Every time I get a text message these days, I have to erase the one I've gotten before. From a phone with a capacity for 200 texts, I have 197 messages dating from November 4, 2005 to January 21 of 2009.
Am I the only one who does this?
Anyone who spends time with me will tell you I'm a divil for distraction, needing to do a couple of things as well as try, often in vain, to focus on what I should be doing. I think that's why I twitter so much at events - my mind refuses to be idle. I've tried to get out of the routine of checking the phone compulsively - unless I'm waiting for a call or text - but it's become such a habit for me that I predictive text without looking and will, very rudely, just interrupt conversations at times to check my phone, reply to a text, check the email or take a call. I'm trying to stop but as with any habit-breaking initiative, it's taking time.
Photo by Grannymar
Words are important to me. Far more than photos or dates, words about a time in my life, a specific event, a personal feeling, a connection with someone evoke a glad, almost visceral feeling within that I revel in. The first time I read a particular book, the first time I hear certain lyrics, the congratulatory email for a job well done, the first time someone says they love you. All these and so much more are important and if I had been any good a diarist through my life, I'd have been able to keep track of them. For now though, I only have texts. Emails disappear into the vast recesses of Gmail, stumbled upon usually, looking for something else.
I scroll through my phone occasionally, ordinarily on the bus, both to find a particular text or to see what's there. Don't worry, I haven't got all the 'Meteor would like to offer you' texts, the impersonal 'Happy Christmas to all my phonebook' texts or the redundant 'grand, see you there' texts. They're deleted if and when they're replied to.
I gave up keeping negative, abusive or pointless angry texts a long time ago - I don't see the point. Mid a failed attempt at reconciliation last year, someone told me they had "kept all the emails and texts as a record", which means that they're carrying around useless words that exoke a negative reaction every time they read them. I fail to see how it would help. Erase, remember, learn, move on.
My texts are either positive or funny or from a really good experience. Ranging from the very first, romantic:
I love you! I'm so happy we're together! Xxx 04/11/2005 07:19:05to the thoughtful (I was living in London at the time):
Ul b happy to bear that theres a big crowd arnd Pat Ingoldsby's new book launch on d path. His sign says 'Join my book club and pay double for everything'... 18/11/2005 15:35:06To the gratifying
Darragh thank you so much for all your help. The night was a great success. Your help was invaluable. Helen.To the first text messages
Hi Darragh, Niamh here. How's ur evening going?To the random
Is have to o wake up in two hours and i have a drunk girl on me arm so going to mobil u naill email you tomorow is that ok? 17/05/2007 01:20:49To the inappropriate but funny forwards
I went 2c the nurse for my annual health check this mornin She said, "I think u should stop masturbating" I asked, "why?" She said, "Because I'm trying to examine u" 28/06/2007 18:01:53To the confessions
I never told you but when you first moved to London, and we met at Dun Laoighre, I sat on the pier bawling listening to fix you bu coldplay. Watching the ferry. 26/07/2007 21:13:59To the zeitgest
Spiderpig, spiderpig, does whatever a Spiderpig can. Can he hang from a web? No he can't 'Cause he's a pigTo the "you'd really have to have been there"
Sleeping in jeep 04/08/2007 02:55:44To the hard to believe but true
House closed at 3.30 today. Your bags are about to be given to security as UNCLAIMED. You need to pick them up in the next 15 mins or they will be destroyed. PLEASE COLLECT NOW 17/12/2007 15:57:48To the utterly sentimental
Never say ur happy when ur sad, never say ur fine when ur not ok, never say u feel good when u feel bad and never say ur alone when you've got me 13/03/2008 22:33:46To the self fulfilling prophecy
You and I need to have that couple of pints a bit more often. 19/03/2008 18:46:40To the ah brilliant!
I have news anne just agreed to marry me were engaged 26/04/2008 14:33:37To the spotted
That u on failte towers? 09/08/2008 22:21:32And even in my sent items, the five I keep portray a rather poignant, if somewhat random and personal insight into my mind or the focus on the recipient at the time of sending:
The road to my hell is paved with my good intentions.
"How can your life be satisfied with small realities if your heart has big dreams? Read the quote and thought of you.
I love you. first instinct impressions are always right. x xBut, while you sit there either laughing at my attachment issues, shaking your head in despair at my disclosure, in disbelief at the shameless expression and with pity for someone who keeps such texts, let me tell you - it used to be a lot worse.
A whole lot worse.
I used to write them down.
Yes indeed, pre 2007 and the phones that came with bigger memory capacity, when I didn't know the current posse of amigos I'm blessed with, I would spend time faithfully transcribing, as above, all the texts into notebooks. The front for to-do lists and all that, the back for the text messages. They were mostly - if not all - from the girlfriend at the time. You know, something to show the grandkids when we got older? 'Look kids, here's when your Gran and I went on a date and she said it was good'. 'Look here, it's when we arranged to meet outside of Trinity one day she'd finished college early'. Honestly, it's acutely embarrassing to look back at how naive I was.
I went through one the other day. I always wondered if it would make the basis for a good book. Seems not. I cringed at some of the memories. But, the blog needs feeding and I thought someone, somewhere just may keep their text messages, may like the thought that at some stage in a day, someone thought enough about them to tap words into the phone and that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't such a
Hang on. There's a text on my phone.