The Joy of Text

I am still without my mobile phone. In twenty first century terms this makes me more or less a non-person.  A refugee from a more primitive era, forced to gain information from books, or by asking an actual human being rather than just Googling it. On the upside, it has freed up quite a bit of time for musing. I should definitely do more musing. I might try and turn my phone off for an hour a day and make time for musing.*

One thing I have been musing on, in particular, is the rich and varied world of the text message. It’s been two days since I sent or received a text message, and already I feel quite nostalgic about it. No doubt there are PhD students all over the world writing their theses on the nuances of text language. Even the use of single character ‘x’ in the world of text takes on incredible significance: like the habit of certain women to use xx as a punctuation mark and what the hell THAT means. And not forgetting the need to precisely mirror the number of x’s at the end of a message in your reply, for fear of looking either rude or overly-forward. (‘He used to put THREE kisses at the end of his texts and now he puts TWO. He’s definitely going off me…’ – true story.) My habit is to end most texts with an x, just to indicate my generally friendly intentions. If I don’t get at least one back in reply, I often have to fight the urge to up the ante, adding increasingly long strings of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to see if the other person cracks.

We all give away something about ourselves in the way we word our texts, perhaps even more than when we speak. Here are some extracts from my in-box, with my translations of their real meanings.

Jst chln! CU l8r 4 lrfs! tanks – I am 52 years old and I think this is how the young people text. They really really don’t. Somebody should tell me that this style of texting is extremely embarrassing for a grown up person, but they are too busy trying to work out what the hell I’m trying to say.

I am at the shops!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!! – I am a very excitable person. In real life I resemble a small yappy dog that’s had speed added to its bowl of Pedigree Chum. In my case, the abbreviation ‘laugh out loud’ is quite literal. Let’s hope I stay down the shops for a long time.

Could you please bring some chairs; I do not have enough for everyone. – My correct use of the semi-colon in this text message may indicate: 1. Rampant OCD, 2. That I am an English teacher, 3. Possibly both.

Yes  – I am indicating my disdain for the process of texting (and indeed for all rules of common courtesy) by only replying in single words. You’re lucky to get that. I have also waited three days to reply to your question, just to show that I terrifically busy and not glued to my phone like the rest of you saddoes. I don’t yet realise that the delay means that the recipient has absolutely no idea to what this positive reply relates. Nor could they care less. I think my curmudgeonliness makes me seem an interesting and serious person, when in fact it’s just very very annoying.

I am at Mabel’s funeral. LOL** – I have misunderstood the abbreviation LOL to mean lots of love.  Either that, or I am pretty glad to see the back of Mabel.

Hajklf aafda; fqafierfjorji gw  – this is your mother. I never wanted this mobile phone in the first place. I know it’s supposed to be for emergencies but as I can’t really work it when I am completely calm, it’s hardly going to be very useful to me when I’m in a panic. As it makes me jumpy when it goes off, I am going to put it in the cutlery drawer so I can’t hear it, so that’ll be very handy if you want to talk to my spoons at any time.

LOL or wot? BRB.

*Obviously this is a joke. When I get my phone back, I am never going to turn it off. Ever. Again. In fact I might have a little holster made so I can make sure it’s attached to me at all times.

**if you read this and  are thinking ‘That’s my joke!’ then you’re right. Someone told me this joke a few days ago. Please feel free to leave a comment claiming it as your own, because right now I can’t quite remember who it was, probably because I have had about ten hours sleep in the last four days and quite a lot of Guinness.

About number6

I am not a number, I am a free woman. More or less.
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4 Responses to The Joy of Text

  1. Ruth says:

    Definitely don’t go with the holster idea. My other half has a phone holster clipped to his belt (well, he is *very* old, as you know). And one day it came unclipped from his belt and, well, it never worked again after it had been fished out of the toilet bowl.

    Sadly, not the end of the story: because he doesn’t want it to fall down any more toilets, he tends to unclip the holster and phone from his belt before using the facilities. Guess how many times the phone has been left behind in a range of public and private lavatories? I’ve only once so far been given the job of driving to a hospital where he was working the day before to collect said phone after it was discovered in the gents. They were very nice about it, but I wonder how worried they get that someone who purports* to be a judge, deciding on people’s liberty and such, can’t manage to keep track of his mobile.

    (*I like this word – I got it from a counsel’s written opinion last week, though he wasn’t being very polite about the steps we had taken for our client when he used it 3 times in a row.)

    PS Beginning to wonder if I should start blogging myself. It’s a lot better than proof reading law assignments!

  2. Jess Carter says:

    Oh, how so very true! I fear I come under the “teacher/OCD” category. Hmpff.

    When I was in Indonesia last year, with very little and very erratic signal, (say 10 minutes in a 2 week period, for which I had to walk for half an hour through the rainforest to the top of a hill and climb halfway up a tree – no joke!) when I first arrived, I was excited to receive a text message from Edwin’s parents. I opened it to see the words: “testing testing” glaring back at me in all their bleakness. Needless to say, I did not reply. Knowing them rather well, the tinge of sadness was followed by a bit of a chuckle inside. Texting is not their forté.

    I feel slightly nervous as to how I should sign off, but I am going to leave you with my standard text signature and let myself be judged.

    Very much enjoying the blog. I feel rather blog-inspired myself.


    • number6 says:

      I love the Indonesia story too…. I have a vision of you climbing a tree, hanging off it like a monkey.. a very attractive monkey.

  3. number6 says:

    Good point about the holster thing. Unless I could strap it round my upper arm, in some way?
    And don’t worry Jess, I’m not judging. (SNORT)

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