Monday, July 20, 2009

I'd rather be texting

After years of having to drive into town to place calls, a farmer finally got a phone line installed in his home. A friend was visiting and in the middle of the conversation, the phone rang. The visitor assumed the farmer would answer the phone but he just let it ring. "Why didn't you answer the phone?" The visitor asked. The farmer responded, "I got this phone as a convenience. Right now I'm talking to you and answering the phone would not be convenient."

As an GenXer, I grew up without the internet and a cell phone. They both became popular while I was in college, so I'm very comfortable with it, but remember life without it. (Really, there was!) In the beginning... the cell phone was for emergencies only. (You only had 100 minutes a month anyway.) There was no such thing as texting. People would never answer their phone in the middle of a conversation with a live human being in front of them. And if it was a really urgent call, they would still feel terribly rude if they took it.

If the conversation you are currently having is important and you value the person with whom you are speaking, then that is what you are doing right now. You can call back, the text won't disappear, learn the art of delayed gratification. For the 1% who don't realize this: By answering the call or text, what you are saying is that the person to whom you are speaking is not really that important to you. You have other things to do.

one sec... i just got a text...


  1. Nice. (Not that I'm not often guilty.)

    The tricky thing with all of this is that the initial uses were "important" - thereby placing in our head that that's how it's approached. Why does the visitor expect the farmer to answer? Because that's what people do.

    The same with texts, which perhaps started for "important" messages or alerts. People felt that they could check them, and if applicable, they'd reply. Now, that's the norm.

  2. Nice post.

    I would say that even if it is normal nowadays to be texting while interacting with other people, it's still a rude thing to do. I've been guilty of it, but I still think it's rude. :)

    On a complete flip, while still rude, it is also a mark of my comfort level with a person if I feel okay enough to text while with that person. It's like - the more comfortable I feel with someone, the less I feel like I must be on my best behavior. That said, it is still rude and I, as well as everyone else, should probably try and not make a habit of it. :)

  3. LOL -
    My uncle was the first person I knew to get a cell phone, only then it was called a "car phone" and was the size of a small briefcase.
    By the time I got mine, it had shrunk down to the size of my hand, but my first plan only had 30 minutes!
    I'll weigh in on the "texting while talking" issue. It's like whispering to your friend in front of another...

  4. does g chatting while talking to someone count too? *)ahem ahem!

  5. That's why I'm not a great fan of call waiting. Why should I put the person with whom I'm currently speaking on hold so that I can talk to someone who just called? That seems rather rude to me.

  6. Amen! I can't stand it. I have a policy that when I am at home and specifically hanging out with my chassan, I put my phone on silent. That way, I chose to check my cell when I want to. If it is really important, someone will call my house. (And my MIL will call me, him, and the house just to talk to someone! LOL)

  7. That's why I'm not a great fan of call waiting. Why should I put the person with whom I'm currently speaking on hold so that I can talk to someone who just called? That seems rather rude to me.

    Call waiting is imperative for emergencies. Before I had a cell phone, I was once walking home from somewhere in my community and accidentally walked a distance in the wrong direction. I ended up in not such a great neighborhood, alone, at night, and I had to use the cell phone of a random guy doing work on the pavement of a gas station in order to call home (Blockbuster wouldn't let me use their phones - can you believe it?!). I called and called and called and no one answered for a while.

    Imagine if someone had been on the phone having a long chat with a friend while I was trying to call because I was lost in the middle of sketch-ville after dark?

    That's why call waiting is important. (And having your own cell phone.) :)