May 26 • 06:17 PM

Not worried about new texting law

July 07, 2010
I know the cops won't be out looking for me now. No chance.

It goes something like this:

i (beep)#(beep) h(beep)a(beep)v(beep)





o(beep)r(beep)e(beep). SEND (beep). Sending message....sending message...sending message...Message sent successfully (green smiley face appears).

It takes me as long to plunk out the six-word sentence on the miniscule keys of my cell phone as it looks like. And I'm not even driving.

How I know the pound key would give me a space in between words is a mystery. Just one of those instinctive things, I suppose, since I've grown a bit more accustomed to this digitized, computerized world. But somehow I'm not exactly feeling like a rocket scientist. I mean I've been on the planet just shy of five decades and like the Amazon rain forests or Arctic Circle I've yet to step into the realm of text messaging.

By way of self-defense though, I feel compelled to say that I just, a mere three months ago, hooked up a DVD player that I received as a gift three years ago. I say 'hooked up,' but I really mean 'rigged up' using a shortcut method a friend walked me through over the telephone. In other words, I stuck the input/output cords in the input/output holes on the front of my TV and put the DVD unit on top of my TV. I'm rather proud of myself for that. The problem is I have only two DVDs. But I love those two DVDs (Werner Herzog's 'Grizzly Man' and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's so-stellar-it's-scary-performance of Edward Albee's outstanding play 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.')

The reason I'm forced to hook it up is 'Grizzly Man' is not available in VHS. I suppose one could look at that as a good thing. But while I appreciate the upgraded technology and the ease of use, I have a cabinetful of VHS tapes that I equally love and cannot afford to rebuy in the DVD format. So when I want to watch 'The Great Gatsby,' or 'Camille Claudel,' or 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' I go to my trusty and very unmodern VCR. And believe it or not, it's just fine with me.

Let me also add that—indicative of the time I was coming up in (and have had some difficulty letting go of)—I don't even have a frame for my bed. Have no computer at home. Didn't have a telephone answering machine until 1998 (my dad gave me the one from his shop when he retired), and my first cell phone package was the $9.95 a month 'grandma special' that my husband got for me in 2002 to use in case I ran into trouble while riding my motorcycle. So let me just say that this whole text-messaging thing has been for me yet another leap into a world that feels somewhat foreign.

Yes, I have gotten text-messages before on my cell phone, but they've been the type that once you figure out how to open them up say "New from Verizon Wireless you qualify for a super ultra razor camera download ringtones family and friends videocam high speed Internet access email blahblahblah extra-special-high-poweredphone available right now..." So when I get a text message from an actual person who wants to communicate with me I'm both amused and perplexed.

After figuring out that I do indeed have a text message (not a voice mail one) and reading the message, I want to reply. So I sit at the kitchen table and plunk out my brutally honest and somewhat embarrasing response. I-have-never-text-messaged-before how-do-you-make-punctuation-with-this-thing-question-mark. All of this takes me about 15 minutes because I can't figure out the rhythm to punching the 'abc' key in order to get a 'b' and keep getting multiple aaaaa's and so on. Finally I get it somewhat right and press SEND.

My friend's response is beautifully simple and I've found it to be somewhat metaphorical as well:

'Use one key,' is the reply.

I know that little sentence is big on meaning. I've been looking for the one key to life for decades now. Question marks abound. At least now when I finally find 'the one key' I'll be able to celebrate the occasion with the appropriate number of big, bold exclamation marks. Hope so, anyway...

Email Catherine at

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 26 - 19
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