My kids won’t call me. They won’t pick up a phone and dial or press seven numbers so I can hear their voices and know they are still alive. An actual phone call would allow me to verify that it’s really them. The voices of my children are distinct. I have always enjoyed hearing them. But they won’t call me.

I have a friend who won’t call me either. She is determined never to use a phone for actual vocal conversation. I leave voice mail messages for her. She then emails. Or she sends me a text. So do my kids. They condense into a few words what would better be conveyed with a simple phone call. But none of these people will do it.

I receive heartfelt text messages like: Sorry couldn’t come over when you were laying on floor bleeding mom. Was Busy. Or: Thought we were meeting at 4:30. Be there soon. (A review of previous texts shows we had agreed to 4:00 pm. I have it IN A TEXT!) How about this: Starting my new job. So far, so good. (What new job?).   Or this one: This new intern is driving me nuts :)! (Emoticons apparently convey what the sender is really feeling or add emphasis that would have been clearer in a conversation. Not likely to happen. )

While it does tend to be one-sided, I do call them. I do leave messages. When there is an absolute need to hear from them, I text. I know how and can use abbreviations with the best of them. Like this: Gr8 2 c u 4 lunch 2day. Or this:  W8 till u see my new lawnmower.  Or this:  Hap-e 2 get 2gthr when u have time.  My son finally told me to stop texting like a 17-year old Valley girl. He’s not even old enough to know what those are but he does know how they would text.  This one always works: R u coming over 4 supper? Laundry? Cash donation from parental unit? Any mention of cash to the children gets an immediate response. Don’t worry, I have polite children, they always make a show of refusal before taking it. Same with my friend: Oh, you don’t have to buy drinks/lunch/happy hour. But she does take it.

Recently there’s been a slight shift in communication. Almost everyone has upgraded to smarter phones, as they are referred to. You can talk to people, although not anyone I know.  You can text, surf the net, check your email, take photos.  There are apps for everything. Both my son and my friend have started using this new thing on their phones: You can talk into your text app. That way the person on the receiving end can hear what you said instead of getting a typed text. Is this amazing or what?!? Apparently phones are now configured so that you can talk into them and people can hear what is being said. So amazing.  Alexander Graham Bell would be astounded.  The technology doesn’t work between incompatible phones but I have high hopes of hearing the voices of people I know in the near future as a way of communicating with one another. I just won’t refer to it as a phone call. There’s an app for that.