Shall I start by admitting that I have no real texting skills? That I will never be nicknamed “Cheetah Thumbs”, that I am not one of those two-handed speed texters but a one-thumbed texter who declines to send anything more than “I’m here where are you?” or “Will do”?
Please note that, despite the misleading title, I am not one to write “u” for “you”. I cling to the sanctity of American English like a drunk clinging to his dignity. I must make this stand. If I fall into the habit of abbreviating words, the next thing you know, I’m describing something as “ungood” and working at the Kwik-E Mart.
I’m not saying that texting is bad. I’m just saying that the majority of it is completely unnecessary, likely to lead to poor spelling and apt to lead to the end of civilization as we know it.
I was on the bus the other day, vacantly staring at the head of the man in front of me when I remembered a rather disturbing dream I’d had about a friend the night before. Something about flaming couch cushions being thrown from an elevated subway and her fielding them with an oversized catcher’s mitt.
At 7:15 in the morning, this is the perfect opportunity to text. Unnecessary, yes, but what if she was in Chicago helping someone move a chaise lounge? How would I forgive myself?
My painstakingly keyed message? “Watch for flaming couch cushions.”
We’ve known each other for a couple decades now and have agreed that these kinds of statements are reasonable.
She wrote back immediately: “Another dream? Anyway, have date tonight. Can only HOPE for fiery furniture.”
And that was the end of the dialogue. And that’s what texting is good for: it’s the hit-and-run of conversation.
But that’s not how everyone feels, is it, because I have a friend whose texts span several screens.
“How r u? I m good but I m going 2 b L8 so b sure 2 save me a seat & if T gets there b4 me tell him I have his Xmas present & that…” – go to the next screen – “I have the recipe he was looking 4.”
I am torn between admiring her need to keep us apprised and impatience with her thinking that this kind of contact is necessary – you’ll be here soon! you can say all this when you get here!
I write back. “Will do.”
She writes again. “OK! See u soon.”
Ten minutes later. “Almost there!”
Ten minutes after that: “Am in parking lot.”
I fight the urge to respond “Text me when you’re walking in the front door” because I’m afraid she might.
What did we do before this ability to continually be in touch? Did we show up late knowing that our friends would make room for us? Did we sit at the bar and wait for the people who said they’d be there, meeting new people while we waited?
Yes, we did. And we kept our abbreviations high-class.
Winter mornings and pottery
3 hours ago