Texting: You either love it or hate it. On the one hand, it’s easy to zap or receive a quick message when you can’t talk on the phone. Last night, for example, I received a text wishing me a happy Fourth from a guy who’s just started to show some interest in me. I was out on a date with someone else, so I couldn’t and wouldn’t have taken his call had he tried that mode. Seeing his text later, however, made me realize he was thinking about me earlier. Nice.
On the other hand, texting can be a not-so-nice and very convenient way of avoiding actual conversation, as in: It’s far easier to text your venom/anger/sadness/desire/flirty remarks rather than say any of it voice-to-voice, especially when your text is something you would NEVER say in person. I’ve done it; I suspect everyone has at some point.
A slight digression: I have also learned the hard way more than once that if a guy incessantly and only texts right from the start, “Ur so hot, baby can’t wait to c u” will soon be replaced with “Gotta cancel tonite, baby,” which will ultimately end up as “Not sure when I’ll see you, hon.”
Ah, and then there’s text regret, felt either immediately upon pressing “send” or realized the next morning when you piece together the previous evening. You know the text. It’s the one that leaves you wishing like hell that you could pluck the words from the air before they ever reach the screen of the intended so that you can shove the errant remarks back into the recesses of your phone, where they will instantly vaporize into harmless thoughts that were never fully formed. Alas, “send” means sent, and likely received and read. All the do-overs and retractions never seem to fully undo the text that got away.
Which leads to a text I received last week from a guy who insisted we should be together over the reunion weekend, despite his having a girlfriend living 20 minutes away. I immediately shut him down in a less-than-nice way when I realized what was happening. Yeah, yeah, can’t blame a guy for trying…whatever.
I received his text while I was sitting on the plane waiting to wing my way back to the Keys (see, this is one of those times you don’t want to talk on the phone and texting is incredibly appropriate).
“Great to see u. U were so nice to me. Thanx.”
R u kidding?
I texted back that I was pretty sure I hadn’t been all that nice to him and that frankly, he had confounded me with the persistent come-ons, given his admitted like for his girl “back home.”
A call came in just as I pressed “send,” which I took. A moment later I went back to my text screen, pressed his name and saw a new text response from him asking, “Why?”
Why? WHY? You have to ask “Why?”
“Um, u have a girlfriend and u just wanted a weekend quickie with me?” Send. Dumb ass, I thought.
Until I realized who I’d just sent that choice comment to: the one who’d ditched me in May, the one I’d lunched with. Yep, they have the same first names and last initials. How I’d managed that lovely faux pas remains a mystery. The “Why?” question was from weeks ago. I always clear conversations, but somehow this one was still in my phone and somehow I had just sent the wrong Jeff the right message.
Now who was the dumb ass?
I began the litany of apologies: “Ha! I am writing to the wrong Jeff! Had a situation in dc!! LOL sorry.”
Which didn’t feel like enough, so I followed up with: “So sleep deprived. Sorry!”
Which seemed even stupider to say, so I finished with: “I am jumping out of my plane when it takes off unless I die of embarrassment before that.”
Right, that fixed everything.
Hours later, I landed in Fort Lauderdale. Hours and hours later, I was back in my quiet Keys neighborhood. Within a half hour, I went to Jeff’s restaurant, where I knew he’d be tending bar, to apologize and hopefully laugh in person about the mistakenly sent text.
He had a big grin on his face as I approached the bar. “And what, missy, was all THAT about?” he laughed, waving his cell.
It was close to closing. I was the only one at his bar. I started laughing as I tried to show him the errant text thread and explain why I had so stupidly screwed up.
We both laughed, again and again, as I dug myself deeper into the rabbit hole and finally agreed, “I was an idiot!.”
We laughed some more about reunion parties and previous sixth grade loves of our lives and all the good and bad feelings that school reunions conjure up.
“Hey, thanks for coming in to see me,” he smiled when I said it was time for me to head home and sleep for a year.
“Hey, thanks for getting the humor in this,” I said, shaking my head.
He paused, then said, “I like it better this way. Friends?”
I looked at him, and I realized at that moment that I’d actually gotten over the hurt and the confusion he’d previously caused, because we weren’t ever really destined to be a romantic match.
But tonight, too funny. Tonight, all good. Tonight, perfect.
“Friends,” I smiled back at him. All thanks to a text that happily got away.