I got a text message on my phone today.
This is probably not big news for most of you, but I NEVER get text messages. I’ve maybe gotten five of them in my entire life. A couple from my cell phone service provider and a couple spams, but that’s it. This one was actually for me. It said, “Hola. This is your mother. END MESSAGE”
I totally didn’t know what to do with this information. I know that eight-year-olds can text message with one hand while they do homework with the other and chat on the phone with their little headsets, but I had no idea how to go about returning the message. I am so out of touch. (God forbid that my kids ever get into texting because I’ll be absolutely nonplussed about how to monitor them.)
See, my mom moved to Australia on Sunday, and I assume this was her attempt to contact me without a huge telephone bill. So I thought I’d give it a go. My first attempt to use the little keypad to compose a message resulted in something to the effect of, “Highi hijkltuv.” And then I stopped.
I carried on with my day before I tried to go back and resend. Meanwhile, questions swirled through my head: Do I even have text messaging service? (Obviously I do.) Do I pay extra for it? (Probably.) How much do I pay for it? (No idea.) Am I legally required by some obscure text messaging law to use cute little acronyms and emoticons if I send my own? (Almost surely.)
I obviously HAVE a cell phone, but I honestly don’t even know how many minutes I have on my plan because I only use about six of them a month and those are used making phone calls like the one I made to my husband this morning as I was pulling out of the driveway: “Hi, Alex. I put a bag of trash from the car in the driveway and Sam wanted me to call you to make sure that you put it in the trashcan because he was worried that I am littering.”
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I was even able to program names and numbers into my phone. Before then I just memorized the numbers I called (home), and typed them in. I thought since I had mastered that, that I would be able to compose a simple text message, but apparently I can’t.
Hours later I finally texted, “Hi how r u” to an unknown number. It sure wasn’t my mom’s. But it was where the original message came from. Is it some special texting number? Did she borrow a phone to send it? Am I texting some complete stranger that somehow managed to convey my mom’s personality in a two-sentence text message to me? And how do you put a question mark in a text message anyhow?
You should be impressed that I managed to even use “r” and “u” as shorthand. A friend of mine emailed me a few months ago and included the acronym “KWIM.” I emailed her multiple times with increasingly frantic questions culminating with, “NO, REALLY, WHAT THE HELL DOES KWIM MEAN?! I HAVE TO KNOW!” For those of you like me, it apparently stands for “Know what I mean?”
But, don’t worry, I have a plan to get up to speed. Because I made it to age 34 with only five text messages to my name, I figure I won’t get too many more before my kids get old enough to figure out how to text, and at that point, I will make them explain it to me. And I plan to say this a lot, and loudly: “These kids these days with their newfangled contraptions. I swear, what will they come up with next?”
Stimey has managed (but just barely) to also cross-post this at DC Metro Moms.