After much resistance and persistently ignoring the demand of ‘communicative’ friends, I recently downloaded a phone app that allows group chats. It is wonderful that now I can type in one message and talk to twelve people at one go.
However, the icing on the cake is the tiny little symbols that I can add before, after and in between every message.
A smiley face here, two cocktail glasses there, a sad face in another message, a red blushing one in yet another, a pretty little heart in one, followed by sunflowers!
Emoticon-happy, I dotted my communication with symbols that completed the picture.
My words now had tone of voice. Compliments became flowery. ‘Let’s catch up’ came with the option of a steaming cup of coffee or frothing mugs of beer.
I wondered why I had not done this before, multiplying my happiness by the number of smiley faces that I could add.
And then I hit a snag.
Where was the emoticon that I could use to convey ‘betrayal’?
Disappointment? That feeling of let down?
Was there an emoticon I could use to convey restless waiting?
Or one that conveyed how it felt to have a summer breeze wafting through my hair while the spray of the salty ocean dimpled my cheeks.
Desperately looking for an emoticon to convey over-expectation and not finding one to even convey limitations, I chose the ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ and repeated them a few times over.
Reduced to a few finger signs, expression became a bit frustrating.
How easy it would have been if the sheer range of human emotions could each be represented by a symbol. And how impossible.
Maybe that is why expressing emotions continues to be a rare art?