Monday, October 5, 2009

Predictive texting makes eating people easier OR Text, drugs and rock and roll

Technology is awesome but it is always scary when it goes wrong. Examples include nuclear reactors melting down and sprinkling the countryside with radioactive fallout, malfunctioning traffic lights causing accidents and Bluetooth headsets that turn people into huge morons.

See what I mean? I also believe I've made it very clear that I am not a huge fan of text messaging (read: I freaking hate text messaging) and the technology that really has me on edge these days is predictive texting. On one hand, it uses a lot less keystrokes and saves time. On the other hand, if it is not handled carefully predictive texting can make you look like a witless fool in the blink of an eye.

Yes, it's true. I know from sad experience. As cool as I like to think I am I've been a victim of technology gone horribly awry. A while back I was dating someone but we hadn't announced it to the electronic interweb gossip community by changing our Facebook statuses to say “In a relationship.” This caused quite a stir among our friends.

“Wait, you're dating Whatshername?” people would ask me incredulously.

“Yes.” I would reply, credulously.

“But it's not on Facebook! How can this be?”

Oops. It's true. I realize now that if two people haven't declared their relationship status on Facebook then they aren't technically dating at all. They might as well be total strangers or pen pals or something like that. That's what I would tell her when I forgot important dates.

“I don't know why you're so upset. Since we aren't official on Facebook, we aren't technically dating as far as anyone else is concerned, so technically I don't really have to remember your birthday.”

That is technically a good excuse. Mostly we just didn't want to publicly announce our relationship because we didn't want to have to also publicly announce our breakup later, should it go that way. Perhaps it was cynical to go into the relationship talking about breaking up, but I wasn't about to have people leaving me pitying, condescending comments on my page.

Anyway, one of my friends had heard about me and Whatshername from an actual person but wanted the reassurance of confirming it through electronic media so she sent me a text message.

“Hey, I heard you have a new girlfriend,” she texted.

“Yeah I'm dating Whatshername,” I replied.

I thought my response was pretty straightforward but my curious friend started acting (texting) all weird.

“What? Why?” she texted.

“Because she's cool and we have stuff in common, I guess,” I replied. “Why not?”

“Why?! Because that's gross and weird.”

I was totally bewildered but after approximately one hundred clarifying texts back and forth I realized that when I had texted “I'm dating Whatshername” the text predictor had turned what I thought was going to be “dating” into something else and my text message had actually read, “I'm eating Whatsherface.”

So my friend was laboring under the false impression that I had turned into a zombie or cannibal and was eating Whatsherface with a knife and fork with some jalapenos on the side. Maybe I should've put that on Facebook, like, “About me: I like eating people.”

Aside from being really embarrassing, this example of technology-gone-wrong raises an interesting philosophical question: “Is it better to be 'in a relationship' or a cannibal that eats other people?”

I'd say it's about the same thing.