I took a car to deliver to a woman in Mobile, Alabama this week. She had a rental car which she needed to drop off, so she instructed me to meet her at the rental agency rather than at her home. I was more than glad to do what was necessary to meet her needs.
The night before the delivery, she called me to be sure I would be there. "Hello Bill, this is Patty. Now I need you there at 8am sharp."
"That's no problem," I told her. "I have to catch a city bus that goes by at 8:30 and the next one doesn't come for several hours, so I'll be there waiting for you."
"I need you to be there at 8."
"Yes ma'am, I'll be there at 7:55."
"Not 7:55, I want you there at 8 sharp."
This had a familiar ring, a customer who is a stickler. "No worries, I'll be there right on time."
The next morning I got up early and drove over to the rental car agency. I was an hour early, so I found a Diner nearby and went in for breakfast. A healthy bowl of oatmeal, which I find to be a great way to start my day.
I was standing outside at 7:50 looking for her to arrive. 8am sharp came and went. By 8:20 I was beginning to worry, so I called her cell phone.
"Yes, what is it?" she answered.
"Hi, it's Bill Thomas, your friendly driver. Wondering if you were still coming."
"I already told you I was going to be a half hour late."
"Last time we spoke, you said you'd be here at 8 sharp."
"That was last night, I sent you a text this morning very early telling you 8:30."
"I don't get texts."
"You... you don't get texts? How can you not get texts?"
"I'm here waiting for you, still hoping to catch that bus that comes by at 8:30am."
"Well, that can't be my problem. I am a busy working woman, and I don't have time for your nonsense. I'll be there soon." She abruptly hung up.
I stood with my fingers tightly crossed that she would show up before the bus did. When a car pulled into the lot with a woman driving, I could only hope it was Patty. I had all of the paperwork ready for her to sign so I could quickly exit stage right. Then I saw the bus go by, and I held out my hands towards it in sad acceptance.
"Looks like you missed your bus," Patty said as she climbed out of her car.
"I guess so," I said, and offered her the keys to her new car.
"I didn't understand how you could have missed the message I texted to you this morning."
"My phone isn't set up to get texts."
"How can that possibly be? How can anyone not get texts?"
"It's an old phone."
"But how do you survive without texting? For that matter, how could anyone in the modern world today go without texting? That's unthinkable!"
"My phone plan doesn't include texting."
"But how do you get text messages?"
"What if someone needs to reach you?"
"They can call me."
"What if they don't want to call you, no one calls anymore, everyone texts."
"I can't begin to fathom that. That is such an antiquated notion."
"I do OK."
"You must be some kind of dinosaur, using a phone. I mean that is as old fashioned as a Model-T car. You have to join the world the rest of us live in."
"I have the paperwork for your car here, if you can just sign for it."
She looked at the Toyota Camry I had driven. "Is it a piece of crap?"
"What? No, not at all, it's a very nice car, and in great shape."
"If you say so, but I'd rather have a Lexxus."
"This is the car they gave me to bring you."
She shook her head as she signed the papers. "I still can't get over you not texting. You're not pulling my leg, are you?"
"Nope. No texting."
"But that is so pathetic. How do you live with yourself?"
"It's fine, I promise you."
"It can't be fine. What if you need to reach someone?"
"I call them."
"What if they don't answer the phone?"
"I leave a message."
"What if they don't like to check messages?"
"Well, that's on them. At that point, I've done my due dilligence, and if they don't like to answer their phone or check their messages, I can't be responsible."
"Or, you could just learn to text like a normal human being. I literally could not survive without texting. If I'm running late driving somewhere, I can text them to say I'm late."
"You text while you drive?" I asked.
"Sure, everyone does. Don't you dare judge me."
I nodded, took the paperwork, picked up my bag, and began the very long walk to the train station. "Have a nice day," I called out.
"You need to get texting capability right away!" she shouted.
The next day, I was delivering a car in Port Charlotte, Florida. A teenage girl slammed her car into mine, ripping the entire front end of my car off, and I had to be taken to the hospital. She was texting as she drove.