I RECENTLY RECEIVED an email from a friend offering all sorts of reasons why we could not get together. It ended with the promise, “I’ll try to call you tomorrow.” This got me wondering how one would go about trying to make a phone call. Would they get near the phone but not pick it up? Maybe start to enter my number but not finish? Or enter the entire number and then hang up before the first ring? How, exactly, could one accomplish it?
“Try” is a funny word. In some cases it implies huge effort, as in, “I tried to summit Mt. Everest but I ran out of oxygen halfway up.” Or, on a lesser scale, still implying desire but defeated by an inherent weakness, “I tried to move the refrigerator to clean behind it, but it wouldn’t budge.” For many people, those three little letters offer a delicious way out, as in, “I’ll try to come to your art opening.” Again, imagine the scenario: The person dresses for an evening out, leaves home, enters the car, inserts the key into the ignition, and then what? The car won’t start? There’s a flat tire? A pit bull hiding in the back seat lunges forward and rips off their scalp?
To more fully understand my point, go ahead and try to pick up a pencil. Don’t pick it up; just try. There you go. There it is, right there. That’s trying.
Andrea Rouda is the author of The Daily Droid blog.