Sunday, May 30th, 2010

image of telephone

I had a beer Friday after work with some of my coworkers. We gathered around a small table outside Genna’s and, while the conversation drifted from one topic to the next, I couldn’t help noticing that almost everyone was carrying on two conversations at a time: One with those of us sitting around the table, and one with whomever they were texting on their cell phones. Two of them were texting constantly, and two would check their messages every so often, replying occasionally. Not one of them acted as if this was rude in any way, or even unusual.

All of them were half my age, some of them probably a few years younger, not that their age would necessarily make them more or less likely to text while talking. I wouldn’t presume that people my age don’t do this. I know they talk on the cell phone while they drive, and probably even text behind the wheel, but I would guess that the younger generation would be more likely to do it and less likely to regard it as odd.

And I suppose on some level it isn’t all that odd. They were, after all, sharing the remarks of their texting friends with the rest of us in physical attendance, so it was like virtually doubling the number of people at the table. I had never seen this done before, though, so the culture shock made me unsure how to reply, or if I was meant to reply at all, to someone who wasn’t actually there.

One day this will not, I am sure of it, be as familiar to me as making a phone call. Or maybe it will, but I doubt it. My great-grandmother, I am told, was never very happy with dial telephones; to place a call, she wanted to pick up the receiver and talk with an operator. The change to using a dial to place a call yourself was not something she could get used to. I get the feeling that having someone joining a conversation by proxy will take a lot more getting used to than transitioning to a rotary phone, and I’m not sure I’m up to it, or will be some time hence.

double talk | 2:04 pm CDT
Category: daily drivel | Tags:
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