I recently got a new phone, and even though the saleslady told me my new phone would automatically re-populate the contacts from my old phone I didn’t trust that. See, I come from the old school way of doing things, back in the days when nothing happened automatically, when we had to painstakingly copy word for word, file for file, by hand (i.e. the Dark Ages). I don’t trust anything that “magically” happens. So, you can imagine the first thing I did when I got home with my new phone. Yes, I scrolled through my contacts, and I found out something mildly disturbing.
Of my 66 contacts, I haven’t had actual contact with over 2/3rds of them. Oy. What happened there? There were some people I met over the Internet, people I struck up friendships with at the time because of shared interests, but somehow over time those communications dwindled and then disappeared altogether. I’m not sure how it happened because I don’t physically recall not texting them back, but I guess I didn’t, or they didn’t, or we both didn’t. I figure for that group of contacts it really was about certain moments when we needed each other, support, or whatever, and maybe they’re flying high on their own now. I wonder what would happen if I texted them now, ages later, if they would even have my name by the number in their phones anymore.
Then there’s the ones who are distant family members, and by distant I mean physically, like in North Carolina, or Alabama, or whatnot. I don’t text them either, and for some of them I never did. Their numbers were in my phone because my mother gave them to me, or my sister gave them to me, or they populated themselves because of contacts imported from Facebook (gotta love Facebook). And even though some of these people are my half-brothers, my half-sisters, or my first and second cousins, I honestly don’t know the first thing to say to them, out of the blue, via text or voice communication. I guess that says more about me than it does about them, to some extent, because they are just a number away and I’m reticent to reach out for fear of awkward silences.
And just like with everyone else, there are the handful of contacts I actually keep in contact with on a daily, or weekly, basis. These are the people who could tell you what’s going on with my life right now, not five years ago, the people I see fairly often, “on the regular,” and I could tell you what’s happening with them too. I wouldn’t tell you because we share things in confidence, but the point is that I could, and that matters. So why don’t I just clean up my contacts, get rid of the people I’ve lost touch with, actually talk to my distant family, and only keep those who I’m actually in contact with? Sounds like a novel idea, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not as simple as all that.
I mean, what if one of those people I’ve lost touch with decides to text me out of the blue after I’ve deleted their contact information? There’s nothing worse than getting a text out of the blue from a number you don’t recognize and having to send one back saying, “Who are you?” On the slim, off-chance that something like that happens I want to be the one guy who wasn’t stupid enough to delete contacts. So when Jenna Grande texts me after five years of text-silence and asks me how I’ve been I can answer her like there’s been absolutely no pause in our communication. That has got to be worth something.
Or not. Regardless, though, the real reason I won’t delete the contacts that are collecting dust is because leaving them there means I have some kind of posse, some group of people that meant something to me at some point, and that still might if they deign to contact me again. Or maybe I’ll be the guy, the one who randomly contacts one of the dusties and pretends like no time has passed. I wonder what they would say.