Monday, 5 May 2008

The Art of Punctuation

A few nights ago the Football Fanatic went out to her other job at the Manchester United television station. After the show, she and the girl she works with were going for a drink in town. Fine. See you later.

At 9 o'clock I got this text from her:

battery going fone

on way home

Normally, when she gets in a taxi she rings and talks to me all the way home. Obviously she was letting me know she was in the taxi, but couldn't ring with a low battery.

At quarter to ten she hadn't arrived. Since it it a fifteen minute journey from town in a taxi, I assumed that she must have decided to get the bus instead. I checked the bus times. There was one at twenty past nine, so if she had got it, she would be home any minute. At ten o'clock she still wasn't home. I checked the bus times again. The next one was at five past ten, which would get her home at half past. There was nothing else for it, but to wait till half past ten. And pray.

Half past ten came and went. It was an hour and a half since she had sent the message. Now, I know you have all come to realise that the Football Fanatic is somewhat of a dizzy blonde, BUT, I have to hand it to her, if she is ever delayed, or misses a bus, or is going to be home later than she said she would, she always lets me know.

At quarter to eleven I started making deals with God. By eleven o'clock, I was thinking about selling my soul to the devil. Then I started thinking that sooner or later I would have to do something. Like ringing round hospitals.

And then I found the number of the girl she had gone out with. I was in too much of a state by this time to speak to her, so I sent her a text:

Hi, it's FF's mum. Are you still out?

She replied:

No, I'm home in bed. Is everything all right?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, I swear I'll never do another thing wrong in my whole life if you'll just let her be safe and come home..........

I texted back:

No. FF's not arrived home.


She stayed behind with the others to watch extra time in the Chelsea match. Try this number.....and don't worry. She'll be okay.

Isn't it strange how quickly 'please just let her be safe' can turn into 'I'll kill her!'?

I rang the number I'd been given, still shaking, not caring how much embarrassment it was going to cause her having her mum ring her on someone else's phone.....there was a bit of scuffling about and laughing....and then....'Mum? What's the matter? Has something happened?'

Thank you God. It's my little girl. She's safe.

I think I cried. I managed to ask why she'd sent a text two and a half hours ago saying she was on the way home. And then she explained. You see, it's all in the punctuation. And texting teenagers have no use for punctuation. Just let them wait till they've got children. THEN they'll use full stops.

What the text should have said was:

battery going. fone on way home.

Which does put a slightly different slant on it, doesn't it?

And if you're still not convinced about the value of punctuation, try this one:

'A woman without her man is nothing'

or, put another way:

'A woman, without her, man is nothing'.


family affairs said...

Aren't they a nightmare? and completely bemused by how much we worry. Love the quote at the end...x

Manic Mother Of Five said...

So know that feeling. Poor husband nearly died Sautday morning when he went to peep at the daughter before going to work (6am this is) and found her bed empty. He checked her brothers room - she wasn't there and then he came into our room to see if she has crept in with me for a cuddle. Nothing..... He went back to the boys room and found her curled up at the feet of number 4 son.

Relief doesn't even cover it does it??!!

:-Daryl said...

AAAAAAAAARGH ... so glad she was okay .. so glad.


Working mum said...

OMG! I am not looking forward to this aspect of motherhood! I panic when I lose sight of her in the Early Learning Centre!

And kids wonder why we need punctuation?

Anonymous said...

Oh, you have me cracking up!! Only one who has felt the rising fear described could understand the humor. WHY do they do this to us?

At the same time, I love that kind of fierce love, don't you? It's scary, it's so overwhelming. But what a gift.

My middle daughter always tests poorly on spelling and punctuation. In too big of a hurry to care, evidently. If only I could "live in the moment" as well as she does.

But then again, I enjoy being able to communicate well. :)

Renae said...

Oh,Jackie - I somehow knew it would have a happy ending, but I teared up when I read that she was okay!!!!!

Tell her if I were there I would hug her, then strangle her!!!

(Then hug her again!)

Maggie May said...

Oh I sympathize. I have been there several times. The relief then the anger!

ciara said...

oh, there would have been hell to pay if that was my daughter (she's too young now). i would have taken that msg the same way. but yeah, anger, relief, then anger again along w a punishment lol

Katney said...

How odd! That that very quote is going to be used tonight by our reading coach in a parent meeting she is having. She was setting up in my library when I left school.

For a fun look at punctuation, read "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves". OR is it "Eats Shoots, and Leaves"? Whichever, it is really a fascinating book about punctuation--really!!!

