Friday, July 9, 2010

The Trouble with Texting

I should give up texting altogether.

I trust you remember the “hat feet” fiasco. (If not, read the blog post from September 17, 2009.) Since that experience I have learned how to form coherent sentences when texting, complete with proper punctuation. Just when I thought I’d mastered the whole texting thing, I got a phone call from a Colorado Springs homicide detective.

Let me explain. This week, my 19-year-old daughter, Abby, has been taking care of some friends' cats and zucchini while said friends are out of town. I should just trust that said 19-year-old is on top of things, but I’m a mother, and sometimes I don’t do so well with the whole “keep-your-nose-out-of-it” thing.

I was a little worried that our friends would come home to feline fatalities, so before settling in at the office one morning I sent Abby a friendly—okay, motherly—little text: Did you feed the cats yesterday?

Everything was spelled correctly; it was a full sentence, proper capitalization and punctuation—good to go. I went to select Abby’s phone number. There were two very similar numbers in my “recently used” list. At one time in the past I misdialed her number and now both numbers are saved on my phone. Was Abby’s number xx7-xxxx or xx9-xxxx? I know I’ve selected the wrong one a few times. I held my breath and selected xx9-xxxx.


A few minutes later I got a call on my cell phone. The phone number on the display screen was a little odd. It wasn’t a standard seven-digit number. Maybe it’s the phone company, I told myself and answered it.

“Hello?” I said.

"Hello. Is this 5xx-xxxx?” a deep voice asked, reciting my phone number precisely.


“This is Detective Howard with the Colorado Springs Police Department.”

My mind raced. Eric is on a camping trip—did something happen? Did someone break into the house? Has my car been stolen?

“Yes . . .” I responded tentatively.

“My phone number is xx9-xxxx. I’ve been receiving some unusual texts from this number. Can you explain this?”

Flooded with both relief and embarrassment, I began to babble. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Your phone number is one digit different than my daughter’s. I texted your number by mistake. I had both numbers on my list and I wasn't sure if she was 7 or 9 and I chose 9 when I should have chosen 7. It will never happen again. I'm so sorry—”

Officer Howard chuckled. “Oh, that’s a relief. I’ve been known to get harassing calls from people I’ve worked with as a homicide detective. I’ve had to change my number more than once.”

“I’m so sorry,” I continued, my heart beat back to normal. “I’ll be more careful.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. Now that I know it’s not a disgruntled citizen it’s okay. Text away.”

Feeling comfortable with the friendly homicide detective I asked, “So, did you feed the cats yesterday?”

Anyway, like I said, I should just give up texting altogether. Or at least be sure of my phone numbers. In the future I’ll be sure to use xx7-xxxx. Or is it xx9?