Welcome to Darkside Daily

When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't Say Goodbye, Say TTYL!

If I were to spend some time describing myself, I’d find it a lot easier to make a list of things that I’m not, rather than a list of things I am. For example, I am not tall, I am not good dancer, I am not an intellectual speaker, I am not ‘sexy’, ‘fashionable’ or a ‘BFF’ (these last three points I have learnt thanks to those ‘insightful’ Facebook quizzes). However, I most definitely AM well mannered.

Oh yes, when the occasion calls for it, I know exactly how to be all charm and sophistication. I become my alter ego; Sir Samuel, the Baron of Bull. Throw me into a formal dinner event and I’d fit right in. To a point; of course, the lack of intellectual conversation might trip me up, but otherwise I’d do rather well if I do say so myself. You’d have to have real X-ray vision to see me for the shady little phony that I am.

However, in recent times I’ve come to realise that there have emerged a new set of social do’s and don’ts. And just like the rest of the world, it’s all gone a little mad.

The introduction of SMS’s and emails has brought a new standard to communication. Gone are the days of letter writing; it’s amazing how much one can convey in a single text message. The character limit of 160 per message has led to us to develop a whole new jargon, where the use of vowels is minimal. Add a few numbers and punctuation marks to your message and you can describe your entire day’s routine and still have a few spare characters to ask ‘n wt u bin up2?’ Now I’m no stranger to messaging, but even I feel like some kind of literary scholar compared to my fellow text partners. I remember when I first started using a cell phone, I spent close to a month trying to figure out what ‘kewl’ meant. (‘’Kill Everyone With Love?” “Kiss Everything With Lips?” “Kids EveryWhere Lie?” “Know English, Write Latin?”) When I was told it was just another way of saying cool, it was sort of an anticlimax.

But it’s just not information that goes with messages; one can now convey the intangible, such as feelings and moods. Yes, the lipstick mark on the love letter has now been replaced with the colon and asterisk. Confusing to say the least; let’s just say that the first time I saw that in a message I was glad I knew what it meant and not dismiss it as a typing error. Even the style of writing your message provides room for interpretation; I can only guess at the number of arguments I have had with my ex’s simply because one of my messages didn’t have enough dots in them, or if the average number of smiley’s used in a conversation was lower than usual. Another important aspect of messaging is the ETR, or estimated time of reply. Messages have to be replied within a certain time frame; the better the friend, the faster the response. I find myself falling prey to this many times; when my close friends don’t reply to my messages, a little scene unfolds in my head. My friend hears his/her phone beep, takes it out, sees the message is from me, makes a face of disgust and hurls the phone in slow motion, while simultaneously taking out his/her six shooter and filling his phone with bullets, all the while laughing maniacally as the phone erupts in a ball of fire. But that’s just me.

And then there’s the ambiguous study of missed calls. I consider this the height of advancement, simply because despite its complete lack of definition, we still use missed calls to convey all forms of information. A missed call could mean any of the following things, or even all of them at once if you’re really unlucky:

1. I’m broke, call me back
2. Yes
3. No
4. I’m thinking of you
5. Wake up
6. Goodnight
7. Good morning
8. Where are you?
9. I’m bored
10. I’ll have fries with that, thank you

If you’re not quick enough to make the appropriate response, you’re in trouble. This will lead to further missed calls, which again you’ll probably be at a loss to explain. This will be followed by the angry silence, during which you will most likely have to resort to lower levels of communication’s such as phone calls to clear the whole matter up. Most of these scenarios end with one party saying “Why didn’t you say so?!” and the other party going “But I did! I gave you a missed call!”

And woe unto you if you should commit the cardinal sin of switching off your phone! My lecturer once couldn’t get in touch with a classmate of mine at night because his phone was off. When he asked him why it was off, my classmate simply replied “I was sleeping”. This was met with a look of utter disbelief; he might as well have said he had been abducted by aliens and was not in our space-time continuum at the time. I mean, what is the point of having a cell phone if I can’t reach you at any time of the day or night that I so choose? So what if you’re busy? So what if it’s 3a.m.; what are you doing, sleeping?! Who cares if you’re at a funeral? Just speak softly.

Yes times have changed, and we now have to be a bit more careful about our actions in this digital age. What’s worrying though is the fact that all of the above has become quite common to the average person, at the expense of more traditional social rules. Phones go off in the middle of every church service, wedding, funeral, class, you name it. Add to that the fact that simple courtesies are now being treated as completely alien. Just the other day I held a door open for a lady as she was coming through behind me. She gave me such a confused look that said “Are you trying to sleep with me?” and “Do you think I couldn’t do that myself?” all at the same time.

Next time I’ll just get her number and give her a missed call; maybe I’ll get lucky, or maybe she’ll call back and say the fries are over.

1 comment:

alicia said...

"10. I’ll have fries with that, thank you"
yes i am indeed "compelled" to ..
and another observation , i couldnt help but notice... that u only have comments from the fairer sex so far.. ;) .. are men just lazy to be bothered, or maybe only us females get the joke?

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