Texting With the iPhone and Texting in General

If you have followed my Twitter lately, you might have seen some really bizarre tweets that have popped up, some that seem really out of place. Well believe me, it is not your imagination. You see, ever since I have gotten my iPhone I have more than once sent out tweets that should have been sent as text messages to actual people. It does not stop there. I have also sent texts to people that were meant to be sent to other people, tweets to people which were meant to be sent to Twitter, and direct Twitter messages to people that were meant to be direct messages to other people. With the iPhone it is so easy to look at your device and feel confident that you are sending your message to your intended person or your intended social networking service. Of course that is until you get a message of six question marks in a row sent back your way or someone texts you to ask you what the hell you just posted to your Twitter account.
Although every misguided text or tweet I have sent out over the past few weeks since I got my iPhone has been embarrassing, I have not screwed up royally yet. You know, I have not sent any texts containing private information to someone who was not supposed to see it. I have not sent out a profanity laced tweet to my 300+ Twitter followers that was meant to be a direct message to someone who just messed up big time. I have not texted my mom with content that was supposed to go to a girl. But I really feel it is just a matter of time. iPhones are very tricky, I swear that I was sending a message to its intended recipient and then somehow the people from Apple pulled the rug from underneath me, hacked my message, and sent it to someone else.
I guess I should not complain too much because I have not had one of those big autocorrect mistakes…yet.  It seems like all of my friends with iPhones have at least one good story with one of their texts getting completely skewed by autocorrect. I get forwarded those e-mails all the time of epic autocorrect disasters. You know the ones where some person is trying to ask his boss for a day off and his text comes across the lines of him asking her if she will jack him off? Well I believe some of the ones I get but some of them are so far-fetched I don’t take them seriously for two seconds. But that is beside the point. While obviously I have had problems with my iPhone in sending my messages to the correct person or service, I feel I am very good at always double checking the actual content of my texts to make sure all spelling and grammar are correct. That is important to me. Someday I will get into how much the people who text using a language that is even more primitive than what a cavemen would use bothers me.
Before I got an iPhone I still made terrible texting mistakes that I wish I could have taken back. When you send out 6,000 texts a month, it is just going to happen. I don’t think anyone who is reading this right now who texts regularly can say they have never made the humiliating blunder of sending a text to someone who you were saying something not so very flattering about. Yes, it has happened to me and it is probably the worst result of texting that there is. Your text was meant to go to the friend you were talking about this other person with but since you had this other person on your mind so much, you send it to him/her. In my case when it happened, I chose to be straight up with the person and apologize to him/her and then respectfully take up the issue I had  that I initially did not have the guts to take up with him/her.
I have also sent text messages to people that I regretted immediately after I pressed the send button. Texts are the exact same things as e-mails…they stay around forever. As I have gotten older, I have tried to be better at not sending out texts that contain anger or raw emotion. The rule that we use in the office when  someone pisses us off is  the exact same rule I use in my social life: Write/text out what you are feeling at the moment but do not send. Wait a couple hours for your emotions to cool, and if you feel the same way, then go ahead and send the message. In my experiences, most of the time I do not end up sending the message.  If I am dating a girl and we are fighting, I am calling her up and talking to her. If I get a random angry text from someone out of left field, you are not even going to get a response from me…through text or by call. First off, I am not going to entertain your bullshit and secondly I am going to use that text you sent me as leverage in the future if need be. I am not going to supply you with any ammunition.
Another mistake that I have probably made more than any other in my texting career is just not being clear enough. Texting, more than any other form of communication, can be very ambiguous and taken out of context. I don’t know how many girls I have upset with texts that were never meant to cause any form of rivet or hurt feelings. I am convinced that a simple “Okay, have a good night” can be taken the wrong way. I have finally realized that what makes sense to me as I type it out on my phone is not always going to make sense the way I want it to when the other person sees it displayed on their phone. Tones of voice, the stressing of syllables, and emotion just can’t be detected  through texting. It is important to remember that.
So as I move on with my iPhone I am going to be very mindful of the quirks that go with texting on this very sophisticated device. However, I am also going to do my best to adhere to basic principles of texting in general that I have learned throughout the years. Texting is going nowhere, it is important to become the best communicator possible while using this special medium, no matter what type of cellular device you have. Don’t Blink.

Disaster at the Iron Horse

One of my favorite places in Missoula is a restaurant called the Iron Horse. By Missoula standards, it is a classy, yet casual, place to go.  The restaurant has two different levels and then it has patio seating in three different locations around the building. The long main bar on the ground level is marble, seating is spacious, and service is great. The place serves as a popular meeting spot for people taking a break from work during the day and once night hits it becomes one of Missoula’s busiest hot spots for the college and young adult crowd. Yesterday, the Iron Horse faced a horrific situation.

