Old People Are Terrible At Conveying Emotions In Text Messages
In a coffee shop deep in the heart of Chicago, Illinois, I observe the Old in its natural habitat (also commonly referred to as an old person, mammalia, or geriatric familiaris) from a distance, careful not to give away my position. The Old will spend hours in the same spot, fumbling through an actual newspaper while drinking black coffee with no add ons. It sits there emotionless, with an oversized sweater and pleats on and it’s hard not to love them.
Eyeglasses lowered on the rim of their nose, the old is on its own. It looks at the device with a facial expression that, to an outside observer, screams disgust. In actuality, this is just what the old looks like when it’s trying to squint to see the text on their mobile device. It holds the phone in one hand, while the other hand with the pointer finger raised high above, taps letter by letter at an alarmingly slow rate. So slow, in fact, that oftentimes younger onlookers can not resist the temptation to snatch the phone away and do whatever keystrokes are left.
Old people are cutesy. They go off on tangents about days of old when things were simpler and buying a house was as easy as having 1,500 bucks in the old savings account. They haven’t stayed up with the times and that is okay unless we’re talking about text messaging. Because make no mistake about it the olds are HORRIBLE at texting.
My dad ends a majority of text message he sends me with something like this “-Dad”, “Love, Dad”, “From, Dad” as if I don’t know who texted me. I work with retired volunteers often in my line of work and they send me text messages that seem rude but I know are not meant to be. As a child of the Internet, when I am communicating with old people I’m constantly trying to not to offend them.
When sending e-mails or text messages, I find myself overusing exclamation marks because I don’t want to make it seem like I’m unenthusiastic or aloof in anyway, but the favor is not returned when you’re speaking with an old. I’ll say something like “Can’t wait to see you today!” to my grandma or a 65 year old who is coming to stuff envelopes in my office via text message and they’ll send something back like “Okay.” or “See you soon.”
They don’t understand the nuances of texting like their younger counterparts. I can’t blame them, of course. They fought on the beaches of Normandy and in Iwo Jima so I could start a podcast with my shithead friend and talk about cranking off. I’m not trying to sound ungrateful- the fact that these people even learned how to text message or e-mail is a miracle in and of itself. I just wish they knew that there were unspoken rules in age of digital communication.