Is Texting Being Replaced With Real Emotions?
Welcome to virtual heaven
My beloved niece turned four a day after my birthday in mid-May, and her mom and dad (my brother) decided to celebrate their daughter’s blessing with a virtual event via Zoom.
That was my official introduction to this version of planed festivities that would ordinarily involve hugs and cheers in the presence of arriving attendees, who couldn’t imagine the futuristic method of participation, that requires verified logins and screen-ready venues.
My parents and I didn’t know what to expect, but once we submitted to the experience, it turned out to be everything we hoped for and more.
It turns out that creating your own fun can be a glorious and fulfilling mandate, powered by the collective deposits of love and happiness that inevitably permeates the screens and bursts into confetti, that showers the delighted celebrant.
But there’s more to this new phenomenon that has irrevocably transformed the art of engagement in ways that has restored what was assumed lost, due to the headiness of daily living, and how we readily succumbed to the barest of communications with the aid of trained fingers and emoticons.
It seems that we are desperately yearning for tangible connections with loved ones during this period of frightening unrest, that breeds the level of fear and paranoia that resuscitates breathing for our humanity, which begins with the full embrace of those we hold dear.
It’s suddenly not enough to merely check in with the aid of overused memes or the handful of words that don’t expect an immediate response.
I still recall the laziness of rushed greetings and the cold formality of accepting how I managed to fulfill the bare minimum.
That was back when we didn’t walk around like victims of an apocalyptic seizure, equipped with masks and the scent of bacterial cleansers. It was the epitome of righteous allowances that makes no room for unforeseen circumstances that literally knock you out.
We are fighting for our right to live in a god-forbidden country, that has been manipulated to surrender to the threatening madness of a raging boar, who is weaponizing his white supremacy against communities that are already suffering beyond modest reportage.
The weeks ahead are filled with utter dread at the horrific possibilities that the sobering death count of over 100,000 victims will continue to rise and eventually skyrocket as the consequential delivery of reopening a rattled nation way too soon, in an effort to assuage the tantrums of an egomaniacal bully.
Now more than ever, we desire the closeness and rediscovery of the ones who can’t be taken for granted during an unprecedented time in our history, and perhaps, it really does take near-death experiences for us to finally appreciate what we recklessly took for granted.
For me and those who share my world, it’s become clear that what seemed agreeable not too long ago, just won’t do in this disorienting period of duress.
This is the time when we are finally faced with the hard stuff, compiled by the unavoidable responsibility of stepping up or cowering down when shits hits the fan and splatters.
The way we engage will never be the same, and it’s certainly for the better when you consider how the wins and the losses ultimately determine how much we care or don’t give a damn.
At the beginning of our nightmare, back when we didn’t have an idea what we were in for, I felt the need to contact a good friend who had abandoned our friendship a year and a half ago.
It was a nostalgic plea of desperately wanting to reach out and break down the barriers that were set up without my comprehension of why it happened.
When she didn’t respond, the coldness of it settled into the indisputable evidence of a one-sided friendship, that I was more than happy to run away from after a long-winded denial.
When our backs are against the wall, we are confronted with the unfiltered version of relations, and how challenging it is to maintain the disingenuousness, that was active when face-to-face dialogue was easily replaced with sporadic notifications.
We’re in unfamiliar territory with a global pandemic that threatens our very lives, including those we hold near and dear. That typically means that time is of the essence.
Playing games has been replaced with candid expressions, and a deep desire to actually see the faces that represent our beating hearts.
Texting is suddenly not nearly enough because emotions run high and delicate, and we must depend on the reassuring evidence of what we can’t touch.
Words are great, and writing letters is a lost art, but thanks to the privilege of technology, we are capable of staying in touch in ways that make us wonder how we could’ve managed self-isolation if 1994 had been the designated year for Covid-19.
It was awesome to watch my little niece engaging with the platform that assembled the smiling faces of adoring family members in one place, showing up as if nothing had changed since the last time we joyfully sang happy birthday a year ago.
Staying home with limited mobility is not ideal, neither is the diseased air that demands masks and the normality of social distancing.
But in the midst of the mayhem and chaos, we’ve been forced to face our fears and welcome the absolute truth of just how much we care or don’t give a damn.
When it’s a matter of life or death, if we’re lucky enough to manage our fates outside of what can’t be controlled, it’s only natural to resort to the expressions that can’t be replaced with decoding text messages, that sound so much better when the screen lights up with voices bursting with the emotions that match familiarity.
When the world is spinning with broken anchors, maintaining our balance will require real life emoticons.