Thursday, May 17, 2012


I am learning to text. It’s true.

Somehow, learning to text seemed more intimidating than learning to drive. My good driving record over the years speaks for itself. Mostly.

I’ve watched people text with great speed, back and forth, with great admiration, and I've felt . . . somehow lacking. Left behind. Incomplete. 

It’s a little disconcerting to be with others when all this texting is going on, though. It tends to make me feel insignificant. After all, I’m there in person while they’re communicating with invisible others. I guess it’s all about multitasking, but I’d rather focus on one person at a time, in person. One friend texts so frequently when we’re together, I’ve often wondered if I could get her attention by pulling out my phone and texting her, too, rather than initiating a conversation. I’m still considering it. But then that would mean I'd have to charge my phone and remember to carry it with me. And turn it on. All things I don't do too often. 

But here’s the thing: I'd found it aggravating, just trying to enter contact information into my cell phone. The process was slow and cumbersome and error-filled. It was easier if for some reason someone called me; I could at least save their number. Still, I had to key in the person's name or the number was useless.

However, my newer phone (still quite basic, no android or smart features, and did I mention it doesn't work outside of the USA?) is a little more efficient and user friendly than the old one.

So - - - last week I girded up my loins and composed a text:

“howarekidslovemommmmmmmmm” (The extra “m” at the end is my trademark email signature. He’d know it was from Mom if he didn't already know it was from Mom.)

Then I held my breath and hit ‘send.’

The news shot around the globe. From the middle brother in Finland, the recipient of the text, to the big brother in El Paso, to the little brother in Berkeley.

“Mom txtng!”

Not quite as startling as when Mom jumped off the cliff into the underground swimming hole in Mexico, or tried the rope swing across a stream. Both on the same family trip.The boys were truly rattled. At that point, I decided all I needed to do was get a tattoo and they'd come unhinged. Just a little butterfly on the ankle would do. Alas, there were no rub-on temporary tattoos to be found when I decided to do it. Well, two out of three isn’t a bad success rate when it comes to rattling the kids.

With my second text I learned how to insert spaces between words. I already knew where I wanted them; I just couldn’t  figure out how to do it. “Try zero,” a friend suggested. “There aren’t any alphabet letters on the zero key.” She was right.

No, my phone doesn’t have a keyboard. Just a number pad. You can imagine the hardship. Still, I am tenacious. Even if it takes me five minutes to compose and send a three line text, I’m doing it, if I have to send a text, which won't be often. 

“Nobody communicates by voicemail anymore, Mom,” #1 son says. Maybe that’s why he rarely returns mine. “People say, ‘I don’t listen to my voicemail. If you want to contact me, text me.’” It’s more efficient," he says. I’ll take his word for it. I’m all for efficiency.

Still, I’d rather talk to someone, a BFF, in person. You know, with eye contact, facial expressions, body language, real laughs instead of LOL - - - all the nonverbal cues you don’t get from letters on a screen.

Two caveats as I enter this brave new world:

  1. I don't use my cell very often. We still have what is known as a land line. So lower your expectations accordingly, if you had any.
  2. I won't text and drive. 

im jst sayn


Pam Williams said...

I blush to admit that I can answer a text but have a harder time trying to figure out how to initiate one. It's probably because I'm so accustomed to doing things the hard (old-fashioned) way that I haven't discovered the right (easy) way. Alas.

Charissa said...

Funny! I've learned to text, but it still irks me! My daughter in college will text me a dozen texts and I will finally call her to hash it out, and she tells me she doesn't have time to talk on the phone. Agh! Kids these days!