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Family Zone - It Just So Happens
by Cheryl Butler

StorkNet.com > Columns > Family Zone - It Just So Happens

You've Got Text
© Cheryl L. Butler

Cheryl ButlerWell, now I've gone and done it, not that I really had much of a choice. After adamantly holding steadfast that pigs would fly before Cheryl L. Butler learned to text, I caved during baseball season and let my fingers do the talking. This isn't something I'm necessarily proud of, but if I wanted to be at the right baseball field to see the right kid play at the right time on any given day for the past four months, my only shot was to pull out my cell phone, my magnifying glass and learn to do what most adolescents, and savvy adults can do blindfolded-send a text message.

How hard could it be, I thought? I can type nearly 100 words per minute, so texting couldn't possibly be any different. Maybe not if you're Tinker Bell, but if you own a cell phone that is as old as George Washington's wooden teeth like I did, finding the letters on each tiny key and then figuring out how many times to press that silly little key to get the correct letter to pop up was near maddening. If I was going to be successful at this, I needed to call in the Big Dogs, one of my teens.

First, you need to know that my cell phone was at least eight or so years old. This boggles most people's minds, but you must remember that as a mother of eight, talking on the telephone is quite foreign to me. If I am to have any type of a lucid discussion with anyone-be it the folks from that fabulous new resort in the West Indies calling to tell me I had won a free vacation for four, or my own husband needing a reminder of what he was suppose to be bringing home in a brown paper bag en route from work, the chances of actually exchanging intelligent conversation without chaos in the background is zilch.

That said, I could've cared less if I ever made a call from my closet, never mind from my car on a cell phone. Then something unbelievable happened-my kids started growing up! They were no longer just playing in the backyard or over at the neighbor's house. They had the gall to decide they wanted to join things! Sporting teams, after-school programs, summer jobs-all these wonderful opportunities that I could no longer offer them from home so with that came their next step of independence-getting their own cell phones.

I fought this off as long as I could but soon realized that I was only hurting myself. Communication is key with our kids today, so my husband and I painfully came on board to the world of cell phones and family plans. Better late than never! Though texting seems to come naturally to many, I found it to be as frustrating as standing up on a greased surf board. (No, I don't surf!) It took a bit of work, but I finally did it. Sent my very first text to my son which I believe was the following: Hi, Love Mom. Short and sweet and it only took me 10 minutes.

With that, word spread like wildfire that Cheryl L. Butler had learned to text and before I could get my phone back in my purse, I began receiving so many messages I thought sure my new nickname would soon be Alexander Graham Bell. There was only one problem however, I couldn't understand them!

For you regular texters out there, you already know that texting has its very own language. For newbies like me, however, it is much like learning French or Spanish. I "no speaka the text" so reading the following was quite frustrating:
Hwru? DdUheAd PTA mtg wz movDagn? Let's gt2gtha wen skool gets ot. Ive so mch 2 telu. U won't bleeve w@ hapned @d clb yesterday. I cUd Jst di! Don't wrk 2 hrd. Ive 2 run. Bbacinabit. ?4U, so cll me. MsU! Is it Chardonnay or Mrlo 4U deez days? LOL

Translation:
How are you? Did you hear the PTA meeting was moved again? Let's get together when school gets out. I have so much to tell you. You won't believe what happened at the club yesterday-I could just die! Don't work too hard. I have to run. Be back in a bit. I have a question for you, so call me! Miss you! Is it Chardonnay or Merlot for you these days? Laugh out loud!

2.5 billion text messages are sent in the USA each day so obviously texting is much more than a trend. While I'm slowly learning the lingo and my way around my new and highly sophisticated cell phone, and am grateful to have an instant way to keep in touch with my kids when they are out and about, I doubt I'll ever rely on texting as my major means of communication. Texting may be hands on and convenient but it has its time and place, and besides, it can never replace the adrenaline rush I get while making a dental appointment from our landline with a dog and a gaggle of kids going bonkers in the background, LOL!

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