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I Stink at Texting This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

For a 16-year-old girl, I stink at texting. I text a grand total of five people and only when I absolutely must. It took me a long time to trust those people enough to leap with joy every time I text them, and even so, I do not do so lightly. I don't arbitrarily text people “Hey, what's up?” I say that in person when I see them. I text people if I need directions to meet them, to find out what the homework assignment is, or other essential information.

I hate texting. This is partly due to my sarcastic ­nature, which of course is impossible to convey in a text. If I respond “Sounds wonderful” to possibly going square-dancing at midnight, I put myself at serious risk of having to drink a substantial amount of coffee and braid my hair for some Cotton-Eyed Joe.

The creators of texting seem to have predicted that such a medium might cause problems for people with my type of humor, so they decided to offer some remedies. There are the hackneyed anagrams “lol” and “jk” (and of course, variations such as LOL, jkjk, and the slightly rarer ROFL), but I've come to favor emoticons. They can serve as perfect punctuation for sarcastic sentences, though I find that a text riddled with them can be distracting: “I have so much hw x_x I mean it's not like I had anything better to do with my life Sr. Gomez besides write this thrilling paper DX At least it's a three day weekend :)”

Another reason I hate texting is that I can't read people's nonverbal cues. Do they really care what I have to say about my “psychotic” teacher? Who knows! I'm staring at a cell phone, not a person. One also runs the risk of texting someone at an inconvenient time, like family dinnertime, or during a hook-up with that person they've been drooling over for a month, or while they're on the can.

Even worse is texting with a guy I like. If I get a text, I spend way too long crafting the perfect, charming, poignant reply, revising and editing a grand total of ten words until I deem them fit for sharing. Sending the first text is almost unheard of for me, but I'll chance it if I like someone enough. I hit Send and literally throw the phone across the room, trying to forget the anxiety of being textually inexperienced.

At the beginning of a relationship, I tried texting my new boyfriend because that is what boyfriends and girlfriends do, right? I was going away for the weekend and felt bad that I had to turn him down for a date. I thought long and hard about this first text, since I hoped it would be the first of many, and finally came up with the poetic, “We should still see Alice in Wonderland sometime.” I expected a text immediately, proclaiming his undying wish to see Johnny Depp act freaky in yet another bizarre Tim Burton movie with me. Zip. I waited 10 minutes (Maybe he's trying to think of the right thing to say), then an hour (Maybe he's not near his phone right now), then the two-hour car ride was over. My parents asked me why I was being inexplicably hysterical. “Because I don't have a boyfriend anymore! That's why!” It was only as I was getting ready for bed that night that I got a text saying “Yes, we should.” I never tried texting him again.

Unfortunately for me, I have friends who love to text. They text pointlessly and they text often. I get texts like “My baby sister is doing the pee-pee dance.” How am I supposed to respond to that? I almost feel sorry for these types of texters because they don't even know they're ­annoying. If I can't tell how people feel about me going on about my crazy teacher, how can I expect these saps to know they are boring me to tears?

I once dated a boy who was very into conversing through various portals ­offered by technology but not much of a talker in person. Every day for three months at 4:05 I could expect a “How was your day?” text from him. After a while, I crafted a generic response to this question: “Pretty good [insert somewhat annoying incident at school] and you?” You can imagine why this relationship didn't last. I almost considered going against my nature and breaking up with him via text because I thought he'd have a better recovery on his own turf. My breaking up with him in person seemed like a civil nicety,
but really, it was my declaration of freedom from technology.

Texting is not my friend. If you are, do not text me. If you have something to tell me, support the U.S. Postal Service and send me a friggin' postcard.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Morgan F. said...
Feb. 12 at 5:04 pm
I do all these same things that you do haha!! I absolutely hate texting, it never fails to be a source of anxiety for me, and you put that feeling into words perfectly! Loved it!
 
Conner Beth B. said...
Jan. 31 at 9:50 pm
LOVE THIS!!!!
 
BreakMyEmotions said...
Sept. 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm

This is lovely...sattire! XD

It was quite enjoyable and a bit humorous! Thank you for the smile!

 
Annmarie11_12_13 said...
Sept. 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm
I found myself laughing so hard at the end of this...you're absolutely right, we rely on texting WAY too much.
 
Ladybug123456789 said...
Aug. 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm
This is great writing! it's very funny. I totally know what you mean :D
 
. said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm
hahahahah! I LOVE this. I can totally relate to how you feel about texting guys you like and I definately chuck my phone across the room too so I don't look at it. I love the sarcasm bc I'm sarcastic too so I do get in sticky situations where people don't know if I'm kidding or not. Great job! And sorry my username doesn't show up. The websites being stupid.
 
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