Tag Archives: texting

“Call ME! On the Line! Call Me, Call Me, Any, ANY TIME!”

My cellphone broke down yesterday:  Finally, that poor thing!

It had been with me for over three years, and by now I was getting texts and phone calls from the Verizon people on a regular basis, begging me to get an upgrade.

“Did you know you were eligible for a $50 rebate?!” some nice girl would be trying to tell me after I would call to complain about the most recent malfunction on my device:

“The flip is not clicking anymore,” I’d say.  “I think it’s loose.”

“Well, m’am,” the nice girl would be studying my files on her screen.  She seemed to be patient, and yes, super nice.  Perhaps, in those files, she could read all the records of my previous love affairs, from start to finish; and she would take pity on me.  And even if she couldn’t see my love stories unfold through a progression of texts between my exes and I, I bet she could tell I was going through another break-up by the gastronomical size of my bill that month.

And sometimes, I would imagine she had some sort of a hidden camera thingy connected to the flimsy flip in my hand, and she could actually see all the terrible truths about my life.

“Hmm.  It says here you’d drowned your phone in a cup of coffee nearly a year ago.”

(See!  I told you she had that hidden camera thingy!)

But yes, it is true about the coffee.  You see, about a year ago, I had finally decided my motha and I were ready to cross the next boundary in our relationship — and that we could try texting each other.

Now, I am not one of those absentee daughters.  I call my motha on a regular basis, one-to-two weekend nights per week.  Even if we feel like we have nothing to say to each other, I would much rather hear motha’s repeated monologues on the other end of my cellphone — than suffer the passive-aggressive silence after I had somehow forgotten to call her one weekend.  Because let me tell you:  Jewish mothers have NOTHING on my motha with their guilt trips.  My motha copyrighted that shit!  And she is not really the silent type, neither in Russian nor English.  So, when she does go quiet on you, she can raise the hairs on the back of your neck with feelings of her orphan-like abandonment and saintly martyrdom.

Anyway.  At the end of last summer, we had passed a new threshold:  For the first time in our lives, we each had our own place with which we were finally perfectly content.  There would be no more terrible roommates.  No more partners with messy habits.  And we had vowed that each would stay at her place for at least a couple of years.

Conveniently, my motha’s joint had horrendous cellphone reception.  So, before she got herself a landline, I would have to text — to test her availability.

“CALL NOW” — motha would respond, often with no punctuation marks and in all caps.

But my very first text to motha was actually less than technical.

“Lov U, shawty,” I wrote.

I was feeling mushy that morning.  It’s a consequence of having a heart that’s easily prone to gratitude.  Motha would understand that:  I am sure I’ve inherited that damn thing from her.  And so:

“Lov U, shawty,” I composed.  But right before I could hit the red button of SEND, the flip phone slipped out of my hand and dove right into the middle of my morning cup of coffee with a precision of a kamikaze.

“SHIT” — I thought (with no punctuation marks and in all caps).  “My coffee is ruined.”

As I said:  I had just moved into the place, and before I had unpacked my kitchen supplies, I had walked to the 7-Eleven on the corner to get my caffeine fix for the day.

The flip phone was retrieved eventually and immediately buried in a jar of rice.  It wasn’t white rice, but one of those healthy wild rice mixtures from Trader Joe’s.  So, the trick wouldn’t work, and I would go through the hassle of filing an insurance claim and waiting for some hideous device to arrive in the mail.  My old flip phone would eventually be revived with the help of a hairdryer, and I would feel like my faithful device and I had passed another hurdle in life.  We were veterans.  Survivors.  And we weren’t ready to part ways yet.

Because one of the terrible truths in my life was that, just like everyone else, I was married to my cellphone.  It was the most significant relationship in my life — and an appendix to my ego.  And even though every once in a while (like after a break-up, for instance) I would lock that thing up in my car for a day to punish it — to punish the whatever him I was breaking-up with — I couldn’t live without it.

And there had been moments when I would fling the poor thing across the room after a prolonged wait for a Time Warner rep to pick-up my call.  I had used it to break-up with my old bank from the East Coast, utterly useless on this side of the country.  Because my cellphone was perfect for confrontations; and I think it had something to do with the flip feature of it.  It added a certain umph to my endings, like a punctuation mark at the end of a text message.

