Confession: Sometimes I find myself posting a smilie face at the end of a Facebook comment or a Twitter message when I don't really mean it. Usually a winkie smilie face. And a lot of times, I don't mean winkie smilie face. I'm not really smilie facing. Or winking.
But there I go. Semi-colon. lower case dash line. (Press shift) Right facing parenthesis.
Of course now it's easier to winkie smilie face on my new spangly recently upgraded to ios 7 iphone (grumble fucking hate ios 7 stupid bullshit upgrade...) because I have such a plethora of face-y emoticons from which to choose to punctuate my emails or texts or status updates.
And I was thinking about that today as I spent the vast majority of my morning deciding not to do anything more productive than troll around the net, looking for conversations to start or join. Like the employee at the water cooler who never really finishes her cup of water and never really leaves. Just keeps chatting and head-shaking and using finger air quotations around things and fist pumping anyone who shows up.
So that was me. And as I'm roaming around commenting on certain political strands and social issues and the inevitable cute photos of my friends' children and animals doing cute things.... I'm having a ball. But I'm also winkie smilie facing. And though I do try to keep the emoticons and all the various potential incendiary punctuation marks like exclamation points !!!!! at a minimum---
I still feel like I'm over smilie facing.
And WHY am I over smilie facing? Would I be over smilie facing around the water cooler?
I would like to think, no. I would like to think in actual face-to-face conversation with actual fellow worker human beings, I would not need to signify with smilies my sarcasm, or solidarity, or sad understanding, or sly disbelief or any of the other varying nuanced shades of grey I'm hoping my winkie smilie faces convey in the vacuum. I'd like to think that were I in front of these individuals, they would understand the varying greys through my vocal inflections, facial expressions, hand gentures. Dynamic. Pauses. You know. The rhythmic stuff of interaction.
But when I'm left to merely a small variety of little black and white symbols lined up in certain formations to speak my personality for me- I'm a bit concerned. I lack the faith of the pithy. I am a bit worried that some of my letter and space formations may fall short of fully representing the actual intended meaning. Because I know I'm not a muckraker. I'm not someone who likes to drop a comment bomb and then disappear for awhile, returning later to hungrily review the damage. I am, rather, more a craver of interesting interaction.
When I was a kid- and still an only child- my parents say I would frequently enter a room in the house where folks were busy working, reading, resting. I'd sit down on the couch to announce "Let's have a conversation." Easily bored, often lonely when my hours of book reading and piano practicing were over, I was the kid who desperately wanted to interact.
And so this age of information (misinformation?)-- this new era of small world communication should really jive with me and those like me. And for the most part I think it does. However, I still wish I didn't have to use so many damn winkie smilie faces. Because like I said earlier- I'm not a winkie smilie face kind o gal. But because I am one who occasionally leans toward the dark comedy side of the bench- I find I gotta trot out the smilies. Or maybe I lose friends. Both real and virtual. Maybe I end up starting conversations that wind up with "Wait- What I meant was..." at the beginning of every one of my replies.
And who wants that. Who wants to be publicly editing themselves at every turn.
So I leave you dear reader with this: It's almost 1pm at the water cooler here. And while occasionally avoiding cross-knit browed glances from my boss, I'm still here air quoting and chatting away. And because you are not actually standing in front of me while I say "T.G.I.F." in an overstated, obvious, making fun of myself while appearing to also look sort of cool tone of voice...I am left to type--
Happy weekend. T G I F. ;-)