GW to KG – Wassup?!

It seems only fitting after sharing some of Jane’s recent writing, that I should share some of Daryl’s. Eighth grade history with a bit of a flair! Here is his vision of how a conversation might have taken place between George Washington and King George during the Revolutionary War. If they had had cell phones. And if they talked smack like the average middle schooler.

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Some translations for those of you not hip enough to digest this with full understanding:

KG: King George
finna: fixing to
W: win
LMAO: laugh my ass off (you knew this one surely… right?)
boi: said expressively to indicate the other did or said something stupid
brb: be right back
tryna: trying to
rn: right now
aiight: all right?!
foo: fool
WTH: what the hell (guessing you knew this one too…)

I’ll close with a couple of observations.

George Washington probably should have charged his phone before he tried to cross the Delaware. No way 53% is going to get him through the day – especially that cold outside.

And it’s no wonder England lost. What with the King texting his plans to the enemy and all.

 

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Hello? It’s me. You know, your mom?

This is what I typically see when I look at my conversation history with my 13 year old son. Sometimes it feels really lonely. Like I’m talking to myself. I know he has a phone because his nose is in it much of the time we are together. So what happens to it while we are apart? Strange, I tell ya. Maybe I should ask him about it…

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Riiighttt…

I saw something on Facebook the other day that really excited me. It was a trailer for the upcoming Pixar movie Finding Dory. It hadn’t entered my mind that they might do a movie focused on her, but as soon as I saw it, I thought, Perfect! Of course! She was the best character in that movie!

I never say “Let’s keep at it” or “Keep on truckin'” or “Keep on keepin’ on.” Nope. If I need to comment on the need to just keep after something, I start singing:

Just keep swimming,

Just keep swimming,

Swimming, swimming,

Just keep swimming…

Every. Single. Time. Dory has, in her own special way, stayed with me more than any other movie character. Needless to say, I was excited. Everyone had already left for school though. I had no one to share the moment with. So I decided to send my daughter a text.

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I expected something along the lines of “Omg! That’s so awesome! I can’t wait!” I imagined her telling the rest of the family and the car literally rocking from people’s excitement.

Instead I got this:

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Well, at least I got the “omg” part right. I responded:

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But she was already in the process of typing something else, which came in just ahead of mine. Which means the conversation ended up looking something like this:

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Which, of course, looked kind of bad. I decided to respond to her second comment with sarcasm. But she got another comment in first again and I ended up looking considerably more sarcastic than I planned…dory4

I decided it was time to explain.

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But no way my daughter was going to let me off easy.

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All in all, I think teenagers spend way too much time communicating via text instead of in person or on a phone. That said, I’ve really enjoyed my literary sparring with my daughter over the last year or so.

Grammar Geek Leisure Time

I recently wrote about my communication habits and in that post, I told you about a friend that always emails me about any mistakes he sees in my blog posts. Well, not three days later, after posting this book review, I received an email:

One that morphs into a bid of an author review.

Is that what you meant to say? Or bit?

What amused me that night was that his email was not the first communication I had received about that post. I had not reviewed it as thoroughly as I normally do, in part because it was insanely long and in part because we were very busy that night and spending 20 minutes reading it over carefully would have resulted in some sharp words from my spouse.

The true amusement came in the late night text message conversation with my sister-in-law that began with her pointing out a different mistake.

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When I read the conversation to my husband this morning, giggling uncontrollably when I got to the part where I corrected her “parentheses” to “parenthesis”, my husband snuggled in closer and said dryly, “Oh, Grammar Geeks’ leisure time is just so fun to witness.”

He may not understand, but being able to tease another smart person (and superb writer) about her grammar or spelling, that’s just fun any way you slice it. And when we can both laugh and tease each other, all the better.

At Least She’s Not Texting

I heard the oddest sound coming out of Jane’s room this evening. It was like nothing I had ever heard from there before. I heard her talking. And laughing. And pausing while (presumably) someone else spoke. She was talking on the phone.

I was more than a little surprised. And pleased. This may sound very strange to the generations ahead of me. You spent your time yelling to your teenager to get off the phone. You probably followed the cord around a corner into some secluded area of the house so you could pantomime your desire for them to terminate the phone call.

I’ve been dying for my daughter to talk on the phone. All she does is text. Text. Text. Text. And more Text.

Hey. Are you mad at me?
No. I’m just always in a bad mood.
Why? Is it because of me?
No. I don’t know why. I just am.
So will you talk to me in the halls now?
I guess so.
Am I still one of your best guy friends?
Yes. I only have three.

“Why don’t you tell him you are at dinner and you’ll call him later?” I asked when this important “conversation” was taking place at the restaurant during her birthday dinner.

*eye roll* “Just… Never mind… It’s his mom’s phone anyway… He borrowed it.”

So tonight, when I heard her talking, I did a little happy dance. I paused outside her door to listen. My husband happened to be coming down the hall too so stopped. He reached to open the door.

