It happened again last night, that eerie silence.
Jenny and I were at our beloved Hula's -- I was digging into a faux coconut shell filled with wasabi mashed potatoes, along with a Caesar salad and four steak skewers -- when we noticed a sudden quietude from the table closest to us.
Just a few minutes before, three teenaged girls were laughing and chatting. One announced loudly, "I have to tinkle" and Jenny and I shared a silent eye-roll (kind of like an egg roll, but more tasty).
Then it got quiet.
At first we didn't notice, settling back into our own conversation. But then we picked up on the strange wordlessness coming from our neighbors.
Jenny spotted them first: two remaining girls text-messaging on their phones.
Both were facing each other, but each was intently staring at individual screens.
Jenny whispered to me, "Why would they be texting when they're out to dinner with each other?"
To our middle-aged sensibilities, this was a weird performance.
Gazing upon the texting masses, I often wonder: just what do people say when they're mashing those tiny buttons? Occasionally I'll text Jenny or Vienna if I'm attending a meeting that's running late. Sometimes my phone's texting feature helps me send a quick message when I don't want to disturb my surroundings.
But the idea of texting someone else while enjoying a meal with a friend strikes me as bizarre.
Sure, I can imagine all sorts of reasons why it made sense to these folks. And, of course, it's really none of my business why a stranger chooses to send a text message.
But I think that many, many folks text as a sort of nervous tic, a technological parallel to saying "like" every three words while speaking.
Awkward silence? Send a text. Boring surroundings? Send a text. Insufficient stimulus? Send a text.
Really, I wonder what percentage of all the texts sent throughout the world simply announce, "OMG, IM soooo bord!!! :-(" (don't get me started on the impact of text messaging on spelling).
Doubtlessly, my rant reads like the complaint of an old fogey hearing The Beatles for the first time: "You call that music? It's caterwauling!" Yeah, OK, gramps...
But for the life of me, I just don't get texting.
(Cartoon borrowed from Savage Chickens)