For better or worse, the old-fashioned telephone conversations I grew up with have gone the way of the twenty-two inch waistline I also grew up with. They’ve been replaced by texting, in my opinion, a slacker way of communicating (sort of like when you don’t “care enough to send the very best”). Though I do text (too much, according to the Goat), I adhere to the dinosaur method, which calls for proper punctuation and every word spelled out in its entirety. If auto-correct thinks it’s smarter than me, I do what any ex-English teacher would do: blast it with a curse worthy of a Shakespearean street character and change it back.
Having grown up with technology, my daughters aren’t as discerning as I am when it comes to the foibles of modern communication. Sometimes their neglect of proofreading (and their abysmal “typing” skills) add an unintentional layer to the “conversation.” Youngest Daughter recently sent everyone in the family several pictures of horror movie Halloween wreaths. Jason was there, and Freddy Krueger, and a couple of other psychopaths I didn’t recognize. She insisted she HAD TO have them, and Middle Daughter texted back, “You’d make people pew their pants.” Now I know, and you know, and everybody involved in the text knows that she meant the “w” to be another “e,” but my evil twin is still laughing at the thought of Avon ladies and UPS deliverymen and sweet little trick-or-treaters pooping their pants because Freddy Krueger greeted them at the door.
But texting isn’t nearly as evil as FaceTime. Sure, it’s fun to see the person I’m talking to, generally Middle Daughter, even if the visual switches from her face to her armpit at regular intervals as she chops and stirs her way through fixing dinner, a process requiring much reaching across the iPad stationed on her kitchen countertop. To add to the confusion, my granddaughters’ faces randomly pop in and out of view as they enthuse about their day. More often than not, the youngest treats me (yet again) to an ear-splitting rendition of “Let It Go,” complete with exuberant gestures and dramatic facial expressions. I want to tell her, “Yes, darlin’, please–just let it go.” (Seriously, those people at Disney need to find an antidote, or at least come up with another movie.)
But to be truthful, the real reason I’m not wild about FaceTime is that I’ve never mastered the fine art of holding any of my electronic devices at the precise angle and height required to keep my face from looking like it belongs on a saggy, baggy hag. It doesn’t help that the calls generally come after I’ve taken off my make-up for the day. It’s a wonder the grandchildren don’t run screaming to their rooms when I answer their mama’s FaceTime calls. “Mommy, Mommy, it’s the witch! Turn it off! Turn it off!” That they don’t is even scarier. Do I really look like my FaceTime shot? All that money spent on moisturizers, all that careful application of cosmetics, and my grandchildren don’t notice when it’s just me and my skin?
When I was little, the ubiquitous “they” talked about telephones of the future and how great it would be to actually see the person on the other end of the line. Though I never quite believed them, I couldn’t help thinking, “But what if somebody calls when all I have on is a bath towel?” Now we have it, and bath towels are the least of my worries. Gee, I miss the good old days.