot, I'd have to do it with:

a: Family Guy playing in the background.
b: a soundtrack of siblings trying to dismember each other
c: the fear of getting fired

Not to mention there are some parts of my life that I prefer to keep to myself, and not broadcast it to the kids.

It's been a painfully long time, but I do remember very clearly trying to have those long, giggly phone calls with various paramours. Trying to ignore the whines and banging on the other side of my locked bedroom door. Trying not to laugh when one of the angels would slide appendages and notes and toys through the crack between door and floor.

It's hard to be flirtatious and witty and all come-hither when someone is screaming that the toilet downstairs is overflowing.

I liken this phenomenon to that time when I was breastfeeding endlessly. By the end of the day, after I finally got the wee suckling down to sleep, the last thing in the world that I wanted was anyone else groping on me. Just ask Big Daddy.

When you work, when you're a mom, when you are tending a hundred different fires all day, every day, sometimes the last thing in the world that sounds like fun is trying to keep up your end of a conversation. There are nights when I'm lucky to get "good night" out in one coherent sound before falling face first into bed.

That doesn't mean I don't appreciate the occasional long chat on the phone...there are times when all of the planets are aligned, when I don't have to be somewhere or pick someone up, times when it's just me and the phone and the person on the other end.

That happens maybe twice a month. For real. In my world, the phone conversations I do manage to have are brief, often done while in the car (yeah I know, THAT'S BAD), while sitting the car waiting for a kid, or on my way from the car into Target/the grocery store/the gym/work. Add to that my horrifying inability to gauge whether a pause in conversation is just the other person pausing to think, or an actual pause. I am constantly interrupting. Socially, I am awkward.

When I send a text, I send you punctuation and grammar and complete sentences. I abhor the somewhat creepy texting abbreviations, in fact I believe that they signal the dumbing down of our society. Big Daddy uses those "Ur" instead of "your", and it's like fingernails on a chalkboard for me.

Me sending you a text isn't a sign of me avoiding communication...it's the opposite. Sometimes it's the only way I can communicate with any sort of lucidity.

So back to John McCain. I won't quote him verbatim here, after all, I do have a modicum of respect left for the privacy of the people who fall into my web life, but the gist of it wasn't pleasant.

What he said was, basically, "Texting is not real communication. And you like it that way."

Ouch. At first I was all like, "Well bite me, McCain. Apology retracted!".

And then I started feeling those spidery fingers of doubt and insecurity crawling up my spine. Perhaps John was right. Maybe I really do whatever it takes to not personalize things, to not show feelings or emotions.

Maybe I suck at communicating.

So I felt my cheeks burn and my soul ponder for a while, wondering if my inability to connect with people has been my downfall in life. I wondered if that was the reason a lowlife secretary was able to crawl in between me and Big Daddy so easily, because he was aching for communication? Maybe my ex-BFF and I would still be friends had I just opened the doors to my soul a little bit, and let her in.

Then I got over it.

Don't get me wrong. John McCain has every reason, every right in the WORLD to be pissed at me. Seriously. I treated him like shit. I regret it, I am truly sorry for it, but I did it.

I also know that I have a hard time opening up to people. There are a lot of us out there, who expend so much of ourselves taking care of kids and jobs and homes and everything else that we guard the precious shards of "us" like a prisoner guards his last smokes.

So that's where I left it with John McCain. Apology is out there, and believe me, it's sincere. It's an expression of remorse over my behavior, nothing more and nothing less.

My preference of texting over talking on the phone is part of who I am. It's part of the "Jenny Bundle", if you will. It's packaged along with my fierce loyalty, my never ending trust and my mad crazy trivia skills.

Whether I'm talking to you, texting you or emailing you, what you see/hear/read is what you get. My apology to John McCain was just as sincere via text as it would have been had I shown up at his door with a trio of violinists cranking out mournful tunes behind me. It saddens me that he saw it differently.

I'm glad I sent it, though. Regardless of how it was interpreted, I'm glad I sent it.

CUL8R.

4 comments:

  1. Love it! I also love to text. But I've experienced the darkside of texting--how it can cast a lot of doubt in the early stages of a relationship--no tone, lots of unanswered questions. I think it's a hard balance and one that we all have to work at. But, seriously, you can text me anytime instead of calling and I won't be mad.

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  2. Text me anytime too! I would much rather text than talk, but then again I have an irrational fear of voicemail. So maybe I have issues...

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  3. You just stated in blog form my EXACT feelings regarding the phone and texting. I hate the phone....and I love the option of texting. I absolutely feel like I am sincere and real whenever I am in person with someone albeit socially ackward, texting, or emailing. I have found myself saying OUTLOUD to a phone that is ringing " I don't have to answer you. I hate you and if it is important enough you can leave a message or text me because YOU KNOW I HATE THE PHONE!" I refuse to feel like I have to answer my phone ever. Even if I don't have a good excuse other than I don't want to. Guess I'm not the only bizarre one out there. All my friends know. It's just part of the Laura package. Glad you share it.

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  4. I used to think texting was the downfall of society. No one can spell anymore, and forget proper punctuation (two HUGE things for me)!
    But I totally enjoy texting now. For all the reasons you mentioned.
    But you know what really, really bugs me? I don't have anyone's phone number memorized anymore! I used to pride myself on being a walking, talking rolodex.

    ReplyDelete

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