Sunday, November 12, 2006

this is how i'll get repetitive stress injury

If anybody's interested, the second entry down from this one ("i do other things, too") has been getting a lot of comments. I always laugh when I get such heavy and unexpected response to something like a rant. It's funny because now I realize more fully that not only do I always get the same questions, but it seems like many professions elicit repetitive responses also. Are we all walking around with a set of questions for whatever profession we might happen to meet?
Today I'm more interested in something that's been taking up an inordinate amount of my time lately: text messages. Do people use those so heavily in other places? I don't know if it's Chicago in general or just my friends, but we are text messaging machines. I think it enables our ability to avoid interacting with people in a spontaneous way; most people I know will admit to some level of phobia about talking to real live people on the phone. But anyway, what I'm really interested in is the feature that most phones have where it kind of guesses what you're typing and chooses the correct letter from each number punch. Like I press "43556" and get "hello". (Without this feature on, I get "Gdkm".) I'm super fascinated by the level of accuracy, and also by the words that are and aren't included in my cell phone's brain. (My only large complaint is the lack of swear words and the fact that instead of "me" I always get "of". Maybe "of" is more common in normal writing, but "me" is definitely a big one in texting. Also the lack of contractions is annoying.) Nobody else seems to be, but whatever... I'm a little obsessive right now.
So I've been trying to type in various words and see if they show up. Shit, fuck, damn and dang aren't included, but hell is. Lesbian, gay, the ever-popular homosexual and even queer (which surprised me a little bit) are, but dyke and fag aren't, more's the pity. Bible is, but so is atheist. (Actually, initially I misspelled atheist and got buggest in the phone and felt really vindicated. Like, it's all a right-wing corporate scandal to subvert our texting because we're too lazy to manually type in atheist or dyke!) I'm kind of running out of things to try and I'm not sure it means anything anyway, but it was interesting for a few minutes.
So yeah, that was boring, but whatever... I've got a lot of time on my hands to think this shit up.


PocaCosa said...

Not boring, but hilarious. I had never used that fancy texting feature until I was in South Africa and was using a school-borrowed razor phone. I was really impressed with the vocabulary, and how it learned preferances for proper nouns and neologisms. But here at home, I rarely text. (I also rarely call people.) In South Africa, it's so expensive to call, that everyone sends looooong texts to each other. It was the way I did business with everyone.

ammie said...

Yeah, thats how it is in Europe too. All my students were contantly huddling over their cell phones, receiving texts from significant others.