I grabbed his arm and quietly motioned for him not to. He scrunched his face in confusion. She’s talking! Talking on the phone! Can you believe it?! I mouthed and gestured my excitement.

“Are you sure?” he whispered.

I nodded emphatically, my eyes twinkling with excitement.

“Are you sure it’s not FaceTime?” he asked.

I stopped. Surely not. I reached for the door and poked my head in. She was holding her just-purchased iPod Touch out in front of her. The friend appeared to be on speaker phone. Jane motioned me out of the room. Instead, I stepped in further until I spied the moving image of one of her best friends on the screen.

I sighed. And left the room. And nodded to my husband, who grinned a self-satisfied smile. Oh, well. It’s still better than texting.

Taking the Time to Write

I caught the tail end of a story on NPR about an old Story Corps interview between a married couple, reflecting on their life together. I gathered the man had written a letter to his wife every day and was now reaching the end of his life, whether from old age, illness, or both, I do not know. That interview had aired on the radio the day he died seven years ago.

The story I was listening to was in response to numerous letters Story Corps had received asking how the woman was doing now, so they got in touch with her. What struck me, beyond the obvious love and affection between them and her response to his death, was her statement that she had received over 1400 letters of condolence. She had even received letters from China and France! And since her husband had written her a letter a day, she chose to read those letters one a day. That means those (mostly) anonymous well-wishers supported her for nearly four years.

I was impressed. What had inspired those people to take time to write to this woman they did not know? I can’t even find the discipline to write Thank You letters to people who have given me something or done something kind for me. And what a difference those letters made! Tears came to my eyes as I pondered it.

And then I thought of Jane. While cleaning her room a couple of months ago, she came across a card from one of my grandmothers. In it, Grandma had requested, as she always does, that Jane write to her. Now, this woman is very reliable with important events. She will never forget your birthday or anniversary and she will always send you a card. It is a priority for her and she expects the same from others.

And she is almost always disappointed. She has typically been a very unhappy woman. She has not been satisfied with the amount of contact she has with her family, both those of us far away and those living close to home. A phone call would typically involve complaints about how you don’t call more often and no one else talks to her either. Being reflexively resistant to guilt trips, this made me less interested in calling her. Writing seemed out of the question. Who has time for that? I wrote once, and that letter was typed, so that I could communicate more information more quickly.

So if I had seen the card that Jane found, I would have rolled my eyes and moved on. But that’s not what Jane did. She pulled out a pen and paper. I didn’t know what she was doing that day. I just saw that she was spending a tremendous amount of time curled up in the recliner writing. I assumed she was writing a story.

But then she asked me a question and when I prodded her on why she was asking, she told me she was writing to her great grandmother. I think the letter ended up being two sheets of paper, front and back. I called my mom for the address and we actually got it in the mail.

A response letter arrived about a week later. Jane smiled and laughed as she read it. And then she pulled out another piece of paper and began to write again. It probably took her a week or longer to get it finished and in the mail, but she did.

I learned from my mom that Grandma recently started taking a medication that appears to have improved her mood. She was so excited to get the letter from Jane. She expressed her hope that Jane would write back. My mom hesitated. She knows how impulsive teenagers can be. What are the odds of Jane continuing a pen pal relationship with her great grandmother? She cautioned Grandma about how busy we are and how kids really don’t write anymore. “I know,” Grandma said, “they text now.”

But Jane did write back. And if there is one thing I can depend on, it’s that Grandma will write back too. The article on the radio today made me see just how important it is. And not just for older people who remember letter writing as a primary form of communication. Young people enjoy getting mail too. I think she’s hooked. And I’m glad she’s forging this relationship with her great grandmother. And I think she just might be having an effect on me. Maybe I could take the time to write a hand-written letter to Grandma too.

When The Kids Are Away, The Parents Will Play

The kids are away from home this week and we are making the most of it. We had a great time at a wine tasting party last night. Today, we made plans for the movies.

Checking up on the kids while they are away has always felt like a chore. They sound very shy and not that interested in being on the phone. The conversations go something like this: “Hi, sweetheart!”…”Hi mommy.”…”Are you having fun?”…”Yes.”…”What have you been doing?”…”We went to the zoo.”…”That sounds like fun! What did you see?”…”Animals.”

This time, however, Jane has a cell phone. I decided to take a texting approach. The result was a lot more fun. Many of these messages passed each other, which means like many texting conversations, we were often answering each other out of order. I’ve included the timestamps and rearranged them a little bit so it will make more sense.

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Later, I wanted to rub it in that I had been to the movies – a rare treat for me.

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That last bit was a reference to a movie date we were supposed to have months ago. Thanks to the power of texting, I went from date to chauffeur with alarming speed. First she gained permission for a friend to accompany us. Then it grew to three or four girls and mom was no longer welcomed to tag along.

The next bit of the conversation saw me go down in auto-correct flames as I was trying to send the texts quickly in order to keep up with her.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with my daughter. It spread out across the day and was fun. Her possession of a cell phone is perhaps not all bad.