Friday, September 9, 2011

Aren't you glad?

I love technology and I thrive with the wonderful and various ways we can communicate in our world. Years ago when I was dispatching at a local police department, if an officer requested a vehicle registration request, we would write the plate number down, pull out "The Book" - a wide-carriage printout of all the vehicles in the state. One book for cars and one book for motorcycles and pick-up trucks. Then, we'd look up the plate (numerical order) and highlight it, take "The Book" to the radio and give the officer his information.

Sometimes, this would take a few minutes, sometimes not as many. Now, most officers have a laptop or other wireless device and gets the information almost immediately, but certainly in just a few seconds. Most officers don't remember a time when the data wasn't computerized. (With that comment I am dating myself, but you still have to count the years yourself...)

Personal communications is something else and right in line with this. Cell phones were once the size of a large brick (and called thus) and now are about the size of a playing card, and not a whole lot thicker! We went from "hearing" about computers to having ONE in the house, to having one per person in the house, sometimes more. Even our youngest children seem to have a need for the own computer and cell phone. And now we arrive at the point of this story.

Last night, I'd gone to some strange kid's soccer game and got home about quarter to eight. I had stopped and bought a fast-food burrito on the way home and ate it while trying to go through some email. (and Twitter, and Facebook, and, well, you get the idea.) I'd been home about 90 minutes and noticed I had missed some text messages on my phone. Three from "Chase". They read as follows:

801*******: Hi there

801*******: Are you there? It's me Chase

801*******: You alive?

Not having a clue who Chase was, but figuring I'd try to at least find out if I was missing something, I sent my reply:

Me: I'm here. But I think you have the wrong #

And then the magic started. The magic of instant communication plus accessibility and multiplied by confusion.

801******: No, I was just at your house.

Me: Well, I've been home alone tonight. What is the name of the person you are trying to talk to?

801*******: Chase. I told you Chase

801*******: Why are you home alone?

Me: Because nobody else is here. I still think you have the wrong #

801*******: No it was my drother

801*******: brother

Me: What is my name?

801*******: It's okay if you don't want to chatting

Me: I'm not against chatting, but I think you are looking for someone else. What is the name of the person you think I am.

801*******: What's your name?

Me: What do YOU think it is?

801*******: Yes

At this point, I could see that communication while present, wasn't firing on all eight cylinders. I took a picture of myself, just a face shot, nothing major but something so "Chase" could see who he was talking to. I added the text "Does this look like the person you think you are talking to?"

My new found friend's response was:

801*******: I have to go to bed now. I am only 11.

Maybe I should have been clued in by the context and spelling of the texts, but most people do that in text messages.

Also, I'm not sure what it says about me, but someone then asked me if I was glad I didn't send him a picture of my penis. Okay, NOT that I am in the habit of sending out pictures of my penis, but it kind of makes me wonder why THAT question came up...