Lost in Translation
By Lauren Green
Illustration by Jennifer Hart
If you receive a text from me, be forewarned; they tend to be wordy, detailed and rambling.
With a quick tap of the microphone icon, I dictate my messages directly into my phone. “Succinct” is rarely an adjective used to describe my communication style, so the ability to speak a text is liberating, to say the least.
I send countless texts any given day, yet Siri continues to misconstrue my hybrid multistate accent. Consequently, my spoken words often get transcribed into interesting, if not eye-opening, translations. It behooves me, then, to read over my messages before pressing the send button. But sometimes, circumstances just aren’t conducive for preemptive proofreading.
Take, for instance, one morning during February’s national-newsworthy weather event. I bundled up and took my snow-loving dog on a walk along the greenbelt that runs through the center of our neighborhood. The temperature outside registered a mere 16 degrees, but the sun was shining and the wooded landscape was breathtaking. After spotting a puffed-up bluebird in the branches overhanging the frozen creek, I found myself feeling a little awestruck at bearing witness to such quiet beauty. All warm and fuzzy along that frozen path, I wanted to share the moment with the rest of the family nestled at home, so I dug out my phone, activated the voice feature and fired off a text.
Because 16 degrees is not kind to exposed skin, I nixed the proofreading in order to get my fingers gloved as quickly as possible. I was returning the phone to the insulated pocket of my green puffy vest when I saw the opening line: Thanking of you this morning. Thanking? A misuse of that word, but fitting since I was, in fact, simultaneously thinking and thankful. Good one, Siri.
“I SEND COUNTLESS TEXTS ANY GIVEN DAY, YET SIRI CONTINUES TO MISCONSTRUE MY HYBRID MULTISTATE ACCENT. CONSEQUENTLY, MY SPOKE WORDS OFTEN GET TRANSCRIBED INTO INTERESTING, IN NOT EYE-OPENING, TRANSLATIONS”
Something else I was giving thanks for on that frosty morning was my aforementioned puffy vest. I can’t tell you how many times it came in handy that frigid week following Valentine’s Day. I had purchased it on a whim at one of our local nonprofit thrift stores. I love that we have several here whose proceeds do all sorts of good for people in the community. It’s justification, of course, for leaving with what is usually an armful of serendipitous finds. On this particular visit, I was on the hunt for a Valentine’s certsie for my husband. A certsie, for those of you not familiar with my hometown vernacular, is a little something special. Like thanking, certsie is another creative word that frequently makes its way into my text-message dictations.
As is often the case, thrift stores and certsies go hand in hand. And after snagging two heart-shaped coffee mugs, a flash of emerald caught my eye. Always on the hunt for Dragon green, I made my way over to what ended up being the puffy vest. I wanted it but thought perhaps it was too late in the season to get much use from it. (Little did I know, right?) Luckily for me, it was priced less than the fancy latte I was holding in my hand, so into the shopping cart it went.
Two weeks later, I more than got my money’s worth from my purchase. Countless times during that blustery week, I found myself thanking of how grateful I was for that thrift-store treasure and for its previous owner, who had given it up despite it being in great condition with fluff and puff in all the right places. Best of all, it was the gorgeous, verdant color of a Texas spring. It ended up providing just what I needed that bitter-cold week: sustenance for the moment and a promise of the new season.
Hopefully, by the time you read this article, spring will be on full display. More than likely I’ll be sitting outside sipping my morning coffee, thanking of how much I love my thrift-store heart-shaped mug and the plants that miraculously survived those subzero temperatures. And I’ll be especially thanking of that woman who generously donated the green puffy vest, the most surprising certsie of the season.
Now if only I could send her a thank-you text.
Lauren Green, a native of Kentucky, has lived in Southlake with her husband and two children for 13 years. In addition to her work at home, she’s also an active volunteer in the community.