Sam Grittner

A Complete Timeline of Them Not Returning Your Text

So, you send them a text. So, they don’t text back. I always wondered why, until I figured it all out.


If you’re anything like me, you constantly dream about transforming into the ocean and replacing all your friends with a variety of animals that exclusively play jazz and only pass judgment on the elements.

You also text people and it drives you crazy when they don’t respond right away. Sometimes it’s five minutes, sometimes it’s five years, either way, it can feel like an eternity (especially when it is an eternity or epoch).

I conducted a poll amongst good friends and, through my scientific research, determined the most common reasons people don’t respond to texts immediately. Here are the times elapsed and the reasons:

1 minute: They went to get coffee.

2 minutes: Their phone is in a different room than they are.

5 minutes: They’re Googling “Croatian pudding creatures” and “Byzantine singularity.”

10 minutes: They hate you.

15 minutes: They are dead.

30 minutes: They are busy making out with a stunt-double.

1 hour: A mountain fell on them. They are not dead but they definitely hate you. And mountains.

2 hours: They are at the bottom of a well with a bear. The bear is blindfolded and strapped to a chair. Neither of them knows how they got there but they can smell pot stickers and the bear is growing petulant.

3 hours: Their phone died. The phone also hates you.

4 hours: They are so physically repulsed by the thought of talking to you, even without having to actually utter a single syllable, that it has rendered them inert, they are frozen until they are struck by lightning or a crow beckons them three times.

5 hours: They weren’t real to begin with (yet somehow managed to hate you).

6 hours: They are having sex with a giant and filming it in Super-8. They will pay a goth to compose a score at a later date.

12 hours: They have been abducted by the Yakuza and their phone was snapped in half right before they were snatched and thrown into the back of an unmarked van. They will be dead before sunrise.

1 day: They were going to but got sidetracked when Jakob Dylan came wandering into their cabin wearing only honey, holding an oar, asking if they wanted to hear “One Headlight.” They did.

2 days: Their fingers fell off as they were going for the phone. They are not lepers.

3 days: A portal opened up that led to the 7th dimension. They didn’t go in, but spent three days Instagramming about it.

4 days: They tried to watch all the Lord of the Rings extended editions movies in a row. It will take them five attempts before they successfully give up. Man, do they fucking hate you.

5 days: What phone?

6 days: They forgot to tell you that they were going to Nepal for five days.

7 days: The sky opened up and swallowed them whole. It spit them back out with a mixture of contempt and jealousy. Their ashes stayed on the sand for six days until the ocean wept its way up to them and, with its patience, coaxed them back to human form so they could endure the tragedy that is life one more time. Then they went home and watched three episodes of Master of None.

14 days: They are wizards from the future and are conducting space business and don’t have time to respond to give you answers to questions you could have Googled.

21 days: They are dead as fuckkkkkkkkkk.

28 days: They love you so much they refuse to answer. They know that one day you will throw the phone into a ravine and free yourself from the crippling prison that you’ve convinced yourself is the one mechanism that keeps you connected to the world when it is itself the digital shackle that you willfully put on every morning.

Anything longer than 28 days: They learned how to transcend this dimension and have transmogrified into shards of light that beam down over you as you shake your head and curse them out; they wash over you with all their technicolor, fragmented fractal beauty.

Anything longer than 1 year: They became a DJ in Alaska.

Anything longer than 3 years: They’re fisting the Gods themselves.

Anything longer than 5 years: You realize that you’ve been dead the entire time and that you were waiting for someone to respond from the Other Side. With this insight, you are finally free and your soul breaks loose of its skeletal cage and soars among the birds. The Heavens await you. It’s a good thing you have unlimited data.


Sam Grittner

Sam Grittner is a writer and stand-up comedian currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has written for and the International Business Times. His monthly stand-up show, “We’re All Gonna Die Tonight,” is returning in December.