Wednesday, September 8, 2010


The first time I heard it was from my brother-in-law.  We were sitting outside on Memorial Day too many years ago talking about clothes or body functions or something when he received "TMI". 
"Too Much Information"

Well, I hate that our entire culture is absorbed in TMI.

I know it's happened to you: 

Your cell phone rings.
You fish around in your pocket for it, but your hands are full.
Cause you ran into the store for only two items--no need for a cart.

So the phone is ringing.
A lovely tone chosen specifically by you to bring you enjoyment.
But on it's third ring the lovely tone is brining sour looks from other shoppers.

You juggle the 9 items you've managed to pick up before you reach the second item that was on your list.  You squeeze your hand into your pocket -- those five (fifty!) pounds make it difficult to wrap your fingers around the phone

And the phone stops ringing. 

The other shoppers are relieved, but do not accept that apologetic look on your face.

You take your time extracting your hand from your pocket, careful not to drop any of your items. 
And why rush:  they'll leave a message,
or you'll call them back.
Everyone has caller ID now, right?

The phone comes out.
No voicemail is left.
You put the phone back in your pocket and head for the check out.

With a sigh you unload your arms and check your call log.


It's a number you don't recognize.
But they didn't leave a message.

So, of course, it was a wrong number.
Of course it is.

You pay for your products.
Take your bag to the car, get in and buckle up (where you immediately realize that you forgot the 2nd item on your list when the phone rang but you're too exhausted to haul yourself out of the car and back into the store.  You can live without another roll of toilet paper for one more night...right?).

You check your phone one more time.
Just in case the voicemail was delayed in delivery.
To be safe, because you don't want to fiddle with your phone while you're driving.

And there it is.
The number you don't know,
but that somehow now seems a bit familiar.

Maybe someone from work?
Or school?
Or a friend of your child?
Your sister's work?

Seriously, it really looks familiar now.
Can't be because you saw the number way back when your hands were full of spur of the moment product choices.

And you can't help it.
You press call.

Hello.  This is me, returning a call to this number.
No. I don't know who you are.
Yes. I know you didn't leave a message.
But maybe I know you.
Or maybe you know me.
A wrong number?
A random act of dialing?

Well, that's TMI.
Because back in the day we could leave our homes and return hours later.  If a call came in while you were gone, the caller would leave a message if it was important.  Otherwise, the recipient was none-the-wiser about the calls.

But not now.  Now there's TMI.

No more prank phone calls.
No more "is your refrigerator running?"
No more "do you have Prince Albert in a can?"
No more "This is Pizza Hut confirming your order of 18 pizzas to be delivered in the next 20 minutes."

And that makes me sad.

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