If I’m being honest, which I usually try to be on this blog, (hence why so many posts are about Ryan Gosling and/or postgrad complaining), sometimes 160 characters can make or break my entire week.
What is it about text messaging that makes it simultaneously the best and worst thing on the planet? My heart still seems to skip an occasional beat when my phone beeps or buzzes, waiting to tell me that someone has sent me a sentence, an emoticon party, a picture message, or better yet, a moving gif (thanks, iPhone!) and it’s stupid how much I rely on that sound to make me feel loved.
You know those moments (or weeks) when your phone just doesn’t make a sound and you start pricing options for a new one online because clearly it can’t just be that your friends are not responding or sending you every detail of their lives? Please tell me you have those? Please? Because embarrassingly so, if I had a dollar for every time I had why-am-i-not-getting-text-messages-anxiety, I’d be rolling in the green and not even writing this blog because I had to go spend all the money I’d made.
Pick a crowded place and watch how many eyes of all different people- multiple ages and types- are on their phones. Whole conversations are had half-way now and it seriously doesn’t depend on the circumstances. It doesn’t matter what else is happening – if there was a meteor storming to Earth and Bruce Springsteen was atop that meteor playing a guitar solo and simultaneously offering me a hot fudge sundae, I would still probably look down anxiously at my phone to see the message count.
Even writing this post took longer than it should because I simply HAD to pick the perfect emoji of an ice cream cone to send to a best friend. Clearly my priorities are in order.
At the core of this whole texting thing is that we prioritize the smallest tiniest details of our lives, and even more so, life is so frustrating when your texts go unanswered. How many times have I thought, “Oh, I see you can instagram that sunrise but you can’t send me a y/n to ‘wanna grab iced coffee later?’ ” At the very core of texting’s convenience is the fact that the text message system is impersonal, and as easy as it is to send, it’s just as easy to ignore. As much as you can alert someone of important information, you can just easily as respond with one insignificant word. And so the cycle of clutching our phones tightly for no reason continues, as if the next message delivered could make or break our lives, when in reality, it could very well be a picture of a cat wearing a bee costume.*
So maybe this is the great equalizer of our generation. No matter how cool you are, no matter how much fun you’re having or how fabulous everything around you is, you’ll still pause what you’re doing when a little boxy device makes a sound to tell you that you have, indeed, received a text message.
And for all our sakes, I solemnly hope that said text message doesn’t just read- “K.”