The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2013

Mike Pound: Old-school voice contact sometimes necessary

By Mike Pound

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s Friday afternoon, and our 15-year-old daughter just sent my wife a text telling her that she was invited to spend the night with friend Sara.

“I’m going to tell her to call me,” my wife said.

I don’t always agree with my wife when she and Emma square off, but, on this one, I was with my wife.

For some reason, Emma doesn’t see any value in speaking on the phone. Why have personal contact with someone when a text will suffice?

In a way, I can see Emma’s point. When I was 15, if I had had a choice between sending my parents a message via text or speaking to them in person, I would have opted for the text. But I didn’t, so I didn’t.

Nope, whenever I wanted to tell my parents something I had to talk to them in person. And let’s face it, when you’re 15 there is no such thing as a casual conversation with your parents. Your parents want to know who your friends are and who their parents are. They want to know what you’re planning to do and where you’re planning to do it. They want to know how you feel, what you think and what you don’t think.

Parents want to know those things because they know that when you’re 15 you have the judgment skills of cat huffing catnip.

Emma and her friends Katie, Kelsey, Anne and Sara spent Friday shopping for dance camp. Actually, only Emma, Kate, Kelsey and Anne are going to dance camp. Sara graduated this year, but because she is a good friend, she went shopping, too.

To my knowledge, Emma doesn’t need anything for dance camp because she and my wife have been shopping for dance camp essentials for roughly six months. But evidently there are still things to be purchased.

It was about 3 p.m. when Emma sent my wife the text telling her that Sara had invited everyone to spend the night at her house. When my wife told me what Emma said in her text, this is what I thought: “Great! I can watch the St. Louis Cardinals game in peace. My wife will watch the Bravo Channel inside, and I can sit outside and watch the game and not have to talk to anybody.”

But this is what I said when my wife told me what Emma said in her text: “Oh, that’s too bad. I’ll miss her.”

I didn’t just fall off the husband truck.

Of course, whenever there is a spending-the-night event, there are details to be worked out, such as: Do Sara’s parents know you are spending the night? What do you need to spend the night? Do you need your sleeping bag? Do you need money? What time do you need to be there and what time will you be home?

Which is why my wife wanted Emma to call her instead of just texting her.

So, after getting the text from Emma, my wife started talking into her phone.

“Call me. Period,” is what my wife said.

Instead of typing her texts, my wife likes to dictate them and let her phone do the typing. I think that is incredibly lazy, but I kept that to myself.

My wife dictated her text about 45 minutes ago and still has not heard back from Emma. But that’s pretty normal. I’m sure, when Emma got my wife’s text telling her to call her, Emma rolled her eyes (a veteran parent can sense eye rolling from miles away) and said “Ugh. My mom wants me to call her.” And I’m also sure Katie, Kelsey, Anne and Sara all said “Ooooooh, I hate when my mom does that. It’s like they never heard of texting.”

But eventually Emma will call my wife and the sleepover details will be worked out and I will be free to watch the baseball game in peace.

And if my wife or Emma need anything, they can just send me a text.