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I’m the sort of person who loves new technology but hates to read the instructions. What this means is I spend a lot of time cursing and complaining about something that is probably easy to fix. I enjoy cursing and complaining more than trying to figure out what some techie computer geek is trying to convey. Just in case you are a techie computer geek, I do not mean you â€“ just the others!
I’ve watched in amazement for a couple of years as friends and family not only grasped the concept of texting on their cell phones, they became avid users of this technology. I’m so out of the loop I didn’t even know my cell phone had the capability to send and receive text messages until recently.
I use my cell phone as my alarm clock because I hate alarm buzzers and I can get my cell phone to sound like something else. I just have to remember when I am sound asleep that if I hear birds chirping or bells chiming I am not in some pleasant pastoral place: it’s time to get the heck out of bed!
So I was used to those noises. The first time my phone began to buzz and jump around on my nightstand, it jarred me out of a sound sleep. In my groggy state of mind my first thought was that my phone was broken. As I gathered my wits I noticed my phone was not only buzzing, it was glowing. I had one moment where I sort of felt like Captain Kirk and wondered if Scotty was going to beam me up.
To my amazement, when I picked it up there was a display saying I had a text message. Although it was two o’clock in the morning, I was pretty darned excited. I’d finally arrived, someone was texting me. Now I was cool, hip, and apparently, ever-so-sought-after. I flipped my phone open to find not only a phone number I’d never heard of, but a message telling me that GĂĽnter wondered why I didn’t pick him up after school. From the area code listed I had a feeling GĂĽnter lived in a land far, far away â€“ so I wondered why he thought he knew me (or had my phone number) and how in heaven’s name he thought would be his chauffeur! (This had nearly as much to do with which side of the road I’d be driving on as it did distance!)
For several days after that (make that middle of the nights) I continued to receive calls from people and places I’d never heard of. Some were in English â€“ some in Spanish â€“ and a few were in text talk. I think I’d have a better chance of understanding Spanish than mastering the abbreviations so prevalent when people are texting.
Granted, I completely understand LOL, and ROTFLOL (rolling on the floor laughing out loud, just in case you aren’t as hip as I am!) Where it gets fuzzy for me is when people take the King’s English and alter it to the point where I’m wondering how much longer anyone will actually be able to spell.
When I would try calling the numbers associated with the texts here is what would happen. I’d say: “You keep texting me and it’s a wrong number.” Theyâ€™d say: “‘Scuze me, #$%*#@?!” I never could quite figure out why they were so hostile since they had done the dialing (make that texting) â€“ but trust me, it’s sort of like when someone cuts you off on the freeway, or fails to yield â€“ for some reason their anger is directed at you.
There was one guy who insisted I was wrong and continued to text me, asking what’s for dinner or when was I picking his sister up. This guy was no rocket scientist â€“ so it took him a while to recognize I wasn’t his Mom.
Finally in desperation I called the phone company and asked if there was anything I could do to keep people I don’t know from texting me. Not only was it annoying, it was costing me money! Their solution was for me to pick some random moniker that would act as a sort of prefix to my number and then to tell my family and friends so they’d know to use that before sending me messages.
I came up with the brilliant idea of using Mammy. My oldest son and I have a running joke where he’s Muzzy and I’m Mammy (donâ€™t ask) so I thought this would be an appropriate handle for me. Well, I thought wrong… make that WRONG!
In no time I was receiving even more texts containing everything from declarations of love (I kept those numbers) to questions about whether someone could spend the night. I had kids asking me if I would take them to soccer practice, and moms wondering where their kids were. I had people who could spell, and I had folks who were one sandwich short of a picnic. Just when I was ready to throw in the towel, a real-live family member had a health crisis.
Only then did I begin to appreciate just how handy a text message can be. My sister was able to immediately fill me in on what was happening, as well as share her fears and concerns, while sitting quietly by her husband’s hospital bed.
I found myself wishing I’d been able to do some texting when I was going through breast cancer. It would have been convenient to send messages to people while I was doing my chemo â€“ or on those days when I just felt so plain awful I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wouldn’t have had to worry about capitalization or punctuation or grammar, although I’m not quite sure how you would abbreviate I’m laying here in bed trying not to barf and wishing this was over. But Iâ€™ll bet someone out there knows!