Modern technology, baseball and vicarious texting

I still remember the old days when my best friend would go on vacation, leaving me stranded to find other things and other people to occupy my time. While my friend was away, I wouldn’t expect a phone call telling me how things were going because long distance phone calls were way too expensive. And never mind an update from a specific locale such as Disneyland or Candlestick Park, unless she had a pocket full of quarters to plink into a nearby payphone. No, usually I would await a hastily written, sometimes smeared postcard while my friend was away, and most of the time the postcard would arrive two days after her return (Oh, that silly postal service). And while I missed her companionship, not once did I worry. I was clueless to what was going on in her vacation world, so there was no need to worry.

With today’s technology, you would think the worrying aspect of being separated from a friend would be completely nullified. We have instant and constant contact with those we care about via cell phones, text messaging, Twitter and Facebook. So if this is the case, then why in the world did I almost suffer a complete breakdown when I lost contact with my friend while she was in San Francisco?

My friend Krista decided to take a trip to San Francisco to see her beloved Giants (trust me, if it were not for a trip to Arizona the weekend previous and an upcoming family reunion, I would have been right beside her at AT&T Park). I anticipated our texting during the game, keeping me there in spirit, as well as text-peeks regarding the fans, food and frenzy. The first game was perfect. I followed the game via computer and she filled in the gaps with text messages regarding her two for $20 Widmer beers (“awesome with lemon slices”), the row of women donning fake beards (“more awesome”), and the crazy Minnesota lady who didn’t know a strike from a ball (“shut your pie hole, already”). And even after I fell asleep (the game was played on the west coast, a two-hour difference from here in Doo-Dah), I knew the Giants were ahead and Wilson had taken the field when I heard my phone chime at 12:08 am. Success.

I knew the next afternoon would be more of the same. Krista loves her Giants so much she decided she needed to attend two games, especially since her first night Vogelsong was pitching and she desperately wanted to see Tim Lincecum. Again, I prepared to be there in spirit. Text spirit. At 3:00, the afternoon began with this photo message:


But from that point forward, the connection fell to pieces. When I didn’t hear from her for about thirty minutes, I sent a text “Hey, are you in a Timmy-Jim trance or what? Haven’t heard from you.”

I continued to listen to the game while working, occasionally checking my phone to see if I’d missed a message. Nothing. When Bochy pulled Lincecum in the 7th and Javi Lopez stepped in, I knew I’d hear from her. Still, nothing. So after Wilson walked Casilla and Cuddyer hit a double, cutting the lead in half, I shot off a text, “Wilson about gave me a stroke. As usual.” Zero response.

Game over. Giants win 2-1. But, no Krista. WTF? As I drove to an after-work cookout, my imagination began to run wild. Did she get sick at the game? Maybe she fell and hurt herself, losing her phone in the tumble. Maybe she hit her head, lost her phone and is sitting at a CHW first aid station at AT&T park, unable to tell paramedics her name or why she’s there or how she got there…

Seriously? Get a hold of yourself.

Or maybe the nice Giants fan sitting next to her was really an ax-wielding homicidal maniac who followed her to the bathroom, slipped in behind her unnoticed, and chopped her into a million pieces and…

Again. Where does this come from?

So I did the next logical thing. I sent a text to a mutual friend here in Wichita. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Me: “Have you heard from Krista? She hasn’t responded to any of my text messages…I’m a worrier, what can I say…” Foley: “Nope. Not since 5.”

Then I received this: Foley fwd. from Krista: “I’ve been trying! They look like they’re going through on my end. You txt her I’m fine! And txt me that your txting her!”

Really? This is what it’s come to.

Shortly after I responded to Foley something about having a ghetto phone, said ghetto phone began to blow up with text messages. Text messages from Krista. ALL of the responses she’d sent me throughout the afternoon. At 8:17 pm, the text messages came triple-chiming in along with her real-time responses; including my favorite “I thought we were having a conversation!”

So where were those 12+ messages? Apparently, lost in modern technology space. I continued to receive the stuck-in-the-abyss text messages until 11:08 pm.

And I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t you just call her? Honestly, I have no idea. In between texting Foley and imagining Krista with multiple contusions, I never thought of actually calling her. Maybe this resorts back to my days of expensive long-distance calls and phone booths or maybe we’ve become so accustomed to conversing with our fingers and thumbs we’ve forgotten how to use our voices. I don’t know.

What I do know is next time I’ll just have her send me a nice postcard of Alcatraz or Kung Fu Panda. No more texting.

Better yet, I’m going with her.


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