Friday, May 02, 2008
Bumblin', Stumblin', and Fumblin'
John sends his first text message.
It started out as a moment of insanity, an idea how to make Lovely Wife laugh.
I've been married 23 years, but it still means something to me to be able to get her to laugh. We haven't quite reached the Milburn and Mildred Drysdale stage of marriage where we barely tolerate each other, and in fact STILL enjoy each other's company. (M&M Drysdale were the Beverly Hillbillies' next door neighbors for you young whipper-snappers.)
But a moment of insanity turned into thirty minutes of gritty determination and a fight for survival on my part.
Lovely Wife twisted her ankle and I wanted to send a clever text message, in perfect English, and then act as if I messed up and then retyped the message as the younguns do. You know, like, "waz up RU gon 2 thu prty tnite" as if THAT was how a text message should be written.
To give you a basic picture, I truly had never, ever sent, or even attempted to send a text message with my cell phone before.
So, first, being a guy who believes in reading the instruction book, I look it up on the internet. I have the most basic bar phone without a camera that AT&T offers. It is a Nokia 2610.
I read for a few minutes and then spend a full ten minutes trying to adapt what the manual I looked up says versus what options and commands are actually on my phone. I almost decided to take up cussing again, but held firm, though dangits and darnits were flying. Plus, a few bad vibes sent out to the writer of the Nokia cell phone manual for not getting the commands exactly right, making what should be a relatively easy task much harder.
Eventually I slogged my way through learning to type a text message using a numeric key pad, and learned something along the way... NO STINKIN' WONDER EVERYBODY WANTS A DANG BLACKBERRY WITH A "QWERTY" KEYBOARD ON IT!
I'm a fairly patient man, maybe even a little too proud of my reputation for cool-headed-ness, but let me tell you, I also learned why the whipper-snappers type their text messages in almost unreadable code: Typing text with a numeric keypad is asinine under the best of conditions.
Note, I had no time limit except a self-imposed one to try to get the message typed and sent successfully during one of my evening Non-smoke breaks. (That's when I take a break the same time as the smokers at work, only I don't smoke.)
So as I FINALLY finished my typing, and my co-workers were filing back in, I was a jumpy, twitchy, nut case about to have a nervous breakdown.
It was almost as bad as the first time I went grocery shopping for the whole family and was totally intimidated and almost reduced to tears by the veteran women in the grocery store. They spotted this newbie man shopper a mile away and bumped my buggy and generally harassed me until I finally got mad and gritted my teeth and finished the shopping with grim resolve. It was either finish or curl up in a whimpering ball on the toilet paper aisle.
But that's another horror story.
What I ended up typing and sending was something like this: " Lovely Wife, this is my first ever text message. How is your ankle? Love, John Ooops I gess I shd say wuz up hz UR Nkl xxxooo" (Though actually, I used her name)
That's all I wanted to do. Type in something simple, hopefully cute or funny enough to make her laugh.
Then, when it was finally over, I went to close the .pdf file of the Nokia phone's instructions and realized that I had pulled up the instruction manual for the Nokia 6030 that Cell Phone Thief stole from me a few weeks ago. That's why the instructions were off between what the manual said and the options my phone actually offered.
Just for fun, I pulled up the Nokia 2610 manual, and not only were the instructions dead-on accurate, they were written much clearer and easier to understand than the other manual. Grrrrr.
But noooooo, I ened up wrestling with the electronic equivalent of a 12 foot python and at the very least shaved a full year off of my life expectancy.
I can troubleshoot and repair electronic cards, each of which cost 3x my yearly salary, without getting too stressed, but trying to send my first stupid email sends me teetering on the very brink of sanity.
Need me to design you a digital circuit card? No problem. I'm all over that.
But DO NOT ask me to text message again.
The world is truly upside down.
I'm going back to calling and leaving her voice mails from now on. That's a slam dunk, and only takes about 45 seconds total.
Sending a text message was, in an analogy, roughly equal to wanting to make a run through the drive through of Taco Bell for one (or two) of their ultra-tasty Caramel Apple Empanadas, but instead of taking the Camry, I decide to instead hitch up the horses and take my Conestoga wagon, a la The Oregon Trail, and take the wagon to Taco Bell.
It's truly much less efficient as a way of communication.
If that means I'm now officially an old fart, then so be it.