Texting encumbers interaction with others

Column by Virginia Alley. E-mail

I like to text a little too much.

I have been known to text myself into trees, off sidewalks and from elevators onto the wrong floor.

Mind you, running into things and walking in the wrong directions are things I would probably do without the aid of texting, but it certainly doesn’t help.

Every time I bounce off something silly or find myself wondering aimlessly towards a wall while texting, I chastise myself a little bit and put my phone away.

Since living in Lexington, there’s something I have learned: Not everyone is willing to tell themselves no.

I have witnessed people texting intently while steering their cars in ludicrous directions, walking across the street without looking for cars (What happens when the texting driver meets the texting pedestrian? WHAM, text sandwich!) and within plain sight of people who just asked them to turn off their phones.

However scary, none of these top the worst offense: texting through an entire conversation. With other people.

Not only have I seen it, I’ve talked with several others on campus who have encountered the problem.

While I believe most of us are slaves enough to occasionally pull out our phones and reply to messages when we probably shouldn’t, it’s no longer much of a faux pas.

You can always apologize for such little interruptions.

However, pulling it out mid-conversation, answering a text, and then another, and another, an endless plethora of partially incoherent messages to another human being?

That’s rude, and sort of creepy. Unless you’re much more gifted than I, chances are you can’t carry on two conversations effectively at the same time.

What happens is that the person directly in front of (or beside, or behind or on top of however you hold casual conversation) you is left sort of floating there awkwardly as you tell your text-buddy about how totally awesome you think giraffes are.

Sure, as the rejected human being in that situation you can throw out nasty comments without the engrossed texter noticing, but the essence of your conversation is lost.

So while I think society as a whole recognizes our addiction to texting and forgives it to a certain extent, there’s a little chalk line drawn somewhere that says “TOO FAR!” and we’re dancing around it (while texting, of course).

Let’s all do ourselves a favor and turn off the phones occasionally, or at least ignore them long enough to interact with fellows in a normal way. Humanity is still out there — and it’s nice!