Monday, October 28, 2013

Idealistic 90's Revival: The Telephone Conversation

The other night a friend of mine contacted me to tell me she wanted to hang out and talk about a recent turning point in her life that she was super excited about. I decided I needed a break from diagnosing myself with nervous system disorders on WebMD and left the house. We went out for a drive where she went into a story of how she had just met someone in LA who was different from those she dated in the past. Typical story thus far. Everyone comes off as pleasant and on their best behavior in the first few weeks. But here's the kicker: Right after she gave him her number, he did an astonishing thing: He called her. This was strange. "Wait, he called you??!" I responded, just in case I had misheard something.  She quickly assured me with a "Dude, right?!" In which case I was all "What?! You mean, with your VOICE THING?" (I didn't say that but it would've been kind of cool if I did.) She went on to say that they did cute little impersonations, told jokes and related on many levels during their 2 hour conversation. I'll admit it, I was jealous. I haven't done this Get-To-Know-a-Guy-Over-the-Phone thing since 1998. Shit, man. I never let myself have expectations and tend to tell dudes to take me to a dinky diner or a cafe for a date since it's a comfortable setting for me but a phone conversation? Wow, if I could that and then go to Canters I'd feel like a princess.

I really do miss the initial intensity of the first phone conversation upon meeting someone new. When you can hear the jitters in a person's voice. The exchange of awkward laughter to the tone of nervousness. The quick bond you can establish about your past, present, likes, dislikes as well as going off into unedited tangents. Not typing "lol" like a 12 and a half year old but actually laughing and reacting to a person's wit and timing. All the while being genuine. Nowadays it's texting between two strangers trying to get to know one another and in the end, you uncover half of what you could have had you used your voice and not your thumbs.

Growing up in the 90's, things were more on an intimate and personal level. Not only with talking to another living human person on the phone, but even with music. We all had CDs with liner notes that had lyrics and artwork so you got to know the artist more. You could idolize them and you could show your admiration by collecting their musical contributions by displaying actual tangible items on your shelf. That was the utmost in appreciation. I loved my rotating CD case that was alphabetized by artist name and genre. Now everything is obscured and hidden. As are emotions. We use emojis and emoticons because we are all now Japanese school girls apparently. Even if you are a 42 year old guy named Joe eating an Okie dog in a truck, if you used emojis, Joe, you are too a Japanese school girl.


I mean, the fuck is this?

I've actually googled this just to make sure I could reply in a way that made sense to the sender and Google didn't have any idea either.

If I remember correctly, the primitive stages of texting consisted of "I miss you" and "See you soon". A mere step up from beeper codes like "411" and my personal favorite 8008517701210, which roughly translated into "BOOBSWORLD" and meant nothing. Overtime it became the only form of communication. Yet there should be a balance, not an extremity. Texting and an occasional phone conversation. I, for one, understand the beauty of not being bothered with constant interaction. I liked how prior to having a cell phone I was able to sit outside somewhere at night and not have anyone interrupt my alone time. Remember that scene in Reality Bites where Winona Ryder left the house and no one could get in touch with her? Wow. That was a really good part in the movie. Ben Stiller had to go to a payphone to call the diner that she was at. And she had this expression on her face like "How'd he know I was the diner? That's so cool that he went out of his way to think. This guy straight up knows romance." It's great to never have that obligation of responding based on being completely oblivious to the fact that you are being summoned.  My excuse for not answering the phone my whole life was always "I wasn't home." Now that's out the window. With my need to live life guilt-free, I have to face text messages head on as soon as I see them and reply. And when in the worst mood, this could just make me either sound disinterested, boring or unfunny and can make my relationships go downhill fast. Of course you could wait and respond when you please. But WHO ARE YOU AND HOW DO YOU DO THAT?? Surely you must be of that reptoid race David Icke wrote all those bullshit reptoid race books about and have no real human emotions and sleep at night as an iguana or whatever the hell that guy was talking about. Or you could just have patience and the rational mind of someone unlike myself, I suppose.

I'm pretty sure I've ruined a few friendships via getting involved in unnecessary miscommunication thanks to text messaging. If my repressive brain remembers correctly, my marriage was officially called off through a text message. My written words, not backed up by a jolly facial expression followed by a typical Candice giggle were taken as "My love for you is gone." (I think. I repressed it along with the time I had a serious mullet and briefly lived in Upstate New York and other unsatisfactory experiences.) Avoiding displaying your emotions? Cool, we got something for that. Not to sound like I'm in the middle of an Above Top Secret conspiracy theory forum but if we continue in this manner in 20 more years, everyone will have the inability to relate to other people and you know what that's called? Sociopathic behavior. SO COOL, GUYS! LET'S ALL GET THIS. We'll be near sociopaths who'll go to the Dunkin' Donuts to get a small Turbo iced coffee and have to hold up signs of round, yellow expressions of smiling cartooned heads to convey our appreciation while not being able to see jack shit because we're busy watching Batman Returns Again But Dark This Time From Rising From the Beginning Forever in the Dark Again Though on our Google glasses. And in that timeframe, emoticons are just going to get even more 3D-ier where little happy heads will become as realistic as possible like the characters in GTA 5 where they are virtual crazy happy heads as people slowly lose the ability to make facial expressions. It'll be fun.

Everything is just so simplified these days. You don't have to think, speak or leave your house if you don't want to. It's controllable if you can find a means to limit how much ease in life you actually need. Romance has dwindled down to half-ass fragments of what it could be. Instant gratification is needed. Everything is now, now, now or never. She isn't around, move onto the next one on POF or on Facebook somewhere. The beauty of pining and yearning for someone is slowly escaping us all simply by distracting oneself. Which is the utmost easiest thing you could possibly do. Has everyone become replaceable since millions of people exist within the palm of your hand? You liked your ex's ass? Hashtag #ass on Instagram and here's your new heart's desire.  Don't even give yourself a few days to mourn a break-up. Just go read someone's shitty tweets about how today is leg day at the gym and send them an @reply and then maybe boink.

Internet and text messaging is obviously a way of life and isn't going anywhere fast since were so accustomed to it. Just do yourself the favor and don't take away from letting yourself get to know someone to the fullest extent. Those first few weeks after meeting someone who sparks your interest and allowing yourself to revel in it is really the stuff that life is made for. Pick up the goddamn phone and try not to subdue it out of fear or laziness and make it less than what it could be. You shouldn't deny yourself a bit of bliss and a possible anxiety ridden adrenaline rush. Unless you're nuts then don't call anyone except Rite Aid pharmacy and get yourself un-nuts.