I was pretty chuffed when I learned I could tweet (post to Twitter) from my really-basic cell phone a year and a half ago. It was right after Leaky had its April Fools thing where the site became “Hooter” for a day and displayed a long stream of “tweets” (“hoots”?) from the various book characters. Once I’d had a little practice logging in and out of Twitter, I decided I might as well sign up for my own account, even though my username of choice was taken (by someone who at that time had exactly one tweet… she’s using it more now, I noticed when checking it before posting this, and I’m glad it isn’t languishing in disuse). So I put an underscore in my name and registered… and shortly after that, registered my phone number on there and started texting the international Twitter number in England while walking down the street in ZZ!
Sometime that summer Twitter went onto the blocked list, shortly after YouTube and Facebook, if I remember correctly. I was kind of bummed but not too badly; I didn’t know anyone here nor any family who used it anyway (still don’t), and I could still send texts to tweet from my phone; for that matter, if I put the #FB tag on the end, I had a Facebook app that would transfer those to my Facebook status! Two for the price of one, the price being 1 yuan for an international text message. I had even used it to notify a friend in Chicago that my flight there from Beijing was delayed; I figured there was a good chance she’d notice my Facebook update when for some reason my attempt to send her a direct text message didn’t work. She did indeed see the update and thus wasn’t wondering where I was. Not bad at all. But eventually, the powers that be (and I don’t mean Paramount) apparently also blocked that phone number. Did you know they could do that? I didn’t know they could do that. But they did that, just about a year ago.
Since that time, there have been several tweets I’ve wanted to send while I was out and about. It’s tough to have the ability to instantly broadcast your thoughts to the world revoked, even if you’ve only had it for a short while and don’t have any reason to think that 99.9999999999999999% of the world is even listening. When those moments come up that make me reach for my phone, then stop and mutter “bother,” I’ve begun to think on other things.
One is a proverb that I have known for years was written with me in mind (though no doubt also with many many other people as well), which says that “a fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” How many times have I looked back on a conversation with someone and realized that I have acted like a fool, listening only enough to catch when it was my turn to reply? How can I change that? And how much do Twitter and sites like it encourage it? I even realized that I had bookmarked my own profile on Facebook rather than the “Home” page that gives me other people’s news – and the effort it took to get used to the change once I corrected it surprised me! No, the world does not revolve around me. There’s still a little bit of self-centered-ness in it even now, though, as I learned from Pee Wee Herman as a child that “you have to write a letter to get a letter,” and no matter how much I want to keep up with friends’ lives using these sites, many times my comment on their Wall or reply to their tweet is accompanied by a little thought of “maybe they’ll post/tweet something back to me!” How deeply selfishness is ingrained and entwined with our not-necessarily-bad need for connection with other people.
I also realized that, although I couldn’t share my moments with the world, the One who holds the world together is always there with me, and it’s as good a time as any to communicate with Him about that moment that just made my day or made me laugh or would make a good story if only I had someone to tell about it. It’s a small part of the answer to my question “How can I remember to talk to Him more?” and I can even use more than 140 characters!
And thirdly, I started texting my mother a bit more than I had been. Bless you, Mom, I dragged you into the world of text messaging against your will, and you’ve been such a peach about it! The first time you sent me a text message without me sending you one first had me smiling for days. I probably still have it saved on my phone if I dig back far enough, though I don’t know if I’d remember which one it was anymore.
I have posted below a few tweets I have either saved, sent to Mom or close friends, or just stored in my mind, moments that I’d still like to share with a wider audience but don’t feel the need to make a whole blog post out of, including several from this weekend’s teachers’ conference in Beijing.
10/24/09 12:15pm driving thru a place w “the best apples” and seeing piles & boxes & baskets & carts & trucks (& orchards) of them. field trip, please!!! #fb (*photos on facebook)
10/25/09 3pm i am walking round ledau yuan, a park/complex where used 2 b a mis compound/scl/hosp, then ww2 internment camp where e liddel died. #fb (*photos on facebook)
10/25/09 4pm “hstry s still unfolding, & your existence on this earth as a woman s proof that u have an irreplaceable role 2 play. u r a woman, r u not?” (*from the book Captivating by the Eldredges)
12/09/09 5:45am G is good, all the time. i’m still tired, but i’m glad to be alive. 🙂 i think i just found a new getting-up rap to start my day!
12/20/09 i ate my 1st baijimo in 5 mos just now. i’ve seen a ton of friends today. visited yarn mkt. tmrw c babies. HAPPY.
12/21/09 i visited the 6 babies who live in my old apt this afternoon. SO HAPPY! (*photos on facebook)
03/26/10 i am listening to my students argue about pokemon cannon, comparing diff vid games w the comics to settle whether 1 of the char’s can fly.
05/08/10 surreal bus tv: 2 avg-looking concert violinists+1 w mohawk (all fem)+chorus of warriors w maori spears,costumes&face paint, singing chinese
05/23/10 2 babies born this wk, & going to a joint shower for 2 more today. woah, so many babies! welcome Lizbeth & Judah!
06/10/10 8:20pm i have moved! cooked myself the extremely healthy dinner of mac&chs & started to learn which switch goes to whch lite. most conf! nitey-nite (*yes, I really went to bed at 8:20. it was a tiring day! I went to bed as soon as the sun was down for several days, in fact.)
07/14/10 9pm just went to a beach campfire w several families. we roasted marshmallows, talked, kids played, some of us sang as guitar played. splendid.
08/05/10 7:20pm this’s the end of my summer holiday. tmrw we start teacher meetings then sts come thurs. bittersweet
09/22/09 7:30am it is a BEAUTIFUL fall day!! thanks to the teacher work day I’m on the bus half an hour later than usual, enjoying blue sky w wisps of cloud
10/01/10 6am I’m a mom! The airline has the Green’s baby as mine, so we have to go through security together, our tkts have each other’s names on them.
10/03/10 3pm I have just registered for my first graduate course! for the math seminar I’m attending. reading & implementation to follow
10/04/10 2pm I’m an honorary aunt; the Green’s baby is on my tkt again. Symbiosis: my luggage is overweight but not when checked & averaged with theirs!
10/04/10 6pm Home again! Power ran out while I was gone; thankfully had money on the card to charge it right up again. Stella & I r happy to c each other