Don’t shoot the messenger
WHEN I w as in high school, I met a girl during a sports tour. We e xchanged numbers and addresses, and I spent much of my matric year whispering into a phone at the end of the cord’s length while my nosey family s trained their ear s t o lis ten in.
The letters were different. There we shared long anecdotes about our weeks at school, professed our undying affection for each other and made promises for postschool dates and romantic interludes to come. Eventually it all fizzled out, but for a year the buzz of receiving a let ter in the pos t, my name writ ten in three different colours, a small heart above the “i” and trying t o guess the secrets sealed inside could not be beat.
Now, of course, if you meet someone in a similar situation t o the one de scribed abo ve y ou c ould be sending messages of de votion in an ins tant. Texts, W hatsApp and other ins tant messaging services have expedited the process.
Everything w ould happen quick er, too. A long , dr awnout, long distance romance lik e mine, w hich dragged on for almos t a y ear, would be done and dusted inside t wo da ys.
While instant message services such as WhatsApp are a fantastic way to stay in t ouch, the y can also be a lit tle t oo instant. T here’s al ways the chanc e, when you’re in a hurry to communicate, that a me ssage being sent doe sn’t al ways r each the de sired t arget.
For example, a f ew weeks ago I was away fr om home and bef ore going t o bed sent my wife a serie s of me ssages telling her ho w much I lo ved her and so on (obviously after too many beers).
No replies were forthcoming, so I fell asleep in a huff. When I woke up I saw that my friend Jonathan had messaged overnight.
“I lo ve y ou t oo,” his me ssage r ead. “Well, that explains it,” I thought while writing to Robyn, who was asking why I hadn’t messaged her the night before.
But that’ s minor c ompared t o m y soontobeparents friends P ete and Thivash. One of the gr eat t ools of WhatsApp is gr oup messaging, allowing you to add numerous people to one conversation. Say, for instance, there are a few of you who like to cycle. Add everyone to a gr oup and one me ssage does the trick f or a time and plac e.
Thivash thought this w ould be a great way to announce the birth of her child to select friends and f amily. The baby is onl y due lat er this month, but two weeks ago a number of us received a WhatsApp gr oup me ssage with the heading “Thivash and Pete baby born”.
Immediately reactions started pinging back and forth. Most were shocked that the b aby was so ear ly, other s offered cautious c ongratulations, per haps w ondering if something w ent wrong. Then Pete, the father, appeared on the group, saying, “Oh jeez, I better leave work then and get to the hospital”. At the same time, the cr eator of the group, Thivash, left the group, leaving everyone t o speculat e on the surprise early arri val. By now, f amily members from ar ound the w orld w ere writing confused “congrats?”, with others simply offering “huh?” to the conversation.
It wasn’t the baby that was early, just the announc ement, with T hivash not realising that the gr oup is shar ed the instant it’s created. She’s assured us all that the actual announc ement will be performed along more traditional lines — on Facebook. — News24.