Ainslie Paton romance author

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.

Mum:    Giggles.

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.

Mum:    Yes.

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?

Dad:       Nothing.

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.

Mum:    Oh.

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.

Dad:       Loretta.

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?

Mum:    Yes.

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.

Me:        Why?

Mum:    Messy.  All those conversations.

Dad:       Makes choking sound.  A whole table of baby doctors looks at us.


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