A Conversation with Mum about Conversations
This took place over breakfast at Eugene’s cafe. Mum and I had the smashed avocado and feta. Dad had eggs.
Me: Should’ve braced.
Mum: My text button has gone missing.
Me: Oh God.
Mum: I knew you’d say that.
Me: What’s a text button?
Mum: On my Nokia.
Me: Oh. When you say missing?
Mum: Well, I mean different. She produces the phone. It’s the simplest version I could find to get her.
Me: So this envelope icon, this is your texts.
Me: So, here it is. Not missing. How is it different?
Mum: There are hundreds of them all in a row.
Me: Distracted because the group of six sitting beside us are all doctors in residency. They’re talking about consults. Collective age fifteen.
Dad: He’s heard them too. Good time to have a heart attack.
Mum: You don’t need to be awful about it. I can’t help it if it’s different. I didn’t do anything. Why does it have to be different?
Me: He means – oh never mind. How is it different?
Mum: There is this thing called conversations. I don’t want conversations I just want the plain old text message. What do I want a conversation for, for goodness sake.
Me: Has it not been like this before?
Mum: No. Fix it.
Me: I delete 487 messages going back to June last year. I can’t work out how to do a bulk delete. It takes an hour. I have RSI of the thumb and my coffee goes cold.
Mum: Ok good. She puts the phone in her bag and immediately it beeps – a text coming through. She looks at me.
Me: I didn’t do that.
Mum: You must’ve done it.
Dad: Makes a choking noise.
Mum: What’s wrong with you?
Mum: Why did you send me a text?
Me: I didn’t.
Dad: She doesn’t have her phone out.
Mum: She could do something sneaky.
Me: I just deleted 487,000 texts – why would I send you another one?
Mum: 487,000! There were that many.
Me: I was exaggerating.
Me: Someone sent you a text.
Mum: You did. I’m not looking at it. You think I’m stupid.
Me: I didn’t send it.
Mum: Drink your coffee.
Dad: It’s probably one of the kids.
Mum: Galvanised. Gets the phone out. Oh, it’s from Loretta. She reads it.
Me: So show me what you do with that now.
Mum: Well I don’t want a whole conversation.
Me: What are you doing?
Mum: Talking to Loretta.
Me: Like in a conversation.
Mum: Yes. No. It’s just texting.
Me: So that’s all a conversation is, a string of text messages.
Mum: Well who needs that. Another text comes through.
Mum: Answers the text.
Dad: Look who’s having a conversation
Me: What do you do now?
Mum: We should go home.
Me: No, I mean with the texts.
Mum: I delete them. She shows me. Then she deletes an entire button labelled conversations off the menu screen.
Me: Wait, what did you just do?
Mum: I got rid of conversations.
Me: So, what, wait. You just deleted the whole thing?
Me: So why didn’t you just do that straight up? You sat there and watched me delete 4 million text messages one by one.
Mum: But I wanted that.
Mum: Messy. All those conversations.
Dad: Makes choking sound. A whole table of baby doctors looks at us.