TALK, TEXT, MAIL, WHO CLICKS MY BUTTON?
IN RESPONSE TO A PROMPT ON PROJECT 365 on personal preferences in these communication modes.
- TALK Talking is easy. I am a babble mouth. I suffer from verbal diarrhea and foot in mouth disease. I am rarely at a loss for words. Usually my flood of words scares people off. I am frequently the last moment substitute speaker on any subject when the learned panelist or lecturer plays hooky at seminars or workshops.
Writing is tough. In the old ink pen and later ball pen days, I labored with aching fingers and elbows to put my thoughts on paper, producing illegible script. Nowadays I type on my keypad, one finger at a time, tongue sticking out in effort, frequently hitting wrong keys and making things disappear from the page. The result is nowhere near what was intended.
- I talk too fast. Unless, of course I am doing one of those talks where you are paid by the minute. Free speech is always far too fast, trying to catch up with the thoughts. Good friends from way back confessed that they never followed what I said, but were too polite to point it out.
I text at snail’s pace. I stare green with envy at the youngsters whose fingers are a whizzing over the keyboards without having to look at them, or two thumbs tap tapping at their Smartphone like demented woodpeckers. My head keeps moving between keyboard and screen like a nodding toy on a car dashboard, to check if what I have typed has appeared on screen. It often doesn’t appear in the same form I had intended. I long for the departed species called stenographers. Their electronic substitute, the software, refuses to follow my accent.
- Talking has one major shortcoming though.It does not come with an edit, delete or send button. For someone with my knack for foot in the mouth, and skills in how to make enemies and offend people, these are vital for survival. Whenever I open my mouth, it’s a send button, no scope for edit, delete of save as draft. How often have I rued this? The infinite patience of my spouse is why I am still married, and the virtual impossibility of sacking a government employee is why I am still employed.
Writing was the safest. You could always tear up what you wrote. And the time involved in writing always cooled passions. Texting and mailing come with edit delete and send options, and unless you accidentally hit the send button, which I sometimes do, you are granted the advantage of second thought.