Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Email is so over

''No one uses email anymore''

This is the futurespeak gospel according to the Teenager. Email is 'over' apparently. Now it's seemingly far too time consuming to actually type someone's email address into a box, construct a few grammatically complete sentences and hit send.

Dare I venture what the alternative is? I retain some credibility with a correct guess that it's social networking sites and IM that have replaced the retromail. Of course, I don't say 'social networking sites' and 'IM'. These would take far too long. I just say 'Bebo and MSN?' and she grunts ''uh....yeeeeah'' in the kind of patronising drawl you would use with with someone who's frontal lobes have been sliced out.

Call me old fashioned but I am still impressed by the way email flies around cyberspace and lands at it's destination in a second...or 60 or them if you're an Orange broadband customer. I like the way people take their turns to speak, it's very British.

I treat Facebook with a similar distaste to smallpox. Why would I willingly allow all the no doubt hideously unflattering pictures of myself that exist out there to be branded with my name? I have lost count of the amount of times grown adults have begged me..yes begged..to join. I won't kid themselves they want me in their gang, I know they just want to up their 'friends' count. I can't afford another frivolous but delightful waste of time in my life. Asides from my beloved retromail, there is already ebay, popbitch and the Top Shop website. But the friends persist and then they get upset that they can't share their album with 250 pictures of their new baby. Then they send hopeful invitations to join. 'Your saddo mate with too much spare time wants you to poke them on their Facebook profile!'

They send these to my email. See how things come full circle.

My 33 year old brain cannot keep with IM. No sooner have you responded to one question, than the conversation has moved on. IM is nothing more than an intense workout for the fingers. Russians could train armed KGB agents in swift response by simply sitting them in front of MSN for an afternoon. The teenager can shut down around 20 chat boxes in the time it takes me to step over her bedroom* threshold. I guess she does not want her mother to question what the intentions are of the young gentleman who appears to have lost his shirt.

On Monday morning something strange arrives through my letterbox. I open the red hand written envelope with trepidation. Inside is what appears to be a letter from a friend thanking me for her birthday present. Wow. What to do with something that involved a pen and a stationary set? Handling it like a ancient relic I move it to the mantelpiece.

The Teenager scowls at it as she walks past.

I sit down to write an email of thanks.


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

A teenage cover-up part two

So what is the problem with teenagers and coats?

Mine is still treating hers with the kind of contempt usually reserved for anyone who still has the audacity to breath over the age of 20.

Every morning the battle lines are drawn at 8.30 a.m. in the hall of our tiny terrace. Me on one side with a not unreasonable request for the coat to be worn ''It is still winter.'' The teenager on the other throwing back "I'll take it but I won't wear it."

'N'er cast a clout till May is out'. My mother's words still ring in my ear from childhood. She sometimes replaced the 'N'er' bit with 'Never'-which made more sense, as my mother has n'er even been to Lancashire. This phrase would shout loudest in my clubbing days. Not for me shivering on a street corner at 4 a.m. waiting for a taxi. I might have had to queue for the cloakroom, but I went home warm.

So what is the problem with teenagers and coats? The Teenager says it's because Chav Towers has a rule that bans coat wearing inside. (Is it just me or is this bollocks? A rule for the sake of it.) So therefore, taking a coat means having to carry it around school all day. Which I guess is a problem as you might want your hands free to draw horns on pictures of teachers or whatever it is that kids do when walking between classes.

But the coat aversion doesn't end in school. It extends to her social life. Every time she goes anywhere she is always saying goodbye while halfway out of the door, so by the time it has registered she is trying to escape coatless and I have taken chase- she is halfway down the street. Wearing short sleeves.

I didn't always observe my own mothers mummerings about the clout. Sometimes I cast a clout in April and feel deliciously rebellious. The phrase may have to be rewritten in the light of global warming. Or just teenagers in general, who seem to want to cast their clouts all over the shop.