Monday, February 2, 2009

Electronically Challenged

February 2, 2009

Saturday afternoon the odd little bell-chime sounded telling me I had a text message on what I laughingly call my cell phone. Averse to the world of touchtone maps, cameras, video games, iTunes and Internet access, a year ago I purchased a phone that only received and sent phone calls. I thought.

When my brother went into the hospital in Houston for bypass surgery, his wife, who is also my friend, kept sending me text messages, which hopelessly I could not for the life of me figure out how to respond to. I left messages on her answering machine, "Do not send me text messages. I don't know how to receive or send them." Trapped in the hospital lobby with nothing to do, she kept sending them anyway.

Then when I moved to the new apartment, I had to find a tenant in order to get out of my lease. The tenant was in her early 20's, not allowed to make phone calls at work, so she texted me the details of the move. She even showed me the basics of how to use the text feature of my phone. I kinda wish she hadn't, but never mind. We all have to go along with this stuff to some degree.

So when I heard the bell tune on my phone I knew what it was, and with a vague sense of dread check it out. It said, "Hey, I got your number from a friend of mine, but I bet you can't guess who I am! My username's gizmo 398, if you"

It stopped there.

Then it rang again. The message continued "wanna come see if you recognize me online, at gizmo 398..." and gave a web address. With some struggle I replied "I dnot think so." Of course I was trying to say "I don't think so," but my phone didn't want to get it right. Only if you've tried to send a text message will you understand why it came out that way. Finally, I decided to send it with the error since any fool could figure out that "dnot" is "don't" written by a text-illiterate.

However, I admit I was intrigued. I felt like a total fuddy-duddy expecting anybody who had my number simply to call me to talk. If it were somebody who wanted to meet me, I reckoned, why would the person not simply begin by calling me on the phone, telling me who the mutual friend was, and we could arrange a time and place to meet and have an actual talk. Also, being someone called gizmo 398, this did not sound like a person I was going to have a meaningful relationship with. Call me rigid. Call me frigid. But don't call me, gizmo.

I went to the web address and discovered it was one of those "make a friend" type sites for which you have to register all your personal data even to get on. I did not want these creeps to have my personal data. If they want to know about me, they can read my blog, on which I lay bare my quirks, foibles, and even my age. I've gotten three invitations to join Facebook in the last month, and I always pass.

I wonder who gizmo is. But I'll bet whoever it was had reached the wrong cell phone.


steve said...

seems like you oughta be able to disable text messaging.

Mary Lois said...

If I weren't electronically challenged, maybe I could.

Jerry Andersen said...

Does this mean there are 397 other Gizmos? Maybe he (she) is textually challenged as well and meant to type Gitmo. You don't want to go there.

sinjap said...

with all these forms of communication available to us you'd think as a society we'd be closer, more connected...nope!

Nan said...

those things do happen, but on the whole I love texting. Sometimes it is just the perfect way to communicate. You don't really wanna talk, you just want to say or ask one thing. If I knew your # I'd text you Mary Lois and say, hey how's the weather in Hoboken! :<)