OK, there are a LOT of things about my teenage life that I wouldn’t share with my son, but there are also a lot of things he just couldn’t understand if he tried. They all relate to technology.
- Writing ‘TB’ at the end of a text message so the person you were writing to knew you expected a reply. (It stood for ‘text back’, btw.)
- And squeezing everything you had to say into just one message, because they cost 10p a pop of actual pocket money, meaning you wrote like this: ‘dnt thnk ill cm 2nite coz aint gt mch money k c u l8er TB’.
- Not having internet at your own home, so getting two buses to your friend’s, forcing her to sign up for a joint email account and then spending all night at hers chatting to boys on dodgy dial-up connection. Shout out to ‘jessbex’. Jessbex 4 life.
- Knowing all your friends’ home phone numbers off by heart and lying on the floor of your mum’s house calling them all in succession every night to discuss what happened when you saw them all about two hours previously.
- Your friends owning home phones.
- Making actual mix tapes on cassettes of music recorded from the radio, meaning you never got to hear the intros of songs.
- Having four channels of television and there always being something worth watching on.
- And if there wasn’t, watching a VHS of something you’d recorded the previous Christmas. Often a double showing such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory / The Incredible Journey.
- Going on holiday for a week to America and spending the entire week sitting inside a bedroom at a computer to chat to a boy on Yahoo messenger. Who then dumped you via email the day before you came home.
- Realising it will be good to get home to your own house where your mum still hasn’t got the internet and where you can go back to happily playing Snake on your Nokia 33:10 and waiting for people to text you so you can TB.
- Arranging to meet someone in town and getting to the doors of M&S at 11.45 as arranged where they will also be there at the arranged time, because people don’t yet believe in just arriving at whatever time they want and texting to say they’ll probably be late.
- There being no such thing as social media, so if someone took a picture of you that you didn’t like, say on a beach with your friends, rather than tagging you all over the internet, they would just print it out and sellotape it up on the wall of the sports hall just before your whole year went in for an exam.
- And you could just rip it down and tear it up. And that was the end of it.
Simpler times. Shout out to all the mums raising teenagers in the social media age. It’s bloody tough out there.
TB (/leave me a comment below) K, thnx, bye.