1631: Longer Than Usual

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Longer Than Usual
'--> [ Well, this is embarrassing. ] <--'
Title text: '--> [ Well, this is embarrassing. ] <--'


The comic starts a small flow chart with "This seems to be taking longer than usual." It then presents two alternative continuations of the sentence, which radically alter the interpretation of the starting sentence, resulting in humor.

"This seems to be taking longer than usual" is an error message displayed by Gmail (see here) and other software, for example Disqus, (see here). We realize the allusion to Gmail by the first continuation, "Try reloading Gmail if the problem persists".

In the second continuation, "Maybe we should just go to bed", the opening instead refers to a person suffering from sexual performance anxiety, taking "longer than usual" to achieve either orgasm or erection, probably despite considerable efforts of their partner. Often such frustration then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that renders orgasm/erection virtually impossible by ruining the mood. In such situations it is likely that one or the other partner becomes frustrated and gives up, suggesting "let's go to bed" instead of 'pointlessly' continuing the sexual activity.

The title text ties both interpretations together by referencing an infamous error message given by the Firefox internet browser. As an error message, it fits nicely with the Gmail interpretation of the comic, though it is equally likely to be used as an apology or frustrated slight in the sexual interpretation. It would be a likely next line after "this is taking longer than usual". Alternatively, it would be embarrassing to get the two responses confused, thus necessitating a flowchart as a guide.

It could also simply be a jab to people who stay online late even when doing nothing, as when a lag occurs, and finally realising it might be better to switch off the computer and go to bed; or people who stay up late obsessed that "Someone is wrong on the internet".

This is not the first time Randall juxtaposes sex and more abstract topics, such as sex and math in 487: Numerical Sex Positions or sex and engineering in 592: Drama


[A flowchart with one starting bubble at the top. Two arrows goes left and right below this bobble to two other bobbles.]
Top: "This seems to be taking longer than usual-"
Left: "-Try reloading Gmail if the problem persists."
Right: "-Maybe we should just go to bed."

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Can we keep this as the explanation? Untothebreach (talk) 08:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I deleted the {{incomplete}} template. 13:27, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

the "orgasm" part of the interpretation feel really shaky, i don't believe it to be what the strip is about; Gmail and firefox are not exclusive user of those specific messages, i am not sure whether an extended or complete list would help108.162.228.161 09:58, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Eh, it seems right to me unless "maybe we should just go to bed" is a quote from something. -- 10:27, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
Only thing I can place is a [song], Robert Smith has appeared in XKCD before Kev (talk) 21:54, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Understanding this comic seems to be taking longer than usual... oh, yes, OK, two responses to a single observation made in quite different situations. I think I'll just go to bed. 11:11, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I'm not completely convinced. The explanation is the first thing I thought of, but "bed" makes it awkward. Aren't you typically in bed, when the second thing happens? If that's the intended meaning, it seems so much better to use "sleep" that it makes me wonder if I am missing something. 16:30, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

You are thinking about it too logically :). Think more colloquially. When two people are "sleeping together" we don't consider them to be sharing a bed during a nocturnal rest cycle, we all know what is really happening. In fact, they may never "sleep together" in the literal application for all the "sleeping" they do.--R0hrshach (talk) 17:04, 18 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm completely unconvinced. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. 17:46, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

"aren't you typically in bed...?" Oh no, definitely not. Randall's past comics have included numerous instances of out-of-bed stimulation and experimentation; and note the key word "just" in "just go to bed." Imagining some such activity just adds to the humor.Taibhse (talk) 02:23, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes if you have not spotted those that would be an Oversight ;-) --Kynde (talk) 14:41, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

At first, I read it as 'maybe I/you should just go to bed', in which case it would merely be about the user being online too late. But 'we' seems a deliberate reference to two people. That makes the 'sex' meaning a lot more plausible. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I don't know about most places, but where I live, when lag stops I know I need to go to bed (Lag from ~7pm to 10pm) —Artyer (talk|ctb) 16:55, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

What was X. K. C. D. doing there? GcGYSF(asterisk)P(vertical line)e (talk) 23:23, 3 May 2022 (UTC)