Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Textus Impossibus

Are you a text-er?  Do you text message others?  Do you know how hard it is for me to write those sentences, using nouns as verbs?  How about, Are you a sender of texts?  Do you send text messages to others?  Ah, that's better.  But it only gets worse from here.

I've recently started sending and receiving text messages. Like facebook and blogging, I like the ease with which it connects me to others.  I like sending a text message to my farmer, asking him "where's the beef?" and hearing that he will call the butcher shortly.  Or asking my motherinlaw exactly which April date is my niece's birthday, so I can mark it on the calendar.

I've sent and received text messages before, but only under duress. :)  That is, if I was "roaming" and the text was cheaper than the call.  My extended family of in-laws uses text messaging quite a bit, and I've been bummed to be the last person to find out that a close friend (who is also a relative) had her baby, or other "news" that I missed out on because I was "out of the loop."  This is my own fault, mind you; I've grumbled before, receiving a "you are the best mother to your child/children" award, knowing it cost me 15¢.  Really?  If I'm so worthy, why don't you know whether I have one or more offspring? :D  I still don't know who sent that to me, or how many of us mothers it was sent to, but it still cracks me up.

So, I've now added a whopping $5 to my cell phone bill, and for that I can send and/or receive 250 text messages per month.  Which solves the problem of knowing when someone important is in labor, but has brought up a whole other issue.

can u guess what it is
i cant wait 2 tell u
ready? its sumthin that drives me crazy @ txting


I always thought I was a numbers girl, you know?  Memorizing my bank account numbers, and even my Power Company account number.  But I find that in my old age, I'm getting a little wordy, too (hmm, maybe that's why I have a blog?).  I've been reading poorly-written Christian fiction on my kindle (they were free.  Good thing.) and critiquing them to no end, astonished at the incorrect labeling for real-life things, or the unlikely conversations/plot twists/whatever.  And clichés?  Gag me with a spoon.  Anyways.  About words.  Using text messages is supposed to (I hear) save time and effort, doing away with the pleasantries necessary in a voice conversation, and get your questions answered and details ironed out without interrupting anyone's day.  Much.

But here's the thing.  I happen to believe punctuation is handy, and purposeful!  So I type my text message with appropriate apostrophes, commas, capitals, periods, etc.  I write out "to" and "you" and other things, because I just cannot bring myself to write such purposeful mistakes. Errors, they would be.  BUT - My text messages need to be 160 characters or less, else they become two text messages.  And I'm nothing if not frugal.  So I end up with a problem.. I type out my nice little text message, and realize it's going to be too long.  So I have to back up and use smaller adjectives and fewer qualifiers, or whatever.  If that's not enough, then I have to make errors, changing "to" to "2" and "you to "u" and worse.  It's excruciating.

By the time I'm done writing, rewriting, and un-proofing, I've spent eight minutes on something that would've taken one, had I just dialed the daggum number in the first place!

So - do you send and receive text messages?  Do you use the abbreviated misspellings?  Does it bother you?  Will I ever get comfortable using such things?

**I do not want to be understood as condemning the use of misspelled words in text messages.  It just bothers me to do it.  Like someone who just can't handle clutter on their countertop and constantly cleans it off (gee, now THAT would be a useful neurosis!). :)


CK said...

You're not alone. When I send a text message I try to spell correctly and use proper punctuation. Several of my friends joke about it. I've also called my teenage son after receiving a text message to remind him that I expect those messages to have proper punctuation and spelling.

MamaJ said...

HA!! U R SO FUN-E. I can just c u trying to proof all ur text msgs. I had 2 stop using big words b/c I was using 2 much space. SIGH. What gets me most is the text conversation that goes on and on, and really would be more enjoyable if they'd just CALL ME INSTEAD!! :-)

Monica said...

Don't worry, you'll get used to it. In fact, it may even become your primary mode of communication! =P

And, you are not alone wincing every time someone uses "text speak" for a message that's well under 160 characters. I send and receive a lot of texts, mostly to and from my husband, and I always try to make sure they're grammatically correct. As you described, only if I'm way over the 160 character limit will I make sacrifices - and even then only if there's no alternative way to say it correctly.

EllaJac said...

haha CK! That's funny! I haven't called anyone back yet to inform them of my text message expectations, but my kids aren't of cell-age yet, so you never know! :)

EllaJac said...

Oh Jana! Do they really use "fun-e"? Oh my. that's the same # of digits if they would spell it right.

MamaJ said...

No, I've never seen that, I just wanted it to be as obnoxious as possible, ha! Does your phone have auto-correct? Now THAT is annoying!! hubby's has it and he will start to type a word, and his phone offers suggestions as to which word he is trying to use. It's horrible! I refuse to get a phone with it, unless it can be disabled.