The New York Times has a column called the Metropolitan Diary, brief essays on random happenings. Here is one I saw the other day which I found to be so interesting. From a writer’s perspective, the implications are clear. How would you phrase the dialogue, if this is what you were dealing with?
It is called “You Don’t Call Me.” He overheard two people calling, and one repeated the phrase, “you don’t call me.”
In addition, he heard, “I’m 51 years old. You don’t call me.”
So what did it mean? He didn’t hear the full conversation.
What if the speaker said “I’m 81 years old? Would we interpret it differently?
What if the speaker said, “You, don’t call me!”
It seems to me that changing the age of the person speaking might make the message different. Is it a message of exasperation that there are no phone calls at all, or that there are text messages and emails instead of phone calls?
Punctuation might change it from a complaint to a warning not to call.
Copyright Barbara James. All rights reserved.
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