Text messaging is all the rage these days. Parents of kids with cell phones will tell you that their bills reflect thousands of text messages sent and received, but hardly any talk time. I can’t figure out how to get my kids to talk with me on the phone; they neither answer my calls nor return my voicemails. But they are usually very quick to respond to a text message; even during school hours when they shouldn’t have their devices turned on.
My most recent relationship experience consisted mostly of communication by text message. This lady was about twelve years my junior and evidently preferred texting to talking. This suited me quite well as I have long preferred email to phone calls since they are less intrusive. If the matter is not urgent, and most aren’t, then a recipient of an email can reply at his or her convenience. When a phone call arrives and you are busy and cannot answer it is often perceived by the caller as rude that you don’t answer. The truth is that the call might come while you are at work, in a meeting, on another call, in the rest room, dressing, swimming, out of earshot of phone, brushing your teeth, in the shower, have your hands in dishwater, be carrying a tray of drinks or some other activity that prevents an immediate answer. Unfortunately the caller cannot see why you didn’t answer and in the case of the female caller, this will often spur her imagination to kick into turbo mode as she obsesses about the possible reasons you are ignoring her call.
Thankfully this was not the case with my last relationship. She hardly ever called without first texting to see if it was alright to call. I admit that I rather liked that. So I do text more these days, but still do not know the lingo used by the kids. I haven’t tried to learn it either. This means my messages tend to be rather long as I don’t much abbreviate. In fact, I still use all punctuation, apostrophes and capital letters for names and new sentences. Yes, you can tell me that my way is inefficient and I wouldn’t try to argue, but I would insist that my method, while slower and more tedious, does result in less confusion over meaning. At least that’s the usual case.
Like many people, I tend to utilize a number of different devices and change my primary mobile phone frequently. This means that I have to learn new keyboard layouts, new tricks for making capitals, switching between letters and numbers and how to insert special characters.
It seems many devices come with a default setting for auto-correcting text. This may be appreciated by many, but I don’t like it at all. I find it extremely annoying that this mini-computer wants to attempt to guess what I’m going to write. Even more frustrating is when it changes a word after you have typed it because it ‘thinks’ you meant to say something else. This can even get beyond annoying when the device auto-corrects something so critically important as to change the tone or context of the message.
So being innocent me, I sent a message to this girl I was seeing and included her name in the message for emphasize. But my cellular phone had its devious little way with my message and proved that auto-correct is not my friend. When Angelica responded with an outrageous accusation in all capital letters I was confounded. What the hell was she doing?
So my response was a request for simple clarification: “Who are you talking about?” Angelica responded that she had suspected for a while that I was cheating on her.
“What?” was all I could muster in response. I then added “Give me a call when you figure out what’s going on so you can explain it to me.”
“It’s over! DON’T EVER CALL ME AGAIN!” was her final message in all caps.
I sat quietly for a moment; staring at the device and waiting for her inevitable “LOL JK” but it never arrived. So stunned was I by what had happened I looked out my front window to see if she was outside waiting to surprise me with this little act. But she wasn’t there, didn’t show up and never texted me again.
It wasn’t until the following day when I was replaying the full scenario that I went back to review my messages in an effort to understand her weird, extreme reaction.
It took a few minutes because I was initially focusing on her messages, but when I looked at my outgoing texts I saw it. Clear as day and as stinging as acid rain: my Samsung had auto-corrected her name from 'Angelica' to 'Andrea.'