Hours before 2019 crossed over into 2020, the little green circles in my WhatsApp friends’ list lit up my screen. First dozens, then hundreds. So did my Facebook Messenger.
This year, in accordance with my first resolution for the year, I started answering my messages, wishing me and my family a Happy New Year, feeling all warm and fuzzy at my own goodness. I even looked at some (not all) the videos I was sent.
Then I decided not to, because the more I looked, the less time I would have to answer my WhatsApp. I watched each little green dot disappear with immense gratification and the screen would go quiet. Aah, what a wonderful way to enter the new year, a fresh field devoid of little green dots denoting people who had wished me and whom I had not wished.
Full disclosure. I did some copy/paste as well, but they were MY messages, the first carefully crafted to express the warmth that I felt towards everyone, then it was dab, dab, dabdab, dab. Do it often enough and you don’t even feel guilty about not opening those videos showing rockets going off, all the bells and whistles etc.
Every time I finished a large batch of WhatsApp, I would switch to Facebook Messenger and try and get THAT side of my life under control. I began to send out a very nice GIF to everyone, really pretty, totally affecting, filled with faux cheer. At least, I got cheered up every time I sent it out. Easy peasy actually.
Then back to WhatsApp. More green dots. But by now I was in the zone, so I flitted between the two. Back and forth. Then I realised something peculiar. The WhatsApp line was getting longer and I thought my, I have a LOT of friends. But I kept at it doggedly. Dab dab dabdab dab. The rhythm was hypnotic.
Then I realised with horror that I was sending the same people (plus some new ones), the same message again and again. I had been looking only at green dots and the thing is – everyone answers your answer.
Friend: Happy New Year Carol, to you and your family. May 2020 bring you everything you ever wanted. Me: The Happiest New Year to you. Ever. (I liked the cleverness of the last word, in a sentence by itself.
Friend: Thumbs up emoji. Heart emoji, celebration emoji, Thank you. Green bloody dot.
So then I began to agonise over WhatsApp etiquette. If I don’t answer, will it be rude? If I answer, will I be able to ignore the green dots? But you aren’t supposed to ignore because it makes you look as if you don’t care.
Me: Full line of thumbs up emojis and a huge full stop. That should say something.
Friend: Whole line of big hearts. Another green dot. Plus a pulsating heart in a separate message. I took to ghosting.
Honestly, this is what I have been thinking about for the last couple of days. Who gets the last word on WhatsApp for wishing during festivals?
At least it took my mind off CAA and NRC and for and against, and the cold in the north and Shaheen Baug and everyone out on the street.
One of my resolutions is to go on a real voyage of self-discovery. You know, to let that 2020 vision kick in. Already I am discovering. Boy, am I shallow!
Happiest New Year to you. Ever!