But about a week ago, I could tell:  My poor thing — my dear veteran — was on its very last stretch.  It was no longer responding to its charger, and seemingly its screen was starting to suffer from some sort of electronic epilepsy.  Two days ago, it was over.

Finally, that poor thing!

“NO CHARGER DETECTED” — the screen said (with no punctuation marks and in all caps).

And then:  It went dark.

Strangely, despite all of our history, I didn’t feel any sadness about its departure.  It is true we had passed through many hurdles together.  We were veterans.  Survivors.

But I knew:  Ah, it was time.

“How can I help you?” some nice boy with an iPhone clipped onto his belt said to me when I stormed into the Verizon store last night.

“Well,” I said, whipped out the dead body of my cellphone and slammed it against the counter.  “You tell me!”

The nice boy smiled:  He couldn’t help it.

“Ow… Ouch.  What happened to its gloss?” he said, ever so charitably.

And I remembered the very first day I bought my baby at another store:  It was caramel-colored and shiny, and it would light up with red lights when I caressed its surface.  The gloss was long gone now, and I would begin to be slightly embarrassed to take it out in public.

The kind boy was by now studying my files on his screen.  Could he see all of the terrible truths about my life?  Could he read the histories of my relationships in the gastronomical sizes of my previous bills?  And considering the low amount due this month, could he tell I had been finally single — and contently so — for the duration of the last season?

“Did you know you were eligible for a $150 rebate?”

“That bad, eh?” I said and smiled.  I couldn’t help it.

“IT’S TIME” — the nice boy said (with no punctuation marks and in all caps).

And when he asked me if I wanted to save any of my old text messages or voicemails — for I would be losing ALL of them in this transition — I did not feel any sadness at all.

“No,” I answered.  “It is time.”

“Love Dries Up, I Thought — Even Faster Than Sperm”

Settle down, lovelies!  Settle down!  I didn’t write that line above (although I wish I did).

Behold:  The genius of C. Bukowksi exactly the man to keep me company last night, in bed. 

Which, by the sound of him, is where he best belonged in life:  Under the sweat-soaked sheets, with some well-lived-in broad (behold:  me) who had the potential to be brilliant; and who every once in a her saddest while, lived up to that potential.  But all other times, she bounced between being brutal and angelic, and maybe a lil’ bit childlike.

Yeah.  C. and I could’ve had some fun!  That poignant alcoholic who on paper insisted sounding like a bastard!  Was he, indeed?  Or was he, like me, bouncing between being brutal and… well, something else.

“R u home?” I got interrupted by a text from an ex, at around midnight.  A text from an ex — seeking sex?  But I already had a man in bed:  C.  Period.

But why be rude, I thought, and I responded:  “Yep.”

“Want me 2 come over?”  (I pondered:  Could I be in the mood for some sex with an ex?)

“I’m in bed, with my lites off.”  I half-lied.  Apparently:  I wasn’t in the mood.

“Well get dressed and turn your lites ON!”

Oh.  So it wasn’t about sex!  The ex was concerned.  Earlier in the day, I remembered he asked me about my head:  He knew how that fucking thing got, all messy ‘n’ shit, post break-up.  After all, he’d seen me handle his own departure, three years ago.

This ex-player always had a talent to be rougher than most.  Not mean, just stronger.  The most assertive I’ve ever had.  On the phone and in bed, he always he treated me like a handful, but never a pain in the ass, acting as if he would rather do nothing else but figure me out.  He left though — surprise, surprise! — after a couple of months of such riddle solving.

“Timing,” he said at the time.  (Funny:  That’s the same explanation I got from this latest guy.)

So, I thought of all the voices in my head that get set off by a man’s departure.  Between brutal and angelic I usually bounce, grappling with the worst, darkest thoughts — just so I could come out on top, illuminated by grace:  On top, just the way I like it.  The departed are rarely made privy to the brutality of my head, because I never want to be “that girl”:  Name-calling her formerly beloved — or her beloved still! — and destroying whatever bits of beauty remained in the post-break-up’s ground zero; only to find herself not living up to HER better self.  I exorcise my own head, in private.  That way, years down the road, after other women, my players will always think:

“But Vera was kinder than most.”  (Settle down, lovelies:  I didn’t write this line either.  C. Bukowski did.  Period.)

