Flashback Friday: A day without teen texting

Posted on July 8th, 2011

A few days ago Junior burst down the stairs like the Texas chainsaw massacre guy was chasing him, with a look of absolute terror on his face and his phone in his hand. Apparently, he had hit his texting limit. His monthly texting limit. Despite the fact that it was the beginning of the month. How would he communicate with his friends? Would they survive the apocolypse? Would they have to (gasp) actually speak to each other?

Clearly this was a crisis that rivaled any in the Middle East. I mean, to have to use your voice for something other than asking your mother if you are supposed to wash your underwear and socks together is, honestly, the recurring nightmare of every teenager. Fortunately for Junior, his limit was an arbitrary one set by having parental controls on his phone (yeah, I roll with rules) and was easy to fix. Within minutes he was back to texting again.

But a year or so ago, this was a completely different story…

You see, a year or so ago, residents of my town suffered a crisis of major proportions. Some idiots cut the fiber optic cable thingies that provide us with the essentials for human life. Yeah, the cable was out. And so were the phones. Even cell phones had no service. And the Internet? Well, it was gone too. It was like living in Amish country. Or time traveling back to 1965. But without the flippy hairdo’s or Jefferson Airplane needing to upgrade to a starship.

Of course, my grandma has always said “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Or maybe she’s always said “get your feet off the couch.” But it doesn’t matter. Because on that day, many of us learned that life without the Internet is still life. Not as interesting perhaps. And frankly, I’m sure it was devastating to some who, because they were not instantly linked to the latest news, did not know until a full day later that Lindsay Lohan had been arrested again. Or maybe gone back to rehab. Or whatever. She was in the news.

But that wasn’t the worst part. I know, I know. You’re probably wondering how it could have gotten worse? I mean, here was a day—nearly 24 whole hours– without any contact with the outside world. No phone. No Internet. No dvr’d “Real Housewives of New York City.” It was like being stuck on Gilligan’s Island, only without Ginger’s fabulous wardrobe, a coconut radio and that cute professor whom I’ve always suspected liked the skipper more than he liked Mary-Ann.

But it could get worse. And it did. And I have to tell you; this is the part that causes the fear and the tears to rise again. Brace yourself. It’s really horrifying.  You should probably sit down before you attempt to read any further.

Our teenagers were unable to text message each other.

I told you to sit down, didn’t I?  Because this is true. And shocking. And possibly truly shocking. Children in the South Valley went an entire day without texting their friends, thus depriving the world of such scintillating conversations as “yo,” yo yourself” and even “u wnt 2 meet after skool + ply PS3?”

Yes, it was THAT shocking. And unfortunately, I have to ask you to remain seated, because it’s about to get a heck of a lot worse.

There were actual rumors that our tweens and teens, unable to survive a full day completely incommunicado with the rest of their peers, did something drastic. They actually used their voices. Yes, they spoke to other people.

Now I’m not talking about the speaking they do to old people, like me or to their teachers. No, they spoke to other tweens and teens. Shocking! Have I mentioned that it was shocking? Because it was. I mean, who would have thought that they still knew how to speak to each other? Frankly, before this day in history I’d thought all ability for them to verbally communicate with members of their own generation had been wiped out.

Certainly I never thought that in my lifetime I’d see an actual tween girl speak out loud to another tween girl. And strangely, it was the most annoying thing ever. First of all, tween and teen girls have a tendency to end every sentence as a question. So when they speak their entire conversation is something like this? And it’s very difficult to understand? Because they don’t speak in full sentences? Or seem to have any use for grammar? Or punctuation? Or basically anything that they have been taught about the English language since the first grade?

And the boys—good Lord. They speak in a weird sort of shorthand that only they understand. When one boy asks another to join him in a rousing game of basketball, the conversation goes like this: Boy 1, “ASFT war?” Boy 2, “Yo!” Seriously, if they didn’t dress up in camo and meet at the abandoned field to play airsoft, would you have known what they were talking about?

But fortunately, the world did not end just because teens had to speak and I couldn’t watch “RHONYC” In fact, the world was put right again by the next morning when the miracle workers at the phone company repaired the fiber optic cable thingies. And once more, the world was at peace.

And it was a heck of a lot more quiet. Well, with the exception of the sweet sounds of fingernails clicking on cell phone keyboards, of course.

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2 Responses to “Flashback Friday: A day without teen texting”

  1. Nicole Jade Says:

    Thank goodness for technology! Play a game of life? Have relay races in the backyard? Bake some cookies? No, that type of stuff is boring, lets play on the ps3 or update our facebook pages with “I’m so bored….” Aw, life as a teenager, such a horrible life without texting! At least it does provide you with a little quiet time. I could so use it with my little ones running and screaming all over the house.


  2. Laurie Says:

    LOL. Once they become teens, you get a lot of quiet time. They are either gone or playing ps3. It kind of rocks, actually :)

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