Monday, 25 August 2003


Since the 1st of October last year I have kept a text message from my friend Silaja on my phone. All it says is "redwov?" The time was about 8.48am and when I received it, I was sleeping on the floor of my sister's living room, above The Branch Tavern, the pub of which she was co-manager. Si and I had had some sort of conversation about going back to uni and the reading that we had or hadn't done. She sent the first message and it was that which had woken me up, despite the efforts of my alarm clocks (note the plural). I could not work out what I had meant by "redwov" and had deleted my message to her as soon as I had sent it; she had deleted it too, so there was no way of finding out the context in which it was typoed. I promised myself then that I would keep her message on my phone until I could work out what it was I had meant. At times, that has been the only message in my Inbox - standing resolute - a symbol not only of that lost conversation, but also of our fading, forgotten friendship.

But, yesterday I worked it out. I have tried to think my way through it before, but have never succeeded. I repeated a tactic that I did not think would be any use: typing out the letters in predictive text to see what new combinations my Nokia would come up with. All it could think of (clever bunny) was "redwov", but we both knew that already. So I looked at the wee letters on the buttons and thought, "Maybe I meant to type two words and didn't put the space in between them..." Sure enough, typing out "Red wov" brought up straight away "See you". EUREKA! I had done it at last! I texted Si straight away in the dumb hope that she would be interested, or at least touched to hear from me. No reply as yet. No alarms. No surprises.

And another thing: there's this club in Oxford called Down Town Manhattan, which is known by everyone as DTMs. It's a dive, as far as I know: everyone complains about it, vowing never to return, but somehow, they always do. It's full of easy pulls, apparently, so it's a popular joint during Freshers' Week, and at the end of drunken nights when it seems like a good idea. You can usually get in for nothing with a sticker that says "I'm FREE at DTMs tonight". I've never been, and I'm hardly itching to pop that particular midnight cherry. Anyhews, if you type in "dtms" on your phone in predictive text, guess what you get: "dump"! How cool is that? I bet the Nokia engineers are on to something. Maybe it's one of those Easter Egg thingies, like you get on DVDs and shit.