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Polemic #1: Nobody Cares

OK, this one isn’t about long ago days in Hollywood or about growing up (finally) in New York.  This one is a little bitter, maybe even caustic.  It’s time to vent.  I vent because some people think they can make you care, and….despite their cloying efforts, you just don’t.

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The Legend of Huey

There’s a store in Marietta, Georgia.  It should be called a warehouse really; it’s bigger than it probably has a right to be.  Perhaps conscious, or self-conscious of this fact, a few years ago store planners built additional walls ranging from 20 to 100 feet inside the originals, making effectively a store within a store, a retail Matryoshka doll, if you will.

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I’M NOT SHOUTING AT YOU

Whether in a bookstore or a restaurant; or even SPEEDING ALONG on the highway, we are nowadays usually face down in a cell phone or tablet, typing out or dictating messages.  Though often delivered without much forethought; intention is ACTUALLY EVERYTHING in messaging. This is because intention has always been everything in writing, and messaging is just a form of writing.

But because there is no face to face or eye to eye contact, MISINTERPRETATIONS ARE RIFE. To save each other from hurt feelings, this is probably why we deliver to each other such SHALLOW SENTIMENTS, and why we abbreviate to such ridiculous lengths, with LOL’s and JK’s. ROTFL’s.
It is the compromise we make so we can avoid the LABORIOUS and hardly-worth-it efforts to make personal contact, which may include a drive in the car to visit a friend; or even just a phone call.
Staying as shallow, and thus as safe as we can, sometimes just to keep things interesting we go OUT OF OUR WAY to find offense. One way is to not respond quick enough to a person’s text or email. Another is to read INTO SOMETHING not based on any error of content, but instead of form.
Form, of all things, is an UNFAIR THING to fault in the nearly formless (and certainly artless) endeavor that is texting. A lot of times someone can get an angry point across by typing in ALL CAPS. Doing so is a way of saying, “You’re not paying attention to me so take THIS!” Or maybe the intent is to drive some point across, underscoring intent, or to show SARCASM. Conversely it is often used to express joyful excitement.
There are many different intentions that can be expressed in one form. But increasingly, the message is received by the addressee in one way, as one of anger. The reader has, by reacting this way, surrendered his right of interpretation by doing this.
We are left with this humorous exchange in text form: “HEY HOW ARE YOU DOING TODAY?”
And the response, “I’m great, but why are you shouting at me?”
Anybody can see the response doesn’t match the intent of the message. When you think about it a minute, it’s just strange that someone can get ANGRY AT A MESSAGE that is simply different from any other only in that it contains only upper case letters.
I’ve even seen people read all capped messages and wince as if they can hear shouted words in their head! I’m surprised the person who overreacts like this doesn’t look around to see if anyone else can hear the “shouting.”
Imagine a person in a car reading a text that is all caps and suddenly swerving off the road, hearing screaming in their head. I’ll bet it’s happened somewhere, in fact I’m almost SURE OF IT!
I wonder if any friendships have ended because of the ALL CAPS BUTTON. I’m pretty sure there’s been a few. The only good thing about texting, caps and all, is that the word “like” doesn’t seem to make it to the recipient’s screen as it seems to as every third word to our hearing ears.
It’s our choice to not get annoyed by written words, to keep our blood pressure down and ask for clarification or to just chuckle at a typo. It’s amazing to consider that it’s always the case, that we can interpret the things we hear or read as more positive than our initial reaction might feel.   Maybe it would be a good idea, until we get all this errant capitalization and it’s horrific and unintended effects under control, that we should go back to a little more face to face discussion. HEY,IT’S JUST A SUGGESTION.