It was a Tuesday like any other, except that Dale was feeling a little low about himself after a long day of work. His jokes weren’t connecting in the breakroom, and nobody responded to the Buzzfeed link he sent out to the entire office, “54 Toys You’ll Only Recognize if You Grew Up in the 90s.” He had even marked the email with high importance, and still, nothing.
Back at home, Dale scrolled through Instagram and sent some hilarious memes to his girlfriend Kim. During his commute home, he had given consideration to the idea that maybe he should increase his Vitamin D levels by spending some time in the sun, or maybe it would be productive to get some exercise, but he opted for the phone thing instead. A passing thought caught him off-guard: “Maybe I should let go of some of my anger and really start to work through my relationship with my father by starting a daily journal.”
But ultimately, these memes weren’t going to send themselves.
As soon as Kim arrived home, she said work had been crazy and she needed a few moments to zone out. Dale understood. He was that kind of boyfriend, the one who listened to his partner’s feelings and valued her opinions.
He watched as Kim pulled her phone out and started to scroll through Instagram. He could see the unread message dot in the top right of her screen and thought, “That’s me. I’m the unread message. I know exactly what memes are waiting for her. Oh man, I can’t wait to make her day and feel connected again.” The anticipation alone started to make him giddy, more excited than he had been in weeks.
But anticipation soon gave way to anxiety, as Kim soon stopped scrolling through photos and started watching the stories at the top of the app. “It’s fine,” Dale thought, “she just doesn’t know what memes are waiting for her. She probably doesn’t even know that unread message dot is representative of me and my entire sense of self-worth.”
Eventually, Dale wondered just how many people Kim followed, and whether they all posted stories during the day, and if Kim watched all of them, and if she really watched videos all the way through for every single account. It seemed crazy, not at all the method Dale would have used. He started to fidget and make movements that would hopefully catch Kim’s attention. First he just sort of shifted his weight toward her on the couch, but when that didn’t work, he tried everything: jazz hands, winky faces, excessive pantomiming.
Finally, Dale had enough. This was truly getting ridiculous. “Hey,” he said, super casually, “Did you see that meme I sent you?”
Kim looked up and replied, “Oh! I didn’t. Did you text it to me?”
This couldn’t be happening to him, but it was. “You know what, let me just show you,” he said, trying to be cool about it. Dale pulled the meme up on his phone and showed it to Kim. She laughed, but not hard.
That was an important Tuesday in Dale’s life, one that taught him a lesson he would never forget: Kim did not appreciate the SpongeBob meme.