02/13/2008 02:56 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Instant Gratification for the Ages

My son, Randy, said he g2g but he'd brb.

I felt abandoned until he explained he had to go but would be right back.

It raised some of the generation gap insecurities I feel. Mothers of America can empathize. Teens and twenty-somethings like Randy can IM each other and say, "My mom makes me rofl [roll on the floor laughing]. She uses whole words and phrases." In fact, he told me he and his friends were talking about what it must have been like when there wasn't so much instant gratification. He didn't say "in the olden days," but I'm sure he wanted to.

Everything is faster today. Last week's "super" days were no exception. People wanted to know the Super Bowl score before the game was played and how many delegates the candidates had while Super Tuesday polls were still open. The Potomac Primaries were decided before the polls opened.

"Shorthand" was a must when I was in school for all aspiring women in business (translation: secretary). I remember the first Telecopier in our office, when something could be transmitted across the country in just six minutes via smelly paper. I can still recite our Telex number. Then mail could be "expressed" overnight, and we could call a number to find out when it would be delivered. What could be next?

I'm trying to keep up.

I don't know if I'm supposed to lol [laugh out loud] or IM Randy :)) [smile] when he says something funny. I'm sure it's not proper to tell him he makes me lmbo [laugh my butt off]. I'm the mother.

I recently texted "idc" instead of "idk," and further compounded my lacking-in-techiness by calling to apologize for "I don't care" instead of "I don't know" instead of recalling and sending :-* [kiss]. I'm glad Emily Post missed it.

Why is >:

The fact that there are IM symbols for drooling, smug, devil, phbbbbt and cowboy tells me the generation gap is widening quickly. None of those were in my copy of 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary. I also can't imagine suggesting today's IM-ers study a word a day. They would probably think I was :-S [confused], a 8-| [nerd] or just (sigh) old.

Multi-tasking isn't new. We Baby Boomers were brought up on multi-tasking, and we're very good at it. After all, one of us must have invented the phrase.

What we have learned, though, is that, as we get older, it might not be so bad to "waste time" being a little less high-tech. We're not going to toss out our computers or email accounts, and our phones and PDAs will keep encouraging IMs and emoticons. But there's a lot to appreciate and taking a little more time to take it in isn't all bad.

And I guess we did have our own code for the equivalent of "Parent over my shoulder, so watch what you say" [POS].