I just sent a text message to a young friend. Here’s what I wanted to communicate:
Hello, darling Louie. Gosh, I’ve missed you. I’d like to see you for your 14th birthday, maybe take you out for lunch or dinner. Have you any free time in October? Sure hope so. I love you! Rhiannon.
Wow, how easily that flowed out of my fingers via my laptop keyboard, and how quickly I could have sent it to him as an email message!
But in Louie’s age group, email is for senior citizens, Florida Bonneted Bats, and other nearly extinct creatures. I mean, hello! It was invented LAST CENTURY! What feeble old-fashioned thing will we ask them to do next? WALK to school? Go out on “dates”? Watch TV shows on the ONE SET in the living room?
Digression: why the term “TV set”? What’s it a set of? Tubes and things? Only not tubes any more, because …
Topic. Right. Okay.
It seems that young people have two principal means of communication: Facebook, which I don’t use, and text messages, which I don’t see the point of. My cell phone is usually switched off and I’m almost always at my laptop, writing things, so it’s really faster to just send me an email.
But to get in touch with Louie, I dug out my ancient “emergency use only” cell phone and proceeded to tap at its painfully non-QWERTY keypad like a demented pigeon.
My first two messages got deleted by mistake because I kept pressing the Red Phone button instead of the Sideways U button.
In the third message, I got most of the letters right, but still, I thought it might confuse him:
Hi kouvie. want to sef you dor zour biqthdaw. got amy time in oat?
You’ve heard of the “hunt and peck” method of typing? My text-
message method is “hunt and peccadillo.”
How do you do capital letters, anyway?
In the fourth message, I tried to sound breezy and youthful.
Hi Lou? i want 2 c u in oct 4 yr bday?
When I tried to go back and turn the question marks into periods, the Red Phone key struck again. Or rather I struck it, although God knows I was trying not to.
It took me half an hour to send a message that sounded more or less like human communication and conveyed that in October, I would quite like to see the child to celebrate his natal day with an event involving the ingestion of foodstuffs, and that, regardless, he continues to stand exceedingly high in my regard.
At least, that’s what I think it conveyed. I haven’t received an answer yet.
Are kids still sending text messages? Or have they moved on to a system of high-pitched, inaudible-to-older ear whistles, copied (in the nick of time) from the Florida Bonneted Bats?
Picture of an English Long-Eared Bat from Wikimedia Commons, public domain. I couldn’t find any free pictures of Florida bats wearing bonnets.