Thursday, November 13, 2008

i...Am Scared By My Phone


(enter angelic choir sound from above)

My new phone.

Look at this. No really, look at this thing. Did you know it has the ability to start my car, bake warm pumpkin bread and make a hot cup of coffee? And for no extra fee it will also make your bed?

Did you know?

Neither did I. More importantly, if it can do that I have no idea how to make it happen because there are just too many features and buttons on this phone!

(it's important to note that Boss really likes this phone, I can tell because he's doing that little thing where he sits on his butt and claps his paws together - that means "me likey")

Finally I have caved and joined the dark side. The side of being forever connected with no excuse of – I wasn’t around my computer today. There’s no internet connection. I was on vacation and needed a break.

No excuse now. I’m on. I’m connected. It’s like I’m right there with you in your living room.

AH! Did you feel that? I just poked you in the side.

This phone is a necessary evil. I get emails. Lots of emails. Sometimes I am away from my laptop all day, come back and find this insane email explosion in my inbox. Workout notifications, athlete confessionals, questions and beloved spam from filtering 3 email addresses into one account. I had to turn off the Facebook notifications just to stop more of the madness. Or at least slow it down.

I heard about this iPhone thing a few weeks ago. Jen Harrison, she who didn’t even know how to retrieve voicemails from her cell phone, caved and got one. Soon enough she was firing off emails from it. And if Miss Daisy can pick it up that quickly, well, I considered that…


When I make a decision I usually act quick. No need to stew about something and make a list of the pros and cons. Just do it already. Git R Done. Good as done it was. Wednesday night I headed over to the Apple store to pick up my new phone.

It seemed easy. Too easy. You mean you just steal a few bits of personal information from me and it’s done? That’s it? What about Verizon. Won’t they be pissed off? Should I send them a card? All I know is that right now I have two phones, one that might work but shouldn’t work and one that if it rings I would have no idea how to pick it up.

The clerk handed over the phone to me and that was it. That was it? Isn’t there a tutorial? Shouldn’t someone show me at least how to turn it on. Oh no! It is on and it’s already chirping. What the hell does that mean!?

On the way home I announced to Chris that the end of his wife as he knows her has begun. The little attention he already gets (sharing attention with the dog) has just become smaller. My attention span has just decreased about 99.9 percent and any hope of having a serious conversation without me looking out the corner of my eye at the phone – that just died.

He seemed ok with this saying you need this Liz, this will make things easier.

I didn’t pay him to say that. But I did pay a damn lot for the phone so I would expect husband compliance is just part of the package deal!

On the way home I figured out how to sync my email. No sooner did it start chiming to signify new message. No sooner did I learn how to turn that silly noise off. And every other noise. Just a ring tone. And I chose some that sounded like dueling banjos that I really should be dancing to.

By the way – did I mention that the other night Chris and I were revisiting our high school square dancing days in the kitchen? Did anyone else have to suffer through several years of square dancing? If so, I challenge you to a dance off of promenade, bend the line, rip and snort, do-si-do, aleman left with an aleman right. We practiced them all.

Back to the phone. Do you see – it’s happening. My attention span. Going, going, GONE. Too much information, too quick, too many buttons, switch it up, shared attention. I probably should start taking meds just in case.

Next up – applications. I heard about these applications. So I checked out the store online. Of course I added Facebook – fun. Then I added Map My Ride – even more fun. Then I got overwhelmed. I’m not paying for anything else but still there were so many free apps I didn’t know where to start.

Good thing I have friends! Because they suggested all sorts of useful things like the Light Saber application. I checked it out – wondering if it was maybe some type of useful light that would help me find dropped keys in the car or items in my tent on Ragbrai. No, nothing like that. It’s an application that turns your phone into a light saber. Nothing shouts Star Wars dork like Your phone = Light Saber. Complete with sound effects. Really? Where would I need that? Then I remembered that most of my friends work office jobs. If I worked in an office again and had to sit through a Wednesday weekly Death By Meeting I would totally want that.

Today I entered my contacts into the phone. That was painstakingly long and made me rethink my contact list. The good news is that friends and family made it on the list. The bad news is that should I need a doctors appointment I would not know who to call. It just took too long to type the names out.

I am wondering how to remove the STOCKS button from my phone. I looked at it today and noticed everything had a minus sign in front of it. That’s not good news so do I really need to see it unfold? The little graph looked like a bike course with a mostly downhill grade. Is there an option to ride that course and forget the stocks?

Check this out. I just turned on my Ipod. Which also happens to be my IPHONE! It’s playing music!

Need directions? I got them. Want to know the cosine of 3rsquared? I’m on it. How about the weather in Sao Paulo? Give me a moment. Anything else you might be searching on the world wide web? At my fingertips. Literally.

All of this information, all the time, it’s no wonder we are all not smart enough to take over the world. Maybe that should be my next season’s goal? Because I certainly have anything I would need at my disposal to get the job done.

(I know, I know, except the genetic predisposition for it, you got me there)

For as much as this phone connects and enhances me – it also makes me a bit sad. This is what our world has come to in a sense. Instant connection, a nonstop barrage of information and contact. Whatever happened to writing a note and passing it up a line of sleepy 6th graders during Language Arts class to say something to our best friend. What about pen pals. Or sending a card. Have the little things that built anticipation in our lives completely disappeared? It seems that we do not have to wait for anything anymore. And I wonder if this has taken some of the meaning away from the little things. A furtive glance. Face to face contact. A smile. Can email talk?

The other day Chris was asking why I don’t email him during the day. He says you work at home, you talk with others…what about me? It was a good question and I didn’t have an excuse. Except that I would rather experience the face to face, waiting to tell a story until I can use my own voice, hear his words, interpret his reaction. There are some things that email and technology cannot replace.

I wonder if reality is dying or if what is real isn’t really real anymore. Our real world is being replaced by one inside of our computer and phone. In a sense, our technologies and objects dilute our meaning of reality. I’m going a little postmodern on you here but was Baudrillard right? Is the line between real and virtual so blurred that it becomes hyperreal. And what does the iPhone represent? Is it just a phone or is it something more? Is it a communication tool or a gateway to understanding, to never being alone, to the feeling of control – we have everything we “need” right at our fingertips.

I don’t know. Am I’m not sure I have the time to think about it because I’ve got to figure out how to answer this phone.

And keep it away from my dog.


brandon said...

Jeez! Did you buy some Apple stock or something?

Enjoy your new phone. Check out the Shazam app, you'll think it's the coolest.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Yippee! Love it that you send me an email last night gleefully, "IPhone, Iphone!" like you won the lottery. TRUST me, I put it off as long as I could - and then I had this moment where I am like, "THIS IS NUTS" I need to get out of my house and away from my laptop - and then after I had an excuse to get a new phone (after my old one was ruined), I did it. And, I LOVE I can be out and be plugged in at the same time. It is a dirty toy though b/c I find myself at swimming practice and then getting out and checking the phone - I mean WHO needs to do that? I am not delivering babies! ENJOY! And, you can help me with some of the apps too - I am MISS Daisy and a little slow still.
Jen H. :)

Molly said...

I'm cracking up at that picture of Boss and picturing him getting excited by your new phone :)

And OMG YES!!!! I too had to suffer through square dancing in grade school. Some things are best left forgotten...

Greyt Times said...

Make sure to keep the "Sent from my iPhone" tag on there so everyone knows you are taking time for them while busy doing other things. You know....other everything you do and shouldn't be checking email at the same time but now you can so you do and even respond because you are that obses--er, dedicated. :)

Andrea said...

Please don't stop sending the paper cards- I love getting them!-in exchange for e-cards.

I can't believe you said, "Git R Done".

Cat said...

where the hell did you go to high school!?!

oh ... and just for balance, i will continue to send you snail mail each month.

you're welcome. ; )


Jessi said...

Three things:

1. Language Arts! Yes!

2. So, