look ma, im txtng!!!

14 Apr

Until yesterday, I had never texted in my life.  EVER.  What happened was, when the texting craze came on I was on a budget, so I wasn’t eager to add more features to my calling plan.  Plus, I am a H-U-G-E email addict and I thought texting would just be another technological time-suck to get pulled into for hours, days, years even in a way that kind of feels like human interaction but, in reality, is really somewhat anti-social and pretty much destroys one’s ability to be present to/with others/one’s surrounding environment for any length of time.  Like, how annoying is it to be trying to talk to someone in reality, while they are simultaneously buried in their phone, consumed with texting someone else?  SO ANNOYING!  I so didn’t want to be that consumed texting person, so not only did I not have a texting plan, I had a block on texts, and that was that.

Sure, there were moments when I wished I texted.  I always thought texting would vastly improve my dating life.  My friends always seemed to be getting sweet, cute or sexy, dirty texts from the guys they were dating.  Maybe I would be more date-able if I texted?  Texting is certainly less intimidating and less vulnerable of a form of communication than phone calls or emails, and I wondered if I was missing out on some population of men who would want to text me yet weren’t ready for a full-on phone call.

In the beginning phases of a relationship, those sweet,cute/sexy,dirty reminders that my guy was thinking of me via text would make me giddy, I thought.  There was one guy I dated who tried to text me something to the effect of “I had a great time last night” or “I’m thinking of you” the day after our first kiss, but I never got it so he had to tell me about it, and although it was nice to hear, it lost some of its impact in the translation, and having to discuss it, “No I didn’t get it, I don’t text.  No, I’ve never texted.  Ever.  What did it say?”…

And then there were the guys that said, “I was going to text you, but then I remembered.  You don’t text.”  What was I missing out on????

Everyone wanted to be the first person to text me, the one to prove me wrong, that I could receive texts, to be the one to pop my texting cherry.  On a blind date with a guy a few years ago, he was in total disbelief that I couldn’t text.  Like, really, he didn’t believe me.  He was sitting across from me at this teeny-tiny cocktail table at a bar all:  “OK, I’m going to text you now and then let’s look at your phone and see it.”  And I was all:  “Wow, what a fun game,” totally knowing how it would turn out.  So he texted me, and I took out my phone and stared at it and…nothing.  He stared at it and…nothing.  Then he showed me what he had texted me:  “Tell me about ur parents.”  Which was like, super-annoying, because pre-let’s-prove-that-you-can-get-texts-game he was grilling me about my parents to try to ascertain, I imagine, how well/mal-adjusted or just totally fucked up I was to further ascertain, I imagine, if I was a suitable dating/mating partner.  And since he’s not my therapist and I don’t enjoy being interrogated and analyzed on a first date, I was trying to politely avoid his somewhat offensive line of questioning when he bombarded me with exactly that same line of questioning via text (which I never got by the way, because I CAN’T TEXT ON MY PHONE!). 

Anyway, it’s 2008, and I finally had to concede that texting is the way of the future.  And there were signs along the way that I needed to hop on board.  At one point I was enjoying coffee and a fresh-baked muffin at a bakery with a friend when we noticed a 5-year-old (approx.) busy texting a few tables away, and my friend looked up at me with serious eyes and a grave expression and said:  “Jen, he’s FIVE.”  Then I found out that my Dad and sister text each other and I didn’t want to be left out of any family bonding via text. 

So last week, after having my eye on one of those texting phones from Verizon that flip open one way for phone use and the other wayfor full-out keyboard text-ability (if I was going to enter the World of Txtng I wanted to give myself every advantage) since December when I was at a bar with someone who had this cool phone and all these boys were texting her about where we were all meeting up and no boys were texting me because I couldn’t text, and I was drooling over her phone and envious of all of her incoming messages from so many guys that she couldn’t even identify all of their numbers, I finally took the plunge and ordered it last week and upgraded my phone plan to include texting (a Verizon rep asked me if I wanted to go for Unlimited texting but I thought that was excessive since I’ve never even sent A text, so I decided on unlimited IN texts and 500 out of network).

My phone arrived at my desk 5:35pm on Friday mere moments before I left work(actually, I saw the FedEx guy roll a cart past my cube and down the hall and I accosted him with “I THINK THERE’S SOMETHING IN THERE FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!”) and I was so excited that I would have my new phone to play with for the weekend, and galloped up and down the aisle booming the announcement of my soon-to-be textability to all my co-workers.  I created more buzz by spreading the word amongst my friends that I would soon be texting (although they had heard this proclamation before, but this time, I meant it), and after being intimidated by the Verizon box staring back at me all weekend, by Sunday night I was ready to conquer my fears.  Fears of the unknown, and of change…I have had the same phone for four years and all the features I ever need to use are second nature.  I was afraid to leave this security blanket behind, and be faced with needing a feature and not knowing where to find it.  I was afraid of the possibility of texting addiction, and of the anti-social implications – what if I get so into texting I never actually speak to anyone ever again? 

I called Verizon Customer Service, and the great thing is, the Customer Service Reps tell you their names and give you their direct extensions so if you connect with a certain rep who is very familiar with your “issue,” you can call them back!  Directly!  After brief, preliminary conversations with Ratisha and Heidi (who were both quite helpful) in the afternoon to gather some preliminary information and work up my nerve, I was finally ready to activate my new phone, and when I called again on Sunday evening, I got Brian.  The first thing I had to do was upload my contacts from my old phone, and I had this irrational fear of doing something in the wrong order and losing all my contacts and having to send that mass email to all my friends:  “I lost my contacts in my cell phone, please email me your cell phone number or we will never be able to speak again!” 

Brian talked me down and talked me through the uploading contacts process and then told me he would call me back in 15 minutes to check on me and make sure it all went OK, which I loved because I need accountability because sometimes I lack follow-through, so I felt comforted that Brian was there to make sure I didn’t abandon this cell phone project mid-way in favor of doing the dishes or shuffling papers around.  But he didn’t have to call me because I expertly uploaded my contacts and called HIM back in FIVE minutes!  Then I was supposed to call a different number to activate my phone, but Brian just conferenced me in to that activation number and stayed on the phone in case I had any questions.  Which I did when the automated voice stated my order number.  “Brian, that’s not the same as my order number!  My order number has some extra digits on the end.  What should I do?”  He paused the automated activation doo-dad and said calmly, “That’s OK, it’s the same thing, you can go ahead.”

The next step was turning on my new phone which I tried to do but nothing happened.  I panicked!  Brian told me to put the battery in.  I complied.  Still nothing!  He told me to plug in the charger, and my phone started going crazy, the screen flickering on and off like a strobe light.  What should I do???  He told me to wait for a few minutes, and as I stared at my phone alarmed, so close to texting yet so far away, I filled the space with nervous chatter and during which time Brian and I also shared a few laughs, and then he said, “It may take some time to charge, give it an hour and then call me back.”

I waited for an hour and a half to be on the safe side, but the weird strobe-light situation was still the same, and nothing happened when I pressed the power button.  “OK,” Brian said calmly, “we’re just going to trouble-shoot here.”  He had repeatedly asked me about the battery in our prior call and he said, “I don’t want to sound condescending, but are you sure the battery is in right?”  I had previously repeatedly responded, “Yes, it’s in and it fit so I don’t think it would snap in like that if it wasn’t in right,” but I decided to humor him this time and check again.  “In retrospect,” I responded, “I see that I put the battery in backwards.”  After a little prying (it was snapped/wedged in VERY tightly) I popped out the battery and turned it around relieved, “This is going to work so much better now!” I assured Brian.

After hours of back-and-forth phone calls, I felt bonded with Brian, but for a twinge of sadness, I was ready to say goodbye.  I was ready to get busy texting on my new phone.  I was ready to hear the affirming beep/bling signifying that I had a new message, that I had friends, that I am loved.  I was ready to learn all the nuances of a new phone, I was ready for change, I was ready for the unknown, I was ready for the discomfort and the growing pains, I was ready to learn new texting shorthand, I was ready for the liberation of not having to capitalize or punctuate, I was ready for dating and for cute, sweet/sexy, dirty texts from new men who wouldn’t grill me about my parents on a first date, I was ready for new beginnings, I was ready for unlimited possibilities, I was ready for it all.

Right before I put my old phone to sleep, Verizon removed the texting block, so the last thing my ex-phone ever did was receive a text from my friend that said, in part, “How’s texting” and the first thing I did on my new phone was send her a reply text back that said, in part, “This is my first text evah!” and then, “I heart texting!”

My text-able phone is activated, my old contacts have been successfully downloaded onto my new phone, I heart texting, and I am ready for it all.  This is so gr8!!!

Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Garam

2 Responses to “look ma, im txtng!!!”

  1. tt April 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    Dude, you totally inspired me to YES txt my husband for the very first time. It was like the Sistine chapel, with God reaching out to mankind. Me: “Can u get txt message? x0 ur honey (wife)” Him: “Yes” ….We’re steppin’ into the 90s folks…


  1. Texting: A Status Update « One Writeous Chick - April 23, 2008

    […] Filed under: Technology Addiction, Texting — Jennifer Garam @ 9:27 pm So, I’ve been texting for a little over a week now, and I thought it was time to check back in with a status update.  I think it is safe to say at […]

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