About a month ago I purchased an overly-sensitive, overpriced, needy, demanding, uncomfortable piece of baggage otherwise known as a smartphone. I don’t think I’ve ever hated any gadget this much. This phone is so irrelevant to me that I’ve stopped carrying it out of sheer rebellion. I miss my little black cellphone which fit perfectly into my jeans pocket. This unwieldy 3 x 5 ½ slab of hardware is annoying in my pocket when I bend down to pick up litter every few feet on my walks, a time it seems wise to have a phone. It doesn’t fit into the side pocket of my purse either.
Once a year when our contracts are up we holdouts have to decide whether we can tolerate another year of shame. Of not looking smart. (I saw what I’ve always thought was a homeless guy with one the other day—I guess he couldn’t take it either). I’ve never seen such pressure to conform in my lifetime. I feel like a sellout. I’m more ashamed that we’re now paying double what the cellphones cost per month than I was about pulling out the little black antique in public.
I hate texting, hate seeing people’s heads always pointed down, or seeing phones poised over steering wheels. I work two jobs, alone, and the people I do communicate with deserve a phone call or email. I found out I don’t need to check my email when I’m not home, don’t like screen games, don’t need GPS (I love maps—the journey, ya know?), and, it’s a pain in the ass always digging around for my reading glasses to see the screen. How do all you middle-aged presbyopics deal with this?
This month the must-have apps promise success of your new year’s resolutions. Well first of all new year’s resolutions are lame—you don’t really take them seriously, you just think you have to proclaim them because everybody else does. Why wait until January 1? We all needed to drop twenty pounds last August, but we get a free five-month fat pass? Here’s a great app for you—self-control.
I’m amazed at the cultural pressure to have an active social life whether you want it or not. And in between girls-night-out and guys-over-to-watch-the-game, you’re supposed to stay connected. There’s a not-so-subtle discrimination against people not on Facebook or other social media. Are people that terrified of being alone with their thoughts, their job, a book, a movie, a pet? Do modern humans need to report in every time two neurons complete a synapse?
My cell phone was one tough little simpleton, it could go days without a charge. This one is a whiny little wuss. Every time I look at it it’s down another 20%. It’s harder to use than is necessary. Emergency or not, I’d still have to find a pair of reading glasses. The screen is always flipping around, the keypad disappears, it nags me with updates, it’s always filthy. It tells me I’ve entered my password incorrectly or have done something that makes it impossible to retrieve a voice mail. So I hold the phone like it’s a turd, careful not to touch anything.
People say once you have one, you won’t be able to live without it. Anything’s possible I guess. Why just the other day I saw my dogs out in the yard with plastic bags and little shovels picking up their own poop. Now that’s smart.