Around here, people don’t use their phones for talking very much anymore. Partly this is because text messages are cheaper, but they’re also more polite. If a message is not urgent, there’s no reason to make someone respond right away.
There are times, however, when making the call makes sense. In the following dialog, apparently that didn’t occur to either of us. This is an exchange between myself and the guy who will be braving the czech bureaucracy on my behalf. This dude and I just seem to have a mismatch in the communication dept. I have been wanting to get him some paperwork and to pay him for his trouble. I knew he was meeting with Soup Boy tonight, and unfortunately I couldn’t be there in the flesh. Happily, I was able to arrange that a big pile of paper (including banknotes) would be there in my stead. I sent Visa Dude a message to tell him what was happening. Here is the entire exchange, unedited. Enjoy. (The “no problem” in the first message refers to a failed plan to meet yesterday.)
Jerry: No Problem. I won’t be there but my docs will, along with 5000 Kc.
Visa Guy: You mean 5,500. 4,500 Kc deposit, plus 1000 Kc for the z-list.
Jerry: Dang, I forgot about the 1000. Hopefully if it’s a problem john or jose can cover the 500.
Visa Guy: As long as it’s not a problem for you guys. I can write an invoice for the 1,000 Kc if you want to pay later.
Jerry: That would be fine as long as it works for you.
Visa Guy: It’s fine for now. Will someone be at home? How do I find your apt. on the door buzzer?
Jerry: That is a question for the people who live there. My directions are infamous.
Jerry: For clarity, I am not there, but my papers are.
Visa Guy: I can’t be out all night. Please tell me how to find your apartment.
Jerry: Ask john. I don’t live there, and an the last person to tell you how to find it.
Visa Guy: I’m really short on time & have a lot to do. Let’s meet up later in the week.
Jerry: We are not meeting. I gave stuff to John to pass on to you. Call john.
Visa Guy: OK, that was not communicated to me before. Going to see john now.
Jerry: No worries. Probably lost because the same msg had the 5000 number in it. Talk to you soon.
Noteworthy is that Visa Guy is as anal about using proper English in text messages as I am, perhaps even more so, though neither of us bothered to capitalize “john”. I wanted to point out all the other times besides the second sentence in the conversation that I had told him I would not be there. Still, there was a point in the conversation that things started getting a little surreal. My attempts to keep the tone of the conversation light certainly did not help.
Semantically, he was right to say that my non-presence had not been communicated to him before. I had told him, but communication doesn’t happen until the message is received. Imagine how much time and frustration might have been saved if one of us had thought to phone the other.