I left the reading coach with the junior version.

Glad she got home safely. Been there, done that.

Claudia said...

The final phrase about punctuation... is the same our teacher used to explain us the use of punctuation in English! It always makes me smile!

Very nice blog indeed!

The Lehners in France said...

Please don't let Bob see this post! He calls me an apostrophe catastrophe. Everytime I do a new post he edits it for me. Amazing how much difference a little comma or full stop can make. Great post. Pud x

Amrita said...

What a scare. Thank God FF was safe. Darn that punctuation

DevonLife said...

fab post, agree with you on the rising panic front AND on the dying art of grammar.

CrazyCath said...

Oh my Jackie I have (and still do) experienced this! It is heart stopping. Punctuation is everything!

I also entirely agree that "Please let [him (in my case)] be safe" can change in a nano second to "I'll kill him"!

Great post. Never a truer word...
Oh - and glad she's ok. Have you come off the valium yet? *wink*

CrazyCath said...

Jackie - the above is a classic punctuation nightmare - but I claim typo.

I was not saying "Oh my Jackie.." like I own you. It SHOULD have read:

"Oh my! Jackie - "

(Egg on face...)

Frances said...

argh - been there done that.
But I know it's life's revenge, because when I gave birth to my darling daughter, my Dad said 'Well - I'm glad she's a girl and hope you will have to spend as much time trawling the streets at night looking for her....!" I should add that I grew up in a village but my daughter was born in London.... so I moved to the country asap! LOL
Still doesn't stop that hot panic, though... or the over-reaction or realising I've over-reacted....

Mean Mom said...

My youngest son is now 18, but, as recently as 12 months ago, I was walking the streets of our country town, at 1am, one morning, because, he should have been home, and he is usually so good at letting me know what he's supposed to be up to etc. I expected to find him lying in the gutter, having been set upon by a gang of youths, or something. Not that anything like that has ever happened, here, but there is always a first time, you know! Husband stayed at home. He said he would ring me if son turned up!!

I am all for punctuation. I'm not brilliant at it, but I do try.

Mean Mom said...

I won't leave a comment on the previous post, because I am not sure whether you check them, but congratulations to pig in the kitchen on winning the prize! I hadn't noticed, or picked up on the fact, that you were choosing the winner at random. I thought that you were judging.

What's been keeping you so busy, then? Are we going to find out, or is it none of our business??

ExpatKat said...

I feel your pain, Jackie!

Akelamalu said...

My heart was in my mouth reading that MOTL having been through all of those emotions at some time. For the want of putting a full stop in the right place.........

Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh yuk, I was feeling very sick as i read that. I'm so pleased it was all in da lingo. loved the 'deals with god' and the quick shift to i'll kill her!

GoneBackSouth said...

Hello Mother's Pride. It's good to be back. And thank heavens she was safe - no wonder you were panicking. Maybe you should buy her that brilliant book about grammar, called: "Eats, Shoots and Leaves".

Grit said...

thank you motl for once again showing me what the future holds. i am off to prepare a lesson in commas right now.

Kit Brookside said...

Greeeeaaaat....there's something to be said for those sneaky GPS keychains that you can apparently buy for your children....or maybe we could "chip" them like they do for beloved pets? Well, okay - maybe that's a little too "X-Files" and/or Book of Revelation-y

In any event, I will pray for FF to have a daughter just like her. (My mother has assured me this has worked for her regarding both my sister and me.)


Jeni said...

Yep, sure do agree big time with you on the worry aspect with kids! Definitely makes you start wishing that someday they too will have children who will, inevitably, pull the same stunts on them and THEN, they'll understand about the worry issues!
And the sentence about woman and man? I definitely believe it should be "Woman, without her, man is nothing!"
I'm right, you KNOW I am, don't'cha?

scrappysue said...

man, i don't know how you waited til 11 o'clock! but i'm a total panic merchant! i am hopeless at punctuation and my girls give me a hard time, but i think i will make more of an effort now!!!

teenagers!!!!! just they wait til THEY have them! trouble is, i'll probably be too senile to gloat!

Milla said...

brilliant, scary, funny, excellent. Lots of commas, all for you.

Suburbia said...

I have all that to come . It all looks a bit scary.

Carolyn said...

Awesome, excellent, great, post. Glad. FF. Was. Safe!!

(Milla stole my idea... I wanted lots of punctuation too, just to fill you up.)