I started texting in 2005 in self defense. It was the way I could communicate with my son. Few of my contemporaries used texting. I frowned in dismay when my friend Vannessa, a few years older than Jack, said that she texted and drove. She said that she would rather have unlimited texts than talk. That was a sentiment echoed by Jack and Nina. I didn’t see it. Not then.
I found that Jack would respond to texts when he might not answer a phone call. I probably made his eyeballs bleed with my texts when I was angry with him. (“Where are you? It’s midnight.”) “bcnu l8” (“Seriously. Do you realize that it’s NOW 1:00? Where are you?) “l8r.” (“JOHN. DAVID. RUSSO.”) “arnd th crnr” (“YOU ARE NOT AROUND THE CORNER IN THIS TOWN. THAT WAS AN HOUR AGO. IT IS 2:00. I AM GOING TO START CALLING HOSPITALS.”) :-& Front door opens. “Taadaaaa! I was around the corner in Corpus!”
I text like I write my blogs and that is with full punctuation and relatively correct spelling. There’s a reason for that. I think my mother was enlisted by the Punctuation Police to keep the written English language pure in the Coleman family. Neither of my sisters is good at text-isms or not so I’ve noticed. My kids and grandkids are much better at it than we are.
My phone is a cheap LG T-Mobile phone. I am hard on phones. I’ve dropped them into wastewater manholes (much worse than the toilet) and driven my car over them. It does not make sense to carry something that costs more than my computer. I didn’t start using predictive text until last week. Til then, I did tap B tap–tap l a tap-tap c tap k tap tap c a t. Georgie borrowed my phone to text Jonathan and ended up throwing the phone across the room. “Why on earth wouldn’t you get a phone with a keyboard? This is horrible!” she said, laughing.
Now, I’m getting clever at using what my phone calls T-9. It allows words to be entered by a single keypress for each letter as opposed to the multi-tap approach in which several letters are associated with each key and selecting one letter often takes several taps on the key. I am a recovering multi-tapper.
T-9 is just one of the patented predictive text programs for messaging. The most widely used predictive text systems are T-9 (Tegic), iTap (Motorola), and LetterWise/WordWise (Eatoni). T9 and iTap use dictionaries, but Eatoni Ergonomics’ products uses a process to recreate words from keystroke sequences. All texting systems require a language database for every supported input language. And all this is on my cheap cell phone (at least for English, Spanish and French).
I started using predictive text partly because I like learning different ways to do things to test my possible onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Our dad died from that disease and I live in fear that I will inherit it. I am pretty sure I don’t have it today, but I probably won’t know it until I’m wearing my bra as ear muffs. Then, I’ll just think that’s normal and you guys will know I’ve got it.
There’s a genetic test that determines the propensity for Alzheimer’s disease but it isn’t a sure thing and I don’t want to find out I could maybe, possibly get sick with it at some indeterminate date in the near or far future.
I like doing things my way. I memorize lists of phone numbers, poetry, and devise different ways to do repetative tasks in an effort to stave off or identify the disease in my brain. It isn’t fool-proof but it is more interesting. No more multi-tapping for me. Maybe I’ll try to learn more text-isms. And since I work in an office where English is a second language for everybody but me, I might try learning some Spanish text-isms.
So for the Spanish speakers (mostly Savanna) in my life: a2 y b7s 😉