                                    Me with Fawn at one of my favortie places, the Iron Horse

Whenever The University of Montana hosts a Griz Football game, the whole community of Missoula directly benefits. Businesses that deal with lodging, shopping, and food receive great boosts during six different Saturdays in the autumn. Yesterday, with it being Homecoming, the community very well could have had its most profitable day. Definitely, it was crucial to have everything working and for everyone to be on their “A” game.
Of course, the Iron Horse was slammed yesterday. The place was overrun with happy Griz fans wanting to celebrate the football team’s 55-28 dismantling of Northern Colorado. People were in the mood to commemorate the Homecoming win by buying lots of food and drinks. Suddenly, during the peak time, the restaurant’s bill software crashed and disaster rolled in.
When the software crashed, the Iron Horse servers no longer had access to the computers that enables them to keep the running tabs of their various tables. Worse yet, their ability to make credit/debit  card transactions was totally wiped out. My friend who is a waitress at the Iron Horse told me the incident that happened was something she has nightmares about. Yesterday, she got to live that nightmare out in front of one of the Iron Horse’s largest crowds of the year.
With the software down, all of the current tabs in the restaurant vanished from the computers. The servers were forced to piece back what everyone had ordered at their respective tables from memory. Once they did their best to remember every single drink that was ordered and every single miniscule menu item or extra side that was placed, they had to manually add up the total, constantly cross referencing the menu to make sure they had the right price. After they had hand written the receipt out they had to copy it TWICE more so they had documentation for the restaurant patrons, the register, and the kitchen.  Obviously, doing a task like this that takes a lot of memory and a lot of math takes time…time that is not available when you are serving to an anxious full house on a Saturday evening. People started to get impatient. Patrons who wanted another drink right away were not satisfied. People who expected their server to check in with them every two minutes felt snubbed. The numerous grumps who needed their check right away were fuming. Top notch, prompt service was simply not available due to the circumstances.
Believe it or not, the night got rougher for the poor wait staff at the Iron Horse. Remember how I mentioned that credit card payment was now unavailable? This completely infuriated many of the people dining in at the restaurant last night. Many of them took the low road and berated their server, giving them an earful about the inconvenience and the terrible experience they were undergoing. Some people took an even lower road and simply walked out of the restaurant. Yes, I am not kidding here. Some people decided to “Seacrest Out” and abandon their tabs altogether. With the chaos that was going on in the restaurant with the wait staff doing a thousand different things at once and the deep level of fury that was being generated by the customers, the Iron Horse could unfortunately do very little to stop the jerks who felt that a problem beyond anyone’s control entitled them to a free meal.
It kept getting worse for the servers. When they clocked out of their shifts, they had no idea how much they owed the restaurant and how much they were owed from their tips (they keep their own banks during their shifts). All that they had were numerous handmade receipts and random cash. Not wanting to risk anything, my friend gave back way more than her fair share to the restaurant. In what should have been one of the most profitable days for her turned out to be one of the worst.
For me personally, I could not help but feel infuriated by so many of these customers who acted like spoiled babies during the whole Iron Horse ordeal yesterday.  Because something went wrong that understandably made service a little slower and that made an alternative form of payment necessary, many found it acceptable to make a tough situation even tougher. What was wrong with maybe cutting these young servers a little bit of slack and maybe make their nightmare shift just a little more tolerable? Was getting your third rum and coke at record speed really that pressing of an issue when obviously the whole staff was under incredible pressure? I have never worked in the restaurant business before but that does not stop me from respecting the people who wait on me each time I go out to eat. By the way some of these scumbags treated the Iron Horse staff last night I really wonder what deep personal issues they must really have. Unleashing your wrath on a waiter or waitress who is trying to do all he/she can to serve you the best way possible under extenuating circumstances is sad and pathetic.
To the people who walked out on their tabs last night, you are flat out selfish thieves. I know the situation was not ideal but be a decent person and use the ATM that the Iron Horse has in their restaurant to get cash and close out your tab. You have to be one cheap low life to feel that when a credit card machine goes down it gives you the right to not pay a cent of your $200 tab. How can you justify going into a place, eating tons of food, consuming numerous drinks, and benefiting from good service and then just walk out and leave?
When an unfortunate situation occurs that you are directly involved in or indirectly involved in, you can do one of two things: You can let the bad situation consume you and make the situation worse or you can step it up and be positive and help remedy the situation. The people who bitched at the staff last night and who walked out on their tabs have probably never faced true adversity in their lives. They were probably spoiled growing up and had everything given to them. Someday, karma will catch up to these people.
Always treat people who are serving you in any area (restaurant, taxi, car dealer, espresso stand, haircut place, etc.) with respect and patience. Not only does it make for a much better experience for the server, but it also says a lot about you as a person. Do the right thing. Don’t Blink.