“Hey Chris, you got a minute? I wanna ask you something.”
“I can’t right now. Just e-mail me?”
“No, I’ll just wait ‘til you have a minute.”
“Seriously, just e-mail me. I’m real busy today.”
No one’s got time for anyone anymore. Or are we just that impatient with each other? Or would we prefer to be doing all the talking? Do face-to-face, one-on-ones, make us nervous? Does anyone know how to talk to a live person anymore? Are we more comfortable just typing or texting our relationships to death?
Why is this what we’ve become?
“Forget about, I’ll tell you later.”
“Just e-mail!” Now Chris was getting mad. Terri knew the rules. But she had a bad habit of wanting to talk to people, face-to-face. Not a very attractive habit for 2011. It would have been easier to get in to see the Pope than to get Chris to give anyone a face-to-face sit down.
She had so much to tell him but screw it. She walked away. Chris paused in the hallway for a second. Then he too, said screw it, in his head, turned and returned to his office. First thing he did when going round the corner of his desk to sit back down was to check and see who had e-mailed him in the 3 minutes he had been absent. As usual, he had a handful of new messages, reassuring him he was still important. There wasn’t one from Terri.
E-mail was a safe way to communicate with someone. And it forced your reader to shut up and listen to you. Terrie knew all this. And yet she persisted in pursuing in-person relationships with those she truly cared about. E-mail was a way for her to dispense with people she didn’t care about.
For people close to her, Terri had to see your face when she spoke to you. She welcomed being interrupted. She lived for dialogue, interactive talking. She hated being preached to. And she refused to write anything to someone that she wouldn’t have said to them in person.
What was so important that Terrie needed a one-on-one to tell Chris? Had his wife found out? Worse, had she called Terri? Did Terri need to stop? Worse, did Terri want him even more? Was she quitting her job to get away from him?
Chris didn’t get it. If Terri submitted to his insistence that she only e-mail him then that meant she didn’t care about him. That was the problem. She did care about him.