Color & Control:

Texting tribulations?

Try voice to text. It’s wonderful! Talk and words appear on the little screen

My feet are planted firmly in the 20th century, where I’ve spent most of my life. Still, the technology available today is astounding, and I take advantage of it where I can. But sometimes it defeats me.

Let me backtrack a bit. I have age-related vision problems. Among other things, it interferes with my ability to text on my cellphone, a prime method of communicating these days. I watch my kids’ and grandkids’ thumbs fly over the keyboard. I hunt and peck. I often hit a wrong key, but with my wonky vision I don’t always notice.

“I need bigger letters or smaller fingers,” I texted my grandson. He had a good laugh and forwarded the message to my daughter.  “You wrote ‘need bugger letters or smaller dingers,” she told me, grinning. Ouch. Then my out-of-town son came for a visit. It was the first time we’d seen him in two years, thanks to COVID. “Look Mom.” He pointed to the little microphone icon in the message bar. “Just click that and talk.” Perfect. Little Mike will be my cellphone friend.

But Little Mike turned out to be not so friendly. We were going to my daughter’s house for dinner and I talk-texted, “we’re going to get berries.” 

“Getting buried may be a bit premature,” she texted back. “Maybe you should come to dinner first.” “You have to space your words,” advised my son. “It gets better once it gets to know your voice.”

Well, I wasn’t giving up so I talk texted about a missing pair of black pants. Speaking slowly and distinctly, carefully spacing my words, I explained that the pants were okay but I wanted a pair of black pedal pushers with pockets (which I understand are now called Capris).  

“I feel like I’m reading some strange code,” she responded. “What had I written? I got my magnifier and managed to read my text.  It went like this….“ Okay yeah that’s okay it’s okay but I really would prefer the ones like the white ones where the kind of clock today to put up with your lunch and they have Prophet I do that once to the ones you got now I thought Nathan tonight but I didn’t set out of similar in style to this one are the chutes so good the short sleeve one is very interesting and Brenda see what happened some years it’s okay maybe so that’s just bad daddy I think it’s dying on.” 

And I thought Little Mike and I were going to be such good friends. I was laughing to the point of tears but also feeling thoroughly frustrated. I tried to explain myself again but my daughter’s response was, “I have no idea what you’re saying except I’m pretty sure you called me stupid.”

Another communication disaster. Maybe I should hunt and peck after all. Or just pick up the phone. Didn’t people use to do that?  

Irene Davis is an award-winning writer and online grammar teacher.

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