With the constant communication that comes with cell phones, social media and texting, this English major has been mourning the loss of a crucial plot device – in comedies and tragedies alike – miscommunication. Without it, there would be no “Romeo and Juliet” and no “Taming of the Shrew.”
Worry no more, literature fans! This week I discovered the modern version, through the use of text messaging.
Arriving early at work on a big deadline day, I got a text. Looking at my phone, all I saw was a phone number, with three blank faces and a tiny square with a photo of my boss, so clearly the message was from him to the team.
INCOMING TEXT: “Stomach flu hit with a vengeance. Can’t come in. All the documents for today’s project are printed on the table in my office, except for four documents that are on my desktop. Can someone please print those for the 9:30 meeting?”
MY TEXT: “Happy to help. Headed to your office right now. Take care of yourself. Do we need to cancel the afternoon meeting?”
I then searched high and low on my boss’s computer for the documents and the files. I was not finding ANY of these items.
INCOMING TEXT: “What afternoon meeting?”
MY TEXT: “I can’t find the files. Still looking. I will try the finder. Or is it in the maroon folder?”
INCOMING TEXT “Ugh. On the desktop. Four files. Try the round table.”
The round table had nothing on it. The computer had nothing on it. I tried his desk.
MY TEXT: “Did you mean the top of your desk, or the computer desktop?”
INCOMING TEXT: “The computer desktop. Sorry—I would be there if I could move.”
ENTER BOSS, STAGE LEFT
ME: “What the heck are you doing here in your condition? You should be home in bed!”
BOSS: “Huh? I’m fine. What are you talking about?”
At this point, I abruptly realized I was searching in the wrong office, because Kathy was the one who was sick. Going to her office, I found all the documents.
Moral of the story: If you are not sure who is texting you, ask immediately. Not only will you save a lot of time, but you will eliminate the risk of divulging confidential or confusing information to the wrong person. And whenever confusion persists, try an old fashioned tactic and pick up the phone.