Different Strokes for Different Folks

At one point last year, our family found ourselves spread across five cities in four different countries, making us pros at utilizing group chats to keep us on the same page about life – which usually translated to updates about work and bills. Sometimes relationships. But mostly work and bills. Because you know, my siblings and I wanted to show our parents we were real adults. Real adults that would rather answer 25 questions about our professions than one question about getting married.

All time zones considered, we kept up with staying in touch as best as we could. Each one of us would contribute every once in a while so that the others would be aware of what was happening in our everyday lives.

My dad: “I just landed at the airport. Traveling this week for work.” *Insert commentary about his flight*
My mom: “Came back from lunch with your grandparents!” *Insert 10 pictures of a 45-minute meal*
Me: “Awful weekend at work.” *Insert rant about hotel guests who can’t believe we no longer serve the guava juice they had during their last stay seven years ago*
My sister: “It is so hot here.” *Nothing further to insert*

Everyone's combined contributions

Everyone’s combined contributions

On more than one occasion, however, my brother would be missing from action. Too often we would sign off for the day and ask each other where he was, as if we could actually know when we were anywhere from 250-6000 miles away from the next person.

Yep, pretty much

Yep, pretty much

After teetering on the brink of filing a missing persons report (“Hello, where are you?” “Has anyone seen him?” “WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANYONE TALKED TO HIM!?”), we would finally get a response days later. Sometimes weeks. This usually came after a menacing message from my father about the importance of timely communication and the poor reputation of unreliability my brother was building for himself, thus resulting in a Great American Novel of a text message. All of a sudden, I knew EVERYTHING about my brother. What classes he was taking, how often he was working, when his bowels were moving – more than I’d ever wanted to know.

Apparently, I was not the only one who felt this way.

My dad: “Thank you for getting back to us. Good to hear you are doing well. However, you should know that with the number of keystrokes you used to produce that text message, it would have been more efficient to just send an email.”