Denny hands me my mail. I’m working on my novel in the bedroom. I toss the mail on the bed and check a recent text message. I am trying to remember something Denny told me about why some of my phone texts are in a blue bubble and some are in green bubbles. It has something to do with when I’m using data and when I’m not. I ask Denny to explain it to me again.
“The blue messages are when you are communicating between iphones.
“If you are in the States make sure you have your airplane mode turned off so that you can connect to the internet.
“Just think of it as talking between two computers. You can do this by just using your cell phone data plan or you can use wifi. Data and wifi are the same thing in the sense that they’re both ways of connecting to the internet.”
This is revelation to me.
“They are not the same at the front, but the end result is the same. It’s like a car or a motorcycle. They are the same, but they’re not. If you can’t drive your car then you use the motorcycle. The wifi is the car. The data is the motorcycle. The road is the internet. You want to get on the road. SMS does not use data.”
“I think it’s Simple Message System. SMS does not use your data system. It just uses your regular phone service. Not the data portion of your service. Most of the time when someone says ‘text message’ that’s what it is. When someone says ‘Instant message,’ that is a generic term referring to internet messaging, examples of which are Hangouts, iMessage , Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Whatsapp, etc. There’s endless varieties of messaging services.
“Your cell phone provides two services. One is a phone service and the other is the data service. They are two different technologies. Phone service is old school. It’s been around since before you and I were born. Data is internet technology. It’s fairly new. They are two different things. They don’t overlap. When it gets confusing is when they try to use them together. Like Voice over IP. Voip is when you are using the internet to connect to the old phone technology. You just have to know when you use the phone and when you use the internet. Then it’s not confusing.”
My mind is whirling. But I think I’m starting to get it.
“All wifi is, is a wireless way to connect into a network. It is a network that is linked to the internet. Data is your cellphone’s way of connecting into the internet.”
Denny is patient with me. He has spent a long time learning this stuff. It interests him. And he likes explaining it.
I pick up my mail off the bed. A Sears bill, an ICBC notice—time to renew my car insurance, a Voting Package from Transit. Transit wants to slap on a five percent tax hike and they are under the illusion that tax payers will vote yes to an increase. They are working hard to convince us this would work in our favor by bringing more business downtown, in the evenings, after work. Seriously. Head downtown after a long commute from work? Supposedly, if there is less congestion, more busses, more sky trains, we’ll all head out for the evening. Those of us who commute to work because we can’t afford to live downtown.
The public is already disgruntled about the tolls we have to pay on two recently constructed bridges. Transit is supposed to be getting their, or rather, our money from the tolls. And what did I read this week? The CEO of Transit is making more money than our Prime Minister?
I turn the envelope over and see instructions on the back. I notice the envelope is printed upside down. The flap is on the bottom. If you can’t get a simple thing like that right for a mass mailing, that is a definite indicator of incompetence.
“Today is the day I throw out my shoes. And start wearing my other ones. Seven months. There you go. Seven months. These ones I have not yet worn through the soles. I have holes in the toes and holes on the side and they are falling apart on the inside.”
Denny is holding up his shoes for me to see and pointing to the toes, sides and inside.
“So if I get my shoes on sale they cost me about ten dollars a month. If I don’t get my shoes on sale, then they cost me about twenty dollars a month. So I’ll do the same thing again. I’ll look for a pair that’s on sale for ten dollars a month and I’ll keep them until it’s time to wear them.”
Denny watches his money carefully.
I open my MasterCard bill. This is revelatory. Last month I spent indiscriminately, frivolously. Not on clothes. On things I didn’t need. I bought tickets for a friend’s CD release. I footed the bill for Denny’s birthday dinner at Memphis Blues. I filled a grocery cart with delights for the grandkids. I purchased four books at Chapters, and I bought all the art supplies for a project featured at DeSerres! What a month! Now I have a five hundred dollar bill.
There was an item on the bill for five dollars. A small gift that cost me fifteen dollars to mail. It was for my great niece. A few weeks ago she sent me a popsicle stick “doll” with a photo of her face pasted on it. It was a school project. I was to take the doll with me and show her where I live.
The doll and I went on an adventure. I took pictures and wrote little comments on a colorful templates and printed the pages at Staples. Along with the photos I enclosed a 3-D foam puzzle of ballerinas on a pink stage. I just got a text message in a blue bubble saying that I am the “best auntie ever.”
Denny is making noises in the kitchen. All kinds of clattering and chopping sounds, an occasional scraping of metal against metal—the cast frying pan, the whir of the garburator.
I smell the onions frying. Onions and hash browns and eggs are on the menu. I already have my latte, specially delivered by Denny, bright and early.
Writing is going well this morning.
A few minutes later Denny brings me my plate. I’ve now moved to the living room. I look down and see there is a decorative tomato, sliced cross-wise to look like an blossoming flower, and, unexpectedly, I get an emotional feeling. I blink my eyes. This grown man tries so hard to please me.