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Emily Morrison Emily Morrison
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Text me, maybe'

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Today, on an old fashioned land-line, my mother said to me, 'Do you know anything about this texting thing?' Preparing for a spiritual retreat, she anticipated being out of contact for a few days and wondered if texting could bridge the distance.

Unsure what she meant by 'this texting thing,' I asked her to clarify. 'Are you talking about using your cell phone to send a text message?' The ludicrousness of my expert position was not lost on me. Years ago, I posed this same question to my cell phone savvy students. I'm sure they found my texting trouble as laughable as I now found my mother's naivete.

'Well, I don't know what I mean. Can you send a text message on your computer?' she asked.

'Those are called emails, Ma. You mean, can you type a message into your cell phone when you don't have a computer around, right?' Lord, am I really explaining the difference between texts and emails to my mother? Lesser minds might not be up to the challenge, so I braced my lesser mind for the complex conversation sure to follow.

'Yes, that's what I want to know! Can you type something into your phone and send it to someone else's computer?' She sounded excited, as if this new age of technology might be within her grasp after all.

'OK, hold the cell phone,' I said. 'You can send a text message to someone's email address, but you probably don't want to do that. You're talking about sending a message from your cell phone to someone else's cell, right?'

'Does that cost extra?' she asked. Though she spends vast sums of money on an endless supply of clothing, treats and toys for her grandchildren, my mother will not spend a dime on 'frills' for herself: texts, socks without holes, exercise equipment, etc,.

'No, it's all part of your cell phone plan, assuming you have free texting. You may need to check with your provider to see if texting is included in your monthly plan,' I told her.

'OK, I've got it,' she said. 'Now, how do I type a message on my cell phone using just the numbers?'

At this point, I realized some messages cannot be communicated via telephone, cell phone or text. We would need to spend some good old face time (since neither of us belong to the book of faces) talking about the letters beneath the numbers, setting up contact lists and using texting lingo. I offered to give her a texting tutorial when next we met.

'David, she's going to show us how to text!' she yelled to my father. Happy hand clapping and adjective shouting - 'Excellent!' 'Awesome!' 'Great!' - filtered through the phone line.

As we were hanging up I told my mom, 'This is too funny. You realize I'm going to have to write about this. I'll send you a copy before it goes to print.'

'Oh, go ahead dear. I think people in my generation will really relate. In fact, why don't you text it to me?'

Here's your text, Ma: Ttyl.


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