These voices:  Every woman gets them.  And because of the privilege I’ve earned via kindness and empathy, I’ve listened to other broads’ voices before:  Name-calling their exes, damning them to never be loved again, suddenly taking for granted the reasons for which they loved those poor bastards in the first place.  Sometimes, they wonder about where they themselves have gone wrong.  But that’s too brutal, you see, so they lash out at the guy again.

Here are just a couple of these gems, for your viewing, my lovelies:  A couple of those brutal voices — and, in return, my now habitual responses to them.  Because I’ve spent the night with C. Bukowski, you see.  That poignant alcoholic knows no lullabies.  So, I ain’t really in the mood for angelic right now:

—  “What an asshole!”  

That’s the most reoccurring voice from my girls, when they lash out at the man they’ve just finished adoring five minutes ago.  Sometimes, the name varies, depending on my girls’ demographics.  And oh how they expect me to echo that name of choice — but I don’t!  I SHALL NOT.

Instead, my rebuttal is — always:  He may be that, my ladies.  He may be that (insert a name according to the girl’s demographic). But chances are that, like you, he is just one hurtin’ mother fucker, trying to get through the chaos of life the best way he can.

—  “He doesn’t deserve me!”  

I’ve made it quite obvious that I am a fan of my own gender.  But regardless the accusations by a slew of haters this year, I don’t always side with it.  I do try my very, very best to see both points of view.  I’m brutal and angelic that way, ‘member?

But “deserve” is a funny word.  Not “funny” funny, but reeking of hubris — of taking the place of divinity.  And it is my personal belief that one’s divinity should only be applied when striving for one’s own best potential.  It CANNOT be practiced on others. It is too brutal that way.

So, what I tell my girls (and myself, in this state of lapsed graces) is this:  May be.  He may be an undeserving man.  But instead of waiting for someone else to step-up, why not give YOURSELF what you think you deserve?

(Most of the time, my girls’ response to that is, “I don’t know how to do that…”  Sad, ain’t it?  But that’s a discussion for another day.)

No one will ever love him the way I did!”  (SHIT:  Speaking of brutal.)

May I just say, ladies:  I hate this one!  As someone who’s been on the receiving end of that line, I cannot think of the most absolute way of erasing the love that preceded the break-up.  Because a thought like that betrays your own twisted intensions.  During the love affair, you may not have loved unconditionally — but for the sake of your own validation; and just how fucked up is that?  Not fucked up, but perfectly human.  But I do know — but you can do better than that.  YOU CAN BE — BETTER THAN THAT.

“And who the fuck do you think you are — to predict another person’s life?”  (Oops.  I think I just spoke directly to the ex who damned me with that same line.  “What an asshole!”)

All said and done, my lovelies:  Lovers come and go.  That’s their very purpose, you see.  During an affair, whatever your trip may be — that’s the trip they take with you.  That’s the trip they teach you.  But there are no better lessons — no better tests of your own character — when these lovers depart.  For in that seemingly most brutal stretch of days, they teach you your own worth.  Your grace.  Your personal divinity.

That way, years down the road, after other women, your players will think:

“she has hurt fewer people than

anybody I know, 

and if you look at it like that,

well, 

she has created a better world.

she won.”

(Settle down, my lovelies.  I didn’t write that line either.  That’s my C.  Period.)

“Drip-Drop: There Goes a Nerdgasm”

Who be the English major around here?  I be!  I be dat!

I’m a proud lil’ nerd, my babies and kittens!  With my personal library as the only prized possession, I have traveled the world in pursuit of my smarts.

Oh, yes!  I am one of “those” — known to conduct 3-hour debates on comma positioning, who, in her younger days, once wanted to write a bloody dissertation on why em-dashes were better — or more elegant — punctuation marks than parentheses.  And don’t even get me started on e.e. cummings’ syntax and Pinter’s  ellipses!  (Okay, do get me started — but the next time you see me though.  Until then…)

For a proud nerd like V, it has been a source of endless frustration to watch the English language get chronically raped by the laziness of the general public and its beauty quite quickly diminished by the seemingly consensual desire to create shortcuts in our communication.  Well, okay!  On the one hand, technology has expanded our minds, shrunk the size of our world, and sped up the pace of our lives and professions.  But on the other hand, not only has it lowered our ability to communicate well — it has lowered our ability to communicate at all Our friendships, business relationships and love affairs are now dependent on a number of little hand devices that serve as extensions of our egos.  Facebook wall posts have replaced birthday postcards.  Instant messaging has eliminated the treasured experience of hearing a beloved voice on the other end of the phone line.  As for poetry:  It is quite quickly becoming extinct altogether.

