And believe me, they are better off.
Today, for example, I talked with a CS rep about my phone while helping the toddler on the potty. I will spare you the details, just suffice it to say that if he knew what was really going on while I held the phone with my shoulder, he would hang up and pretend there was a malfunction of some kind.
I also sent the same toddler to his room a few minutes later for dumping half a container of yogurt on the carpet, cleaned up the yogurt, and rinsed the towel with which I cleaned up the yogurt, all while he was checking the model number on my phone to be sure he had the right customer file.
Then, while he changed the file so that the customer information actually matched my personal information, I helped my middle daughter sort through her drawers and get rid of some clothes that didn't fit. I was glad that he couldn't hear our conversation about why it's unacceptable to wear pajama bottoms with a giant hole in the butt, even though they're just pajamas and nobody but your sisters is ever going to see them.
I am also glad that people on the other end of the phone can't see or smell anything on my end. Again, details are not necessary. But I'm sure you can imagine that a mother of 5 has occasion to conduct all sorts of phone calls while tending to other business. Whether it involves my role as a waste management expert, or clothing police, or overseeing various unappealing chores, I am sure that no one to whom I am speaking would be better off for knowing what is happening while the conversation is going on.
My only complaint is that in this age of vast technology, (and since I have the most technologically advanced phone on the planet... which is definitely another blog entirely) I actually have to remove the phone from the side of my head and press a button in order to mute it. This annoyance, however, could be considered a blessing in disguise; as it means that I have to inhale for a moment before I unleash my verbal wrath on whichever child happens to be sitting on his or her sibling.
Another modern phone feature without which I could not possibly live is caller ID. I used to pay extra for this feature. I would probably still pay extra for it (but don't tell AT$T that... and the dollar sign is not a typo... they charge me enough as it is). But it enables me to make intelligent decisions about whether it is worth it to press the button and answer the call, or whether my valuable time would be better spent doing something important, like finishing my ice cream sandwich.
Voicemail is my best friend. It has saved me from so many unpleasant conversations. I enjoy having conversations entirely through voicemail. Lest you think me unsocial, it's simply more efficient than carrying on an entire conversation.
Which bring me to my favorite modern medium of all: Text. Genius! Amazing! Superlative! Even better than voicemail, because it requires even less time and effort! (Unless you are technology deficient and can't figure out the predictive text feature on your phone. If you are, I certainly don't fault you. Some people just aren't wired that way. Besides, it IS a tad confusing when you're trying to type potluck and the suggestion that pops up is pork. I had the worst time convincing my phone that I really did mean to type Cassie and not cassis. But I digress.)
What I love about text is that it eliminates all of the time-wasting conversational mush and gets right to the point. No "hi, how are you? I'm fine! Obligatory heath and/or family inquiry, sometimes leading to comments about the weather, or drivers, if your conversation partner happens to be driving..." Just straight to the point.
Pick up milk
out of bread
free at 7?
can't talk, call later
And, if you're terribly hip and modern... there's always crackberry. The new version of cavespeak. We have officially regressed the English language back to grunts and woefully incomplete sentences.
r u going?
last time i found a bug in my soup
As a medium of communication, text is suited to tween speak and grammar-philes alike. One could be as brief or as grammarian as one pleases. Crackberry can be pretty annoying, but I have to say I am awed by the efficiency behind it (to quote Cary Grant). In fact, to sway those of you who are against any brevity of speech, I have decided to show you just how much easier it can be. Oscar Wilde is one of my favorite writers. I am endlessly in awe of the way he could construct a sentence. Here is a favorite exchange, in both languages.
John: You don't suppose Gwendolyn will become like her mother in about 150 years?
Algernon: My dear fellow, all women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That is his.
John: Is that meant to be clever?
Algernon: It is perfectly phrased! and quite as true as any observation in civilized life should be.
JW: spose GB'll b like her mom smday?
AM: bud, all girls r like that. guys r not tho
AM: lol Well s'true
Now, see how much more efficient that was? All that hard work speaking replaced by a few well chosen letters.
What I love best about texting is that when you aren't in a position to have a verbal conversation, you can still communicate. I'm all about efficiency. If I can be sitting in a meeting and still find out the time and location of my next child pickup before I even leave, so much the better for me. Texting is all about convenience and saving time.
I do know people, however, who refuse to text. My brother is one of them. This is endlessly annoying when trying to schedule play dates and meeting times with the cousins. It would be SO much easier if we could text, but he insists on having actual conversations every 3 minutes instead as plans change and are adjusted.
Come over to the quick side people, it's not all that hard to learn! If you need further persuading, or even a little crackberry vocabulary lesson, lmk... i'd be happy to help. Anything I can to do convert the hopelessly conversation-bound to a life of ease and thumb exercising.
idk if u no r not, but u can't escape progress :)