In November, I made a big decision. I had to learn to text. To do that, a new cell phone was an absolute must. With my old cell, texting was a laughable impossibility. The so-called keyboard was also the phone number dialing system.
If I wanted to type the word "about" I had to hit the "2" key once for the "a", then twice for the "b." Next I had to go to the "6" key and hit it three times to type an "o". And so on. I came up with lots of inventive words as I struggled to tap quickly enough and the correct number of times. I never did get a text typed.
The final push for a new phone was the fact that, of our 10 grandchildren spread out from Halifax to Alberta, only the four-year-old twins don’t text. Of the eight who do, only one exchanged emails with me regularly. Being able to text was critical.
Off I went to our area’s MTS Connect store in the Pembina Village Shopping Centre. It was blessedly quiet. In fact, I was the only customer.
I showed a staff member my old phone. I asked for the new iPhone 5. After answering a few questions and asking many, I discovered the 4S would easily meet my needs.
Demonstrations from simply how to turn on the phone to using Siri for voice texting followed.
Next, my new plan and the insurance I opted for were explained. Because we bundle with MTS, the additional monthly cost would be approximately $8. The 4S itself was free.
I signed the paperwork. I left as a very happy customer with my new white phone in its purple case safely stowed in my purse.
However, the next day when I decided to text, I’d forgotten everything except how to turn on the phone. I checked the online manual. It was far too complicated for a neophyte. Sadly, I was still a non-texter.
A day later, one of our children gave me a very slow lesson on entering contacts, texting, and using Siri. I even tried out the camera.
But my ongoing saviours were the friendly MTS staff. Even when the store was humming with customers, the staff answered my questions and patiently taught me how to use my phone. They made everything easy.
Now, texts flow to and from grandchildren and children. Within days I had pictures of the twins and great-grandson.
Recently, our Winnipeg grandson added the use of emoticons to my expertise.
Ahhh! Life as a texter is grand.
Jeannette Timmerman is a community correspondent for Fort Richmond.