I have an older friend who has glommed onto texting as though it were the only way to communicate. She becomes impatient if I don’t respond within sixty seconds. She occasionally takes a walk and ends up in my front yard, asking for a glass of water. Don’t get me wrong. I’d be happy to see her and provide her with some H2O if I only knew when and if she was coming.
Today she stopped by my house. I was inside frantically cleaning my dirty office while listening to a live stream of a New York couple singing Paul McCartney songs. I found them during the pandemic, listened to them for a year and a half and then got out of the habit in 2022 where we could go hear live music in person again.
My office faces the front yard. I was probably sitting on the floor cleaning out my book case. Since I’m a children’s book author and since I just had two big book sales through PayPal, I felt the need to get organized. I’m also a book buyer and a book reviewer, and books were stacked all over the place where I’d dropped them with every intention of putting them somewhere to live.
I saw the text and my friend had already left my house and walked up the hill toward her place. I told her what I was doing. Then I went back to singing/cleaning, not sure if it was too late. There had been a five-minute gap between our texts. Maybe she would blow me off and go home.
Ten minutes later, I looked at my phone again since she hadn’t come back. But she had come back and was in my front yard asking for water. My six-foot-wide window facing my front yard did not show me my friend. I opened the front door and looked out. She wasn’t there.
I texted her asking why she hadn’t rung the doorbell.
“You know I don’t ring the doorbell!” she said. Then she added, “WTF?”
Honestly people, we can’t throw away all social conventions and replace them with texting. I say if you are in my front yard and you want water, let me know you’re here in a more definite manner than a text.
Facebook, email, texting, phone calls, doorbells, carrier pigeons, there are so many ways to communicate. We should hedge our bets and use at least two ways if we are thirsty and needing a drink.
Long ago, I went to DC with my two adult kids. I realized my friend lived in nearby Virginia. I Facebooked her my cell number, asking if she wanted to get together that evening. She Facebooked me back to come over for pizza. But I didn’t have Facebook on my little flip phone and didn’t get the message until we got back from a day of doing the museums. I checked all day for a phone call from her ( I didn’t have her number, but she had mine). She never called. She assumed I had a better phone and that I was tuned into Facebook. We missed our moment to reconnect after close to 35 years.
Now I’m waiting for a handyman I met on nextdoor to come over and give me a bid. He has my address but I don’t have his cell number. It’s maddening, constantly having to check email to see if he’s coming or not. Is he legit? I don’t even know.
I wonder if he’s willing to ring my doorbell when he gets here.