Two big events in the house since I returned from a week in a very hot Andalucia; first of all, news that Hannah, the daughter of my mate Adrian and her ‘young man’, Matt are getting married. Apparently, he whisked her off to the top of some hill in the Lake District and proposed, so whether it was the altitude or something else, she said ‘Yes!’. Actually, everyone who knows these two is delighted – they stand out from the usual milling throng of twenty-somethings as a ‘proper’ couple – it was just meant to be really. Hannah is a delight; beautiful, smart and funny in equal measure, whilst Matt, apart from being a United fan, is a solid, no-nonsense ‘bloke’ who comes from Whitehaven and likes his beer and his football and his music. They are a very good match.
What has really tickled me about this though, is the way I found out about it. Hannah’s best mate is the Partner’s niece, Eddy, and she has already been asked to be a ‘maid of honour’ (whatever one of those is) at the wedding in 2 years time. She had been sworn to secrecy about the whole thing, so predictably, she bottled up this huge secret for all of 24 hours before getting on the phone to her favourite Auntie to spill the beans. The Partner is congenitally incapable of keeping anything secret, so Eddy might just as well have taken out a full page ad in ‘The Guardian’. I think there may have been a fair bit of this going on because within another 24 hours Hannah had sent out a text message to the inner circle of friends and family announcing the glad news – news that most people probably already knew.
Being a complete Luddite where much of this new technology is concerned, I found this a fairly extraordinary step. To me the growth and dominant position of the whole texting thing in the lives of today’s youngsters is already something quite remarkable. It seems somehow to have led to an apparent inability to make firm arrangements; everything is fluid and interim – ‘I’ll text you when I’ve finished here’ I hear the Princess say to her mates on the phone. Then they text her back ‘Sorry got held up -txt U later’, so she sits down to watch a movie awaiting the next text, after which it’s usually ‘2 late now – txt U in the morning’ And so it goes on. Without wishing to get too fogey-ish about this, when I was that age, you arranged to meet someone on the steps of All Saints Church at 1230 and that was it.
Although I’m aware of my Luddite tendencies and try to embrace all this stuff (up to a point), I did find the decision to communicate something as life-changing as a decision to get married via a text message (with all its attendant abbreviations) quite startling.
To render things yet more complex, Matt’s proposal occurred at a time when (purely by chance) Hannah’s parents were on holiday in Greece, so perhaps he texted Adrian in Cephalonia to gain consent – ‘Pls can U give yr consent to Han & I getting hitched?’ The mind boggles…..
Actually, just to show that not everything can be facilitated via social networking sites, there will be a traditional Engagement Party here in Birmingham next weekend, so confused, elderly types like me will be able to make some sense out of it all…..
The second big event of the week came yesterday, with the Princess getting the results of her Finals. This, too, has become an event mediated via the Web. The Princess was up and about surprisingly early yesterday morning and trying – unsuccessfully to log on to her Uni website/intranet to get her results…..to no avail, so many of her peers were trying to do just the same that the site was continually crashing. By mid-morning, levels of anxiety were edging upwards just a fraction, especially when the Princess was fielding some incoming texts from colleagues who had managed to get through to obtain their results.
It was at this moment that the postman arrived and included in his delivery was an official looking envelope for the Princess. This was, of course, the snail-mail version of her results and for all that I was delighted that she got the 2.1 she was hoping for, I was also predictably and rather smugly amused that for all that she lives in a wired world of tweets and texts and e-mail, it was a far more traditional ‘platform’ that offered her the news that she wanted so badly.