Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting!

Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting! by Tommy Greenwald

Book: Katie Friedman Gives Up Texting! by Tommy Greenwald Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tommy Greenwald
somewhere else!”
    Everyone laughed and repeated the word phonies . All of a sudden we had a new nickname for the phone-users of the world.
    â€œIf we’re phonies,” Charlie Joe said, “then you’re cavemen. You’re living in prehistoric times.”
    â€œYeah, you’re cavemen,” Pete said. “You should probably leave now so you can start hunting for dinner.” Then he laughed way too loudly at his own joke.
    â€œOkay, enough you guys,” I said. “Charlie Joe, let’s not turn this into a big thing. You’re obviously entitled to your phones and your texting and whatever, just like we’re entitled to sit at lunch and have interesting conversations.”
    Charlie Joe raised an eyebrow. “So you’re saying people with phones don’t have interesting conversations?”
    I sighed. “I’m saying when everyone is staring down at the little device in their hands, there’s not a lot of connecting going on. Like right now. We’re disagreeing, we’re getting on each other’s nerves, but at least we’re connecting. Right? That’s what this week is all about.” I paused, because I wasn’t sure I should say what I was about to say. But then I said it anyway. “If it’s too intense for you, that’s fine. You can go back to your cat videos and Instagrams and Snapchats. What we’re doing isn’t for everyone. I get it.”
    Charlie Joe stopped smiling at that moment, and looked at me for a minute like he didn’t know who I was. “Wow, Katie. I never thought I’d see the day when you would actually say out loud that you thought you were better than me.”
    â€œI’m not saying I’m better than you,” I said. “Different, that’s all.”
    Charlie Joe shook his head slowly. The fun and games were over.
    â€œLet’s go, you guys,” he said. “The cavemen are too good for us. Let’s go back to the twenty-first century where we belong.”
    â€œYeah,” Timmy said.
    â€œLet’s,” Pete said.
    As we watched them walk away, Ricky muttered, “See ya later, phonies.”
    â€œPhonies!” Tiffany squealed, laughing. “What a hilarious nickname.”
    As everyone got busy congratulating one another for being so clever, I kept watching Charlie Joe. He was staring down at his phone, but I’m not sure he was reading anything. I felt bad. I felt good. I felt guilty. I felt proud. I felt happy. I felt sad. And I felt right.
    Communicating is complicated.

 
    32
    IT’S FOR YOU
    So it was official: There was an “us versus them” thing going on.
    The war escalated in language arts, when Ms. Kransky asked me and Jake to talk in front of the class about our decision to give up our phones.
    â€œI would like everyone to hear from these impressive young students, who have recognized a problem and are trying to do something about it,” she said. “We can all learn something from them.”
    Talk about a foolproof way to get everyone to hate you.
    Two minutes after we started talking about how great it was to sit at lunch and actually look at each other, among other wonderful things about a phone-free existence, an actual phone started ringing.
    Charlie Joe held his hand up.

    â€œI think I’m getting a call,” he said. He got out his phone. “Hello?” Charlie Joe listened for a second. Then he held the phone out toward me. “It’s for Katie.”
    â€œCharlie Joe, put that away,” Ms. Kransky ordered.
    Charlie Joe looked concerned. “What if it’s an emergency?”
    For a second I got scared. Could he possibly not be making a joke for once?
    â€œCHARLIE JOE!” commanded Ms. Kransky.
    â€œOkay, fine,” Charlie Joe said, putting away his phone. “But you get my point. If someone really did have something important to tell Katie, or Jake, or any one of the

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