Just last night, for instance, at a Hollywood coffee shop filled with hippies and yuppies alike, I watched an angry lil’ man build his case for a lawsuit — via an iPhone and his highly anti-social behavior committed for the sake of… well, a social interaction.  (Say whaaat?!  I KNOW.)  He first caught my attention with the speed of the click-clacking of his iPhone’s texting app which reminded me of the sound of beetles (the bugs, not the Brits).  Or of baby witches.  (Don’t ask:  It’s a Russian thing.)

When joined by his partner — a young corporate shark that despite appearing well-educated refused to adjust her volume — they began composing those texts together.  From what I overheard (I had no choice, really:  the two were so loud, they jolted the head of every focused Mac owner in the joint), some “asshole” had done them wrong and now, via the click-clacking, they were building a case against him.

“Tell him this, tell him this!” the excited young lady was hovering over her chair and pointing at the hand device as if the “asshole” was trapped inside it.  I shot her my askance glance but zero reaction followed.  She continued foaming at her mouth:  “Tell him:  We’ve got EVIDENCE!”

More click-clacking happened, at double speed.

I wondered:  When the skeletons of our era are excavated and studied by the next century’s archeologists, will they find our thumbs overdeveloped?  My second thought was that someone ought to add a Texting Man to that famous drawing of the Evolution of Man.  After all, look at how far we — and our disposable thumbs — have come!  (Now what did I tell you, babies and kittens:  I’m a total nerd!)

“He just fucked himself over!” the young lady was now so excited, she appeared to be dry-humping the edge of her coffee table.  “These texts — can be used as evidence IN COURT!”

Alas:  The Evolution of Man.

Now, as a nerd who revels in language, I’ve never been a fan texting; and only recently have I experienced the titillation of sexting (which involved shagging a much younger player than I would normally go for).  As for the abbreviated lingo invented by the generation of texting — and sexting — children, before I had a chance to say, “WTF?”:  It seemed to have been adopted by the rest of the world as a new universal language.  Shiva knows, it took me three years to start using shorthand in my own texts.  Yet, still, I refuse to “LOL”!  And “OMG”, do I cringe when getting one of those from a man!

In my experience, in this day and age, a male courtier is pretty much off the hook when it comes to composing odes for his woman.  I myself have lowered my expectations quite a bit; and although a well-composed sentence still gives me chills, I am perfectly content with getting my fill of philology from the prized — and above mentioned — personal library.  So, when a man demonstrates a lack of desire to whip out a coupla stanzas in my honor, I go to the men I can rely on:  Messieurs Baudelaire and de Saint-Exupery; Sir Keats and Lord Byron; or, if in a mood for some rougher lovin’ — Mister Bukowski or Comrade Mayakovsky.

However, a player who in his texts spews out abbreviations like a middle school student with bad acne and braces (and most likely, horrendous grades), I’m afraid — and here I speak on behalf of my vagina — I immediately lose all interest.  Yep:  The juices stop flowing.  The factory shuts down until further notice.  The ovaries start picketing.

Now, I myself have yet a lot to learn about the etiquette of texts (their duration and length or the power play of who should be the one to start or end a conversation); but I have made up my mind on the topics of my courtiers’ grammar and syntax.  It goes like this:

Grow up — and use a spellcheck!

Because there are no shortcuts to a woman’s vagina, dear sire!  (Or at least, to any self-respecting woman I know.)  So, please, my dah-ling, please:  Put a lil’ bit of effort when hunting for it.  Do utilize your disposal thumbs and spell out your words.  That way, there will be no confusion as to how you feel about me — or my vagina.

But if patience or grammar is not your strong suit — call me.  When you do, of course, you’ll have to meet a whole other set of standards; but at least you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of not living up to the linguistic standards of the dead men who knew a thing or two about vaginas, hunting and poetry; and how to utilize their thumbs in pursuit of either.