A Life Without Emojis

Let’s get something straight: I love the written word. I love to read it; I love to write it. I am that person who re-reads emails I’ve composed before I hit send, and then again after the person I’ve emailed has replied. I am that wife who writes my husband letters to better explain myself after we’ve argued. The person who gets thank you cards in response to my thank you cards (a vicious cycle).

Let’s get something else straight: I am a little bit of a penny-pincher. I don’t like to say I’m cheap, because I can be very generous. I also don’t always spend money wisely. I’m not someone who budgets well and I don’t cut coupons (although I have tried many, many times to be that person).  That being said, I was raised by a single mother who was raised as one of seven daughters. I was raised knowing that money was tight, sometimes tighter than others. I was raised wearing hand-me-down clothes and sometimes going without. So in my adult life, I always eat our leftovers, I buy second-hand furniture, and I find it difficult to replace things that aren’t broken: my dishwasher, my washing machine, my refrigerator, my cell phone, my car. While a new one would be nice, and certainly do a more efficient job, I just can’t do it. So what if after a vigorous spin cycle I have to find the top of the agitator somewhere in the pile of wet clothes and pop it back into place? Is it really that hard to fill ice cube trays now that the built-in water and ice dispenser has gone kaput? But sometimes when I pick my cell phone up after it has clattered to the floor, I actually hope that the screen will be cracked this time, that way I’ll have to get a new phone.

My Iphone 4 is, for all intents and purposes, functioning just fine. Yes, there are some apps that are no longer compatible with the antiquated operating system, but overall, it works. Yet for some reason, I have never been able to send emojis with my phone. I’ve tried. Believe me. While this wasn’t initially a problem, I’m starting to feel that I am not learning a language that everyone I know communicates in. I don’t have the luxury of choosing the string of pictures that will best accompany my texts. While others are blowing me kisses and sending me electronic cocktails and fist-pumps, I am left replying with 🙂

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. Besides, obviously, 😦

For a person who loves communication, especially written communication, it is frustrating to feel so limited. My words- at least when I’m texting- just aren’t enough. And I find myself wondering, how many different races of Santa are there?

Recently, I discovered that while I receive most emojis, my outmoded phone doesn’t compute all emojis. When that happens, what I end up with is alien. Literally, the emoji is an alien. For the longest time, I was trying to figure out why so many people were enamored with aliens.  And how it was that these aliens fit within the context of a TGIF text alongside a glass of wine, a woman dancing in a red dress, and a party hat.

Wine, dancing, party hat, alien? I would shrug my shoulders and move on. After all, you can’t question one’s choice of emojis. There’s some unwritten etiquette rule that says so.

Then one day around Christmastime, my friend texted me excitedly. She was ready to “break out black Santa.” I got two emojis: white Santa and an alien. I was confused. After a series of texts back and forth, she sends me a screen shot of her phone with the text she’d sent me and there, dark as night, was black Santa. Was my phone a racist? Did it not want me to see the black Santa? I thought he was darling in his red suit and white beard.

It didn’t take long to realize that for every alien I’ve gotten, I’ve missed something else. But what exactly was I missing? It’s like having the secret message from Little Orphan Annie without the decoder ring. How will I know that I’m supposed to drink my Ovaltine?

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It’s been many months since Christmas, and while we’ve talked about getting new phones, (I’ve even gone so far as putting them in a virtual shopping cart) I’ve yet to make the purchase. I’m sure I’ll break eventually, that is, if my phone doesn’t break first.

Or perhaps we’ll get them next Christmas when (black) Santa brings them.

4 thoughts on “A Life Without Emojis

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