Call us grammar geeks or snobs; our family takes the use of correct grammar and spelling seriously. If I find I’ve made an error when it is too late to correct it, it bothers me for days. My geeky ways have made it impossible to accept the abbreviations and shortcuts so popular in texting. I have scoffed at those who use 2, or B, to save the work of entering a two letter word. Now it is time to humbly sacrifice my judgmental ways.
I am new to texting as we (gasp!) use our cell phones on a very limited basis due to poor reception at our country home. My adult children assured me they would communicate more often if we texted, so I have tried it a few times.
This weekend we found ourselves unexpectedly heading to the city where our daughter and son-in-law live. My husband was driving and suggested I find out if they could join us for a meal. Chilly, I tried texting with my gloves on. Nope. I gingerly removed one glove, but it was still slow going. I kept rephrasing my sentence to avoid the use of the shift key (and my gloved hand) to access apostrophe’s, question marks, and the like. Texting shorthand suddenly seemed like a good idea. I finally gave up to use both hands and got our message sent. A response came quickly, and that is when my real troubles began.
Evidently, for me, wearing sunglasses instead of my “readers” to operate my phone is as detrimental as wearing gloves to text. Somehow instead of retrieving my daughter’s responding text I opened an old conversation between us and read: Leaving lake now. Mahattan 4ish?
We’re in the snow and ice region so I was surprised they’d been at a lake, though it was possible. But I knew of no town or restaurant called “Mahattan”, and it was 5:30. As I am pondering this aloud, I accidentally sent this same message to my daughter, thinking I have accidentally sent a blank message. So I text “Confused by Mahattan 4ish.”, to which my daughter responds: “Haha! The lake confused me.”
What? Wasn’t she the one who brought up the whole lake and 4:00 thing??? And what was Mahattan…
At this point I realize that the message I was responding to was not from my daughter. It was indeed my first ever text to her. Sent last July when we were heading from a lake in Missouri to Manhattan, Kansas. (N! see the problem a little spelling typo can create?!) I not only read this as from her, but sent it to her, missing somehow her actual response to our offer of a meal together.
I am laughing and trying to text an explanation to send her when my husband says, “You just need to call her.” As in, you really shouldn’t be texting. Just then my phone rang, my daughter having come to the same conclusion as her dad. And the mystery of the lake and the need for time travel to meet at 4:00 was solved.
The family is still making fun of me for “yelling” (texting in all caps) last summer to say, “NO TO WAMEGO. NO OZ.”, when asked if I had ever been to the town of Wamego or their OZ Museum. I’m sure jokes about leaving the lake can’t be far behind.
I’ll keep working on texting skills and drop my criticism of those who do it more successfully than I with fewer key strokes. And if someone invites you to Wamego, B sure 2 go.
The OZ Museum in Wamego, KS
Look out for the poppy field.