Maybe it’s just the Zoloft talking, but my friend Awlette claims you can find something good about anything, even hurricane evacuations.
For instance, she says, after Katrina we all learned new technological skills – like how to text message on our cell phones.
Now before Katrina, the only people who knew how to use text messaging were kids cheating on their tests in school. But right after Katrina, everybody from New Orleans figured it out – because that was the only way you could get a hold of anybody.
MODINE: THE PRBLM WI TXT MSGSWell, whoop-de-doo, I say.
You have to tap three times for every single letter in a text message, so you abbreviate every word, and by the time you do this, and the person who gets it figures out what “Wht X R U gng 2 chrch Sndy?” means, it is probably already Sndy and you have missed chrch.
Smoke signals would work better.
My oldest daughter Gumdrop is living up in Folsom with her husband Slime, and now my mother-in-law Ms. Larda is up there with them, taking care of their baby while Gumdrop goes to work.
They got no house phone and the cell phones they bought on sale keep losing their signals. But just like after Katrina, they can text message.
Last week me and my gentleman friend Lust was waiting for the pizza man when I hear the doorbell chime, so I rush to the door but there ain’t nobody there. It’s my cell phone. This is its cutesy way of telling me I got a text message.
It is from Ms. Larda. “Tlkng bear drvng me nts,” it says.
“Tlkng bear?”
Now, Ms. Larda has what you might call “a way with words.” A strange way. Now she is sending me messages about a “tlking bear.” God knows what that means.
The phone chimes again, and I think it’s the pizza man again, but it’s Gumdrop.
Between work and being a mama, Gumdrop is always in a rush, so she abbreviates even more than most people do. This means I never have a clue what she is saying. All I know is she’s alive, or else she was alive a few minutes ago, and her last dying wish was to send me a string of consonants.
This message says: “Xpctng! Fts 37 cells.”
I show it to Lust.
He says, “Cells? Slime in jail?”
“For what?” I say.
“They got strange laws out in the country. Maybe he expectorated on the sidewalk. ”
I start pecking out “Slm n jl?” on my phone, and then I hear a real loud chime, which turns out to be the pizza man. I drop the phone, and would you believe, it lands in my soothing lavender aromatherapy fountain. This turns out to be just as bad as dropping it in the toilet, which I have also done. So now I learned something else about technology: Water ain’t good for it.
But I got to find out what on earth is going on in Folsom. So on Sunday morning, I visit the ATM, fill up the gas tank and drive out there.
I pull up in front the cabin and there is Slime, flopped in a hammock on the porch. Lollipop, the baby, is in his lap holding her Winnie-the-Pooh bear.
Gumdrop rushes out all excited and asks what I thought about her message, and without stopping for me to answer, bursts out “Slime and I are expecting another baby!”
Then she explains that they have calculated that their fetus is already 37 cells big. That’s what she meant by cells. Gumdrop is the scientific type.
That’s what the message said. Slime never expectorated at all. Or if he did, he didn’t get caught.
So I give her a hug and Lollipop a hug and even hug Slime.
I am about to ask about Ms. Larda when a shrill little voice says, “It’s time for me to have a healthy snack.”
I look at Lollipop, but she can’t talk yet. It’s the bear. Gumdrop tells me this is a talking Winnie-the-Pooh with a digital voice box inside, and you can program it to say whatever you want, whenever you want.
And she got the brilliant idea to program Lollipop’s daily schedule into this bear. It reminds you, in its high-pitched voice, when it’s snack time, bath time, meal-time and nap time. That way Ms. Larda will always know what to do.
So Ms. Larda, who raised five kids and helped raise a horde of grandchildren, is being ordered around by Winnie-the-Pooh.
That’s what that text message was about.
I pick up this wondrous bear and go around back and find Ms. Larda sipping on a cup of coffee the size of a cereal bowl. I just know she got a shot of Kahluha in there. She says she’s glad I drove up, because she was thinking of making like Fats Domino and walking to New Orleans.
I tell her this bear is a technological problem and I am an expert on technology now. I unzip Winnie’s back, take out his voice box, drop it into the coffee mug, fish it out with a spoon, wipe it off on my shirt and put it back inside him.
He won’t bother Ms. Larda no more.
Awlette is going to be proud.