New Gen- Even the word makes me cringe these days.
It immediately transports me four years back in time, to my pre-new gen aware self. A time when I naively believed that I was still a chic and trendy, misguided youth. A time when I believed that world was my oyster. Then to that day when my carefully cultivated happy bubble burst, leaving me with a bucket load of confused emotions.
It all began when a new intern started at my office as my junior. A young, nineteen year old. Chirpy and overly peppy- she was all things I wasn’t. Amongst a group of crusty, middle-aged team mates, this girl was a breath of fresh air. I immediately took her under my wings. We were going to have lots of fun, maybe turn into best office mates. After all- we were almost the same age. (Almost, being the operative word here.) What’s six years give or take in the grand scheme of things?
One fateful day, as we were having lunch, she casually asked me if I would like to join her for drinks or movies on a night out sometime? YES. It was that moment I had been waiting forever. Mentally pumping my fist in the air, I tried to appear casual, shrugged and said “Why not?”
A few days later, she sent me a text asking me if I would like to join her for a movie. First text from my BFO (bestie from office). Floating on a silver cloud, I replied immediately. Unlike her, I wasn’t adept at speed texting. My fingers wouldn’t fly over the keys. I had to hunt and pick my alphabets. Slowly, ever-so-slowly, I chose the right words. Finally, I pressed send.
Her reply : “LOL! Swicked. A bit slowmo here. C U f2f.”
Now, I wasn’t technologically challenged. I knew what LOL stood for- Laugh out loud. (In all honesty, for years, I thought it was Lots of Love.) But these words- Swicked? Slowmo? f2f? I convinced myself that they were typos.
My phone pinged again with another incoming message. Once again, I went through the motions. This was an unexpected Punishment. I pressed send with a sigh.
Another ping: This time a few random symbols. When I squinted and looked at them, it appeared like a cannon ready to launch. Or a not-so-poetic middle finger.
I texted: “I don’t understand.”
She pinged back: “That was a thumbs up.”
Oh, okay. Of course. That made total sense. Not really. But let’s move on.
A few minutes into this texting, my fingers began to ache. Still I soldiered on. At one point, I asked her something and got a ‘K’ from her. I felt a bit miffed at her response. She could’ve at least bothered to send a proper word. But hey, it was all part of female bonding, so I couldn’t gripe. Another few minutes into the ping-pong game of texting, I asked her something else. Her response , “Defo. G2G. B4N.”
Okay, that was it. I had no clue what this girl was on about. Maybe she was chemistry major and loved to talk about random chemical compositions. Maybe her spellings were appalling. Whatever the reason, I needed clarification if we were to take this friendship into Best-friends-forever level.
When I met her for dinner before movie, I subtly brought up the subject of her overusage of crazy acronyms. She laughed and told me that she often forgot the generation gap between us. That she would from then on make sure to ring me, as texting didn’t appear to be my core strength.
That my friends, was how I realised that while I was nursing massive delusions about my youth, I had been demoted from Gen Z to Gen Y.
These days I am a pro at texting. Online and texting acronyms are like second nature to me. I learned out of necessity and to an extent enjoy using them. But that day in that small Chinese restaurant, it will forever be etched in my memories. The day I realised that New Gen was a rare breed I did not belong anymore.
HAND- (That’s Have a Nice Day, in case you didn’t get it 🙂 )