Calling vs. Texting – The 5th Round KO (Writing 101)

Writing 101 Day Seven

The world is our arena. All spectators are present. Young and old. Men and women. True hard-core fans. Each one excited to support its chosen team. Differences dividing couples and causing rifts between families. A source of tension amongst friends. Anxieties increase due to internal conflict.

The contenders?  In one corner the warm and classic Phone Call. In the other corner the cold and modern-day Texting. I’ve placed my bets and this is MY recap of the game.

Round 1: Just Catching Up With a Friend

  1. PHONE CALL – Back in the day before texting entered the scene, people had no reservations about picking up the phone and calling a friend. Heck, it’s all we knew. No other option than to put aside some special time to talk, laugh, cry or celebrate. You listened to each others actually speak. You could actually hear them giggle after you said something funny. You could tell your friend was worried by the quivering of her voice. You heard her sniffling when she told you her mom passed away. And the excitement that came pouring through the line when he told you he proposed to his girlfriend. You can’t fake this stuff. (Well, unless you’re really, really good at faking stuff. Another time, different post).
  2. TEXTING – Laughing has been replaced with LOL… And if it was really, really funny never fear, that’s what LMAO is for. Can you even remember what your friends laugh sounded like? Want to say congrats? Surely you can express your excitement fully with the obnoxious amount of exclamation marks you include. Happy? Sad? Disappointed?  Nervous about the new job? Doubtful about your new boyfriend?  Oh, don’t worry, there’s an emoticon for that. A little yellow face replacing the sound of your friend’s voice. (These emoticons are taking over the world).

Round 2: Need To Cancel Plans

  1. PHONE CALL – Nerve wrecking to say the least. But do you have a legitimate reason to cancel? She’ll understand that you came down with food poisoning, right? Will she notice that you’re lying when she hears your voice trembling with minimal confidence in the excuse you’re using? Of course she will. Plus the dread of actually hearing  her disappointment as she tells you “I hope you feel better”. Too much to handle. So you tell her the truth, just like a friend would.
  2. TEXTING – Oh what a breeze this will be. An excuse? Ha! You have 5 sure-fire excuses on file. Any one of them can sound convincing as long as you add those stupid emoticons. A few sad faces, followed by an “I’m sorry, I’ll totally make it up to you” and you are off the hook. Or are you? Could you truly say for a fact, without hearing your friends reaction that she’s not pissed that she went through all the trouble of making those reservations, then you cancel on the same day? Did you truly think that her “sure, not a problem” was truly not a problem? IT’S A PROBLEM.

Round 3: Mom, I’m At Jakes House

  1. PHONE CALL – “Put Jake’s mom on the phone right now!” (BUSTED) “Get your butt home right now. We’re so going to have words later”.
  2. TEXTING – “Is there an adult in the house?” (of course). “What are you there for?” (we have to complete a homework project). “Next time ask me before you go, okay?” (Yeah, sure mom, sorry). “Two hours tops, then go home. Let me know once you get home”. (Yeah, sure mom, of course). “You’re welcome”. (Oh yeah, thanks). YOU’VE BEEN PLAYED.

Round 4: Out With The Guys/Girls

  1. PHONE CALL – First, what’s the constant need to be checking in if your significant other knows in advance you made plans to go out? (I’ll rant about that at another time). Did you lie about where you were going and now fear calling because she’s going to hear either the booming, thumping music at the club you guys planned in advance to go to? Or he’s going to hear the jeering female screams cheering on the male stripper at the Chippendale you girls planned for months to go to for what’s her names birthday? You have a better chance that an actual phone call will keep them honest or just make them work harder to find noise canceling solutions. Or here’s a concept, maybe just telling them where you’re going to in the first place.
  2. TEXTING – Similar to Round 3. “Hi, you guys/girls having fun?” (Yes, it’s nice to catch up with them. Long overdue). “Where did you guys/girls go?” (Quaint little restaurant/hole in the wall dive/mani pedis/sports bar). “Tell them I said hi”. (You send a well choreographed pic of the group having fun). “Cool, next time we should do a couples thing”. (Absolutely,  they said they can’t wait to see you next time). “When you coming home”. (Honey, it might be a bit late. I’ll wake you with a kiss). “Love you”  (me too). And BAM! just like that, they go back to that dance or back to slipping a dollar in to that thong.

