Before sending Abby off to college, Doug and I broke down and bought her a cell phone. A room full of other things, too, mind you, but the cell phone was a pretty big deal. Doug and I have resisted getting our children cell phones. We just don’t think it’s necessary. Our children have a million reasons why they “need” their own phones, but they have yet to convince us. But then one of them said this: “I’m going away to college.” Yeah, that convinced us. But it’s only worked for Abby so far.
As we added Abby to our cell phone plan, we also added unlimited texting. We knew that would be an important feature for Abby. So, suddenly, I have this new communication tool at my disposal.
Kate is already a pro at texting. When I first got my phone a few years ago Kate thought we had unlimited texting as part of our plan. (Doesn’t everybody?) But no. We didn’t even have limited texting or text-your-ten-best-friends texting. What we didn’t know was that when I gave Kate permission to use my phone for what I assumed was a phone conversation, she was texting her friends. We didn’t discover this until the bill came at the end of the first month. At least that bill made the regular monthly charges seem really, really low. Really.
So anyway, Kate is trying to teach me how to text. I have a rather dated phone and it doesn’t have a full keyboard. The letters are grouped together under the number keys. The number “2” has the letters “a,b,” and “c.” You’re probably familiar with it. Even rotary phones had letters with the numbers.
There is a snazzy feature on my phone where the phone figures out the word I want when I type in a certain combination of keys. I don’t have to painstakingly type in every letter. Kate had turned on this feature (and used it) before giving me a lesson in how to use it.
One day, shortly after getting Abby her phone, I decided to send her a text message as she headed off to go shopping. I was going to write, “Hi. Have fun.”
To start the word, “Hi,” I hit the “4” button where the “h” is. My smart little phone spit out the word “Hi.”
Sweet! I thought. This will be really easy.
The phone automatically put in a space and waited for the next instruction. I started typing the word “have.”
“H-a-” so far so good. But then it spit out a “t” giving me “hat.” It automatically gave me a space and moved on to the next word. I hit “clear” and tried again. “H-a-” and again with the “t”. By this time it was beeping and flashing and I decided, “Okay, I’ll go with ‘hat.’ ”
“Hat fun” is almost “have fun.” Abby’s a smart girl. She’ll figure it out.
On to the next word. I hit the “3” key three times trying to get to the “f.” But the phone thought I was asking for three letters from the “3” key. So it selected “fee—“ which led it naturally to the word “feet.” Again, I cleared out the word and tried again. Hitting “3-3-3” gave me “feet.”
I began to giggle.
Then, sitting alone in my parked car, I started to laugh. I hit send.
“Hi. Hat feet.”
Abby deftly replied, “Hat feet?”
Laughing harder, I abandoned texting and called Abby.
“Hello?” she answered.
By that time I was laughing uncontrollably, tears rolling down my face.
Then Abby started to laugh, too.
I still don’t text well or often. But one thing is certain—I now have a whole new way to hat feet.