THE other day on the train to work, I received a text message from my granddaughter Eilidh which read: “Hi N. Wld it b ok to stay at YP next WK? LOL…… JK. Just Saturday wld b GR8. SPK to u L8R. xxx”

Well, I stared at this short message for ages trying to decipher the young people’s text code – I had learned shorthand and was familiar with abbreviations – and I deciphered most of the message until the end. “Hi nana, would it be ok to stay at your place next week? Laugh out loud. Just kidding. Just Saturday would be great, Speak to you…”

But “L8R” didn’t make any sense at all.

I kept repeating L8R over and over in different tones, but still couldn’t work it out, until I showed it to my commuter pal, Jackie.

“It means ‘later’,” she confirmed.

And for the life of me I still couldn’t see how she got it.

“It’s another language, Janice,” she said.

“And I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it more and more difficult keeping up with technology and young people’s jargon.”

“You’re right,” I agreed.

“Young ones seem to be so much savvier than we ever were.”

And then I told her of a work night out with half a dozen young colleagues. Of course, on the way to the pub I stopped at the cash machine as normal, but when it came to pay for our drinks, I threw in my £20 note and everyone else got out their mobile phones.

“Oh, we just bank transfer the money, Janice,” Suzie explained.

“I pay the bill with the app on my phone, and everyone else transfers money using their mobile into my bank account.”

“Can you imagine us on a girls’ night out bank transferring money to each other, Jackie?”

Then I told her of my recent shopping trip with my daughter Jenna as she had insisted we went to one of the giant sports shops to look for new trainers. However, I started browsing myself and a pair caught my eye.

“Can I have these in a size three please?” I asked the assistant, who looked about 12.

A few minutes later she returned with them and offered: “Try them on and if you need anything else, give me a shout.”

But as much as I huffed and puffed, I couldn’t squeeze my foot into one of them.

“Excuse me,” I beckoned her over.

“Can I have a shoehorn?”


She had a vacant look on her face.

“A shoe what?”

“A shoehorn to help me get these on?”

No response.

“How embarrassing, mum,” Jenna said.

“She’s too young to know what a shoehorn is.”

“Well, we are in a shop which sells footwear.”

My argument fell on deaf ears, and I never did see a shoehorn.

I then told Jackie about some chit-chat I overheard between a couple of girls in their late teens who were discussing the latest iPhone.

“Have you ever seen one of those phones old people used to use?” Then she added: “You know, the ones with the big dial on the front which sat on a table?”

Her friend had no clue what she was talking about, so she brought up a picture on her mobile, which she stared at before asking: “And, you say you had to put your finger in the dial thing and drag it round for every number?”

The youngster was astounded at this piece of ancient telephony.

“Yep, that’s how they made a call in the olden days.”

At this point Jackie added: “One of the young guys in my office can only tell the time on a digital clock, but not on an analogue one.”

Apparently, Jackie had pointed to the office clock high up on the wall to let him know it had stopped, but her colleague informed her that it wasn’t a problem because he couldn’t tell the time on it anyway!

Just as we were having a chuckle at the antics of the younger generation, who we felt were way ahead the game, our attention

was drawn to teenagers sitting nearby.

Both were smartly dressed in school uniforms and had books and jotters on their laps.

“So, does that mean we need to take 30 from 87?” one asked the other.


“So that’s emm...” The confused youngster was chewing on her pen.

“30 from 87 is...”

Her pal was just as clueless.

“30 from 87 is...”

Neither could work this simple sum out in their head, until...

“We’ll use the calculator on my mobile.”

“Good idea, because we need to multiply the answer by 10, and I can’t do that either without a calculator!”

I nudged my pal.

“You see, Jackie, we might be dinosaurs in today’s world, but we can still tell the time wherever we are, we’ve never forgotten our times tables and we can still buy a round, even if our mobile dies!”