Round 5: Dating Overall 

  1. PHONE CALL – Oh the day when a young boy and girl or a man and woman, would spend many hours and days talking and listening to each other over the phone. To hear his voice tell you how beautiful you are. To hear his excitement when he first hears your voice on the other side of that line. To hear the flirtatious comments. To listen as he answers all your questions. To fully understand which of those questions actually made him nervous because you could hear his hesitation. To know which of your own replies he actually listened to because he repeated them and acknowledged them  accordingly. To know exactly when he began to lose interest because of the silence. To later hear the sincerity in his apology because he was just distracted with the game but didn’t want to lose the chance of having you there with him on the line. And to hearing each other breathe as you both almost drift off to sleep and saying good night but neither wanting to hang up first. (True story. Really, this stuff happens).
  2. TEXTING – Where do I even begin with the problem with date texting?! Okay, you both meet. Both exchange numbers. And instead of him growing the sober courage to pick up the phone and call you personally to ask you out on a date regardless of the outcome, he cops out and sends an impersonal text. And you? Oh, you swoon because he texted you? Are you seriously kidding me? He texted because he was nervous? So. dag. on. freaking. what! When did nerves become a true man’s downfall? Aren’t all men boasting about how it’s all in the challenge? And now the challenge arises and his choice of weapon is to cowardly hide behind a text?  First sign of weakness. (Run for the hills). But let’s say you look past that and accept the date. You like to give guys the benefit of the doubt. DOUBT HIM!  He still doesn’t pick up the phone to personally discuss the plans? And he texts you to let you know he’s on his way? And he texts you that he’s outside waiting? And finally, you get to hear each other during dinner. Laugh during dessert and look forward to another date as he drops you off at home. Perfect? You guys continue to text for days. Perfect? Do you even remember what he sounded like? Are you sure he’s set aside time to “talk” to you or have you allowed him to “fit” you in because texting is so easy. Hasn’t he asked, or wait, texted you for another date? And was that text a sincere reply? Did he have a tone when he sent that last text? He texted you 15 times yesterday but only 12 today? He didn’t text at all? How long has it been since his last text? He just told you WHAT over a text? You guys didn’t seriously have a text argument, did you? You guys broke up over text? We’re you even dating? (Hope you learn your lesson for the next dude that tries to date text you).

You hard-core texting fans can continue fighting for your right to text. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I sport your team jersey. I’m no hypocrite. Texting can help you out in a jam by group texting something important when you don’t have the time to call everyone individually. And if you’re somewhere that requires silence or if where you’re at is too noisy, well, then a text is your saviour. But use this tool weapon wisely and sparingly, because in the end, after all strategies are considered, the good old Phone Call will always win. At least 80% of the time. (Yes, that’s my own imagined percentage based on my own imagined statistics). 

And here’s some additional rants on texting: You lose communications skills. You forget how to talk to each other. All these acronyms are taking over the actual english language. People are actually saying omg, lol, wtf and smh in real person to person live conversations. Please tell me you see a problem with all of this. Do not succumb to the “everything text”. Please do NOT text your friend to read about this awesome blog you just read. Trust me, call them and you can laugh about it, together, over the phone. And you can thank me later.

— Elke

A Killer in Sheeps Clothing – (Writing 101)

Writing 101 – Day Four

I’m not that old. I don’t think i am. No, no, I’m not… Well…by my standards I’m not. (To my grand-niece: this is not old!!!). But I have observed many things in life. I have seen the world transition in my 40 years. Sometimes toward great progress and sometimes it seems as if it’s gone into nostalgic remission.

Everyone looks to move forward, and don’t get me wrong,  I’m right in line always ready to jump on to that wagon. Ask anyone about the dozen cell phones I’ve had in my years. But at the same time, this so-called progress has crept in like a killer and taken away from me, from us, from our children and their children something so beautiful that we didn’t know it until it was too late.Yes, yes, I know, sounds a bit dramatic. But I promise you this will tear at your heart-strings.

Recently, my oldest son inquired about our dating years when we were younger. Not when we dated each other, but our young teenage loves. Don’t even get us started on stuff like that. We reminisced about what it was like for each of us. Similarities are abundant in these type of stories. Those first looks. That feeling when you first hold hands. Going to a fast food joint together because that’s all you can afford. Your friends making sure they pile into the back seat of the car around you just so you’re both squeezed in tightly together. And one of our all time favorites was how we expressed our feelings for each other through the words of our favorite songs…..

THE MIXED TAPE (a.k.a The Mix Tape)

And just like Video Killed the Radio Star, technology murdered the mixed tape. More like slaughtered and dismembered. Almost impossible to gain back all the components to resurrect. Gone forever are the days when a young man would slave over his boom box waiting for the radio to play all the songs he wanted to record for his beautiful young love. Waiting on the weekend for American Top 40 with Casey Kasem to come on so he could dedicate that entire morning to this laborious job. When he’d steady his finger on the PLAY button for just the right moment to push it downward then sit out the entire song to stop the recording before the DJ started to speak again. And it took a skillful recorder to capture only the songs and avoid all those radio commentaries and commercials. The same procedure for every song he had in mind and until there was no more room on the tape. It was an art.

I remember getting my first mixed tape. It was a true proclamation of his love. He was willing to give up that time with his friends or video games just to create something that expressed his feelings for me. He took his time, he handpicked specific songs, he isolated himself from the world, locked in his room, just to impress me. Then, with additional effort and in his best penmanship wrote out all the tracks on to the card provided in the cassette case. All to impress me. And because I too had gone through that same grueling task to create mixed tapes of my own, I knew precisely how important I was to him when he gently put that tape in to my hands without a word said aloud. He didn’t have to say anything. That little box said it all. Back home, light-headed I’d listen and deciphered his message through those songs.

My poor son will drag and drop for a stupid, boring, playlist. How do you hand a girl a playlist? I hate lists! I mourn for his loss!

— Elke



A View Unlike Any Other – (Writing 101)

Writing 101 – Day Two

It’s a view unlike any other. A non-traditional scene. But quite the scene nonetheless. A special place not just for the body, but one for the mind and soul. Others escape to the sounds of the ocean or to the soft touch of the sand on their toes. Many find comfort with the silence atop a mountainside. Not to be missed is the beauty found when faced with a twinkling universe.

All worthy, all equally magnificent.

My eyes are set on a place that encapsulates all this and much more. I would be doing it a dishonor if I didn’t start from its simplistic details. For all the parts of it is what makes it whole. My furthest memory takes me to my childhood at a time when I couldn’t quite appreciate the beauty of it. It surrounded me, all of its parts only contributed to a sensation of vertigo. I couldn’t focus on any one detail of its panorama. It felt burdensome, obligated, more like a foe. Oh, what a stupid kid I was. My eyes so  blurred to all the colors and opportunities. Missed adventures. All I needed to do was open my mind and walk through. I needed to extend my arm, reach out and relinquish my time to it.

Fast forward…you may deem me insane or even worse, mundane. I’ll accept either gladly just for a visit there. The planning and anticipation of going makes me giddy like a young couple on their first date. I must be certifiably insane. But once I step through those doors, I’m transported. It’s a reprieve from the scorching heat outside or a destination of brightness when it’s dark. So it doesn’t matter what time my story is set at.

I scan from left to right and back again. I smile. I go to the left. I always start at the left. Here i am not rushed, the city sounds disappear, only my thoughts accompany me to the left. The soft carpet beneath my feet. There’s an irrefutable smell in the air. Go ahead, commit me, but I promise you  there’s a smell. My eyes land briefly on to each cluster that carry similar traits. Planted and displayed for contemplation. I take my time to study each specimen, to learn either intensely or briefly. Some for educating the mind and others for mere entertainment. I spend time in this wide open expanse but feel the rest of the room tugging at me. I can’t limit myself.

There are rows and rows of towering oak-like walls housing these beauties. I allow my fingers to flirtatiously skim them all as I weave out of one aisle and in to another. Each aisle providing me with the chance to  visit the Great Wall of China. Or stand with a soldier on the battlefield during WWII. I hear the sweet but strong voice of a young girl through her diary as she hides out with her family. I cry with all the twins that experienced atrocities at the hands of an enemy doctor. This place allows me to step through a wardrobe door and into a secret place frozen in eternal winter needing a warrior to help break it free. And then whisks me away to the middle of the ocean for 227 days on a lifeboat with a tiger as my companion. Where else can I have a grand tour of Mars, and at the same time listen to a well renowned scientist take us through the cosmic journey of life itself. I cheer on the God of Thunder as he protects all of humanity as I also live vicariously through teenage love doomed to fail.

I live with Hobbits and Princesses, dance with Geishas and fly with fairies and dragons. Here I see skyscrapers, baron deserts and the deep dark abyss.

I escape to this room not only because it is a beautiful view itself, but because this bookstore and all its adventures and insight just opened my view to the world and everything beyond it. Now THAT’S magnificent.

— Elke


Time Is Against Us – (Writing 101)

Writing 101 – Day One

It’s a scary moment for most of us. It’s a haunting feeling. Time is against us. We think we’re okay with it, but it’s just a lie we tell ourselves in order to survive. I look down as my fingers tap against the keyboard, I stare at them as they translate what’s in my mind on to the screen. They are swift, but I’m sad when I look at them. They are not the same. The arms that extend from them either, and let’s not mention the rest of the connecting structure. Time is against us. Our eyes blur to the reality of it. We get so jaded with youth, that we get side swiped when we finally realize it. An out of control, heavy feeling. Mr. Life has educated us well on it. So why are we so stubborn to accept it? We hold on tight, refusing to let go. We work diligently to cover all traces of it. We labor to pry time in reverse. Time is against us. We have a drawer filled with vitamins to slow it down. A vanity littered with creams to diminish its appearance. A makeup bag to cover the bad and highlight the good. Boxes of dye to bring back the color. Dozens of polish to distract and enhance. I’m exhausted just trying to keep up. What product will provide us with the acceptance? Time is against us. We revert back. We reminisce. We revisit places and people in our memories. Those times, those stories, those experiences make us happy, so why do I feel so sad? That first kiss, my first car, that mixed tape. The prom, those friends, the phone calls. Road trips, rollercoaster rides, club nights. I know you’re smiling. The first time I held his hand. The first time I heard that song. Every time I get a whiff of that smell it transports me back. The bitter sweetness of it all. Time is against us. Each decade with a beauty of its own. How is it that 10 years forward seem so far away but 30 years have passed in an instant. I had goals that still need to be met. I have places still need to be seen. I have many more experiences to add to my treasure of memories. It’s my bucket list. And for every one item I complete, I realize I need to add two more. I have a love hate relationship with all lists but this one in particular. A constant reminder of what I have not yet completed. A cruel tease. I hear its voice mocking me. Time is against us. I passed a beautiful woman on the street. Slender and energetic. A slight smile on her face. Not for anyone but just for herself. Was she thinking of something or was she just innately happy? More of a confident smile. Shoulders pulled back. Chin held high. Not rushed but certainly with a destination in mind. I admired her as a whole. I wanted to capture her image on to my phone. No need since its permanently branded it into my brain. Her hair so white. A crowning attribute to her lost youthful age, but not lost was her youthful behavior. I promise that’ll be me 20 years from now. Time is against us. For now, I’ll cover, conceal and dye. For now I’ll take my vitamins. For now I’ll balance a healthy diet while still making my soul happy with a treat. I’ll accept my declining vision with a stylish pair of glasses. I’ll have a glass of wine while those young chicks are dropping back shots. I’ll enjoy my growing kids while those 20 somethings are trying to figure it all out. I will continue to plan, enjoy and discover with those that I love. I will look at my hands and be proud of its ability to lay it out there for you. I will smile. While I still have the time.