It is easy to judge people who see things differently from us. It’s easy and it’s fun. For example, if somebody with a differing perspective from ours on the matter of wearing a polythene gomesi with mismatched Nike Air Force Ones walks into this room, we will all laugh and point and mock and sneer.
Unless that person is Lady Gaga, in which case some of us will applaud.
I have learnt not to be quick to judge, even though I am still quite quick to laugh, especially at Gaga who, believe it or not, is the one pictured above.
Man, even when she tries to dress normally she still can’t! Lol.
But I don’t judge. People do different things different ways. I accept that. The rule of thumb is that “Just because you don’t see the point doesn’t mean there is no point.”
Now, we have all seen the internet, so we all know that some people don’t write words in full.
Some people out there take a more left-field approach to literacy. I don’t want to sound like I’m being sarcastic here, but well, their feelings towards the matter of laying the letters that constitute words onto screen are at variance with tradition.
If they wish to ask how you are doing today and if they wonder if work at the office is fine, they may type it out as, “Hw r u doin 2de? Iz wrk @ de ofis fyn?”
I know, right?
So some of the most beautiful speeches in the history of the written word, would be well… I really really don’t want to sound like I’m being sarcastic here.
En so evn tho we fce de dfcltiez f 2de en 2mrw, I stl hv a drm. It iz a drm dipli rtd in de Amrcn drm.I hv a drm dat 1 de dis n8n wl ryz up en liv ot de tru ming ov its crid: “Wi hld thiz trthz 2 b slf-evdnt, dt ol mn r cr8d eql.”I hv a drm dt 1 de on de rd hlz of Grgia, de snz ov frmr slvz en de snz ov frmr slv onrz wl b abl 2 st dn 2gthr @ de tble ov brthrhud.I hv a drm dt 1 de evn de st8 ov Mssspp, a st8 swltrng wth de hit ov injstc, swltrng wth de hit ov oprssn, wl b trns4d n2 n os ov fridm en jstce.I hv a drm dt mai 4 lttl chldrn wl 1 de lv n a n8n whr de wl nt b jdgd bai de clr ov deyr skn bt bai de cntnt ov deyr chrctr.I hv a drm 2de!
See what I mean? Some people prefer it that way.
Well, maybe not for their civil rights speeches, or such formal correspondences, (though I have received a few emails from people asking if they “cn ryt artclz 4 d pepa”) maybe it’s mostly for, you know, day-to-day online communication: informal chit-chat, kaboozi.
It probably makes it seem less formal, helps keep things at room temperature so there is less ice that needs breaking, I guess.
But that is those people. Then there are those others. When we read, we don’t scan letter after letter, we glance at a group of words and recognize them for the way they look.
So we don’t go:
m-y—m-o-t-h-e-r… (That must mean “my mother”) c-a-n ( that’s “can”) K-i-c-k y-o-u-r-m-o-t-h-e-r-‘-s-a-s-s-i-n-t-e-k-k-e-n (I think that means that it’s on! This guy doesn’t know how mummy’s hand-eye co-ordination is almost superhuman!)
The rest of us see a word, or multiple words, depending on their length, and take them all in at a glance. We know what the word looks like so when we see it we recognize it and that’s how we understand sentences.
“Die, You Remorseless whoremonger!”
See? You read in an instant.
Now, if you break that down to, “Dy u rmrsls whrmnger” we have a problem.
Because none of those look like things we can recognize, we have to switch to a mode of reading we left back in nursery school. It’s not easy, and it’s not something any of us want to do, especially when we know that the other party can very easily just switch up.
So the other day I got a chat message. “Hey. Hw r u dng?”
My mum gave me good manners (and no, she doesn’t play video games. That was just a fictional example) and taught me to respond to people in the kind and way in which they address you. That’s why if I call you “sir” I expect you to call me “Mister Bazanye” and if you speak to me in Luganda I will respond in my own faltering, broken excuse of that language.
So I typed back, “Am fyn. Hw r u?”
The preliminaries were the easy part. He then asked, “Stl in ofis wrkng?”
Now, I am not as reserved and quiet as they say I am. You know greater chatterboxes tha me, of course, but still, I do tend to talk. The mechanics had just been in the room to fix the air conditioners and had put them on max, so the office was freezing. My coffee tempreture had plummeted rapidly. I was considering a Red Bull. So I typed:
Itz vr uncmfrtbl hr cz itz frzg. Mknx hv crnked de rcndtng 2 mx n itz blstd mai frkn cffe 2 a nr-arctc stet. I m thnkg de hl wt cff, lt m gt a rd bll. U c hw?
I should not have been so shocked that he replied this way:
I could empathise. Even I was no longer sure what the hell it was I had just written. So I explained, “Sorry. I have never been any good at this shorthand slang thing. To tell you the truth, I am much more comfortable typing in full words, if that’s okay with you.”
You see how I have been saying over and over and over again that I don’t mean to sound sarcastic?
Well, I didn’t mean, to but it appears I did, because dude immediately said, “Wll l8ter.” And he logged off.
Well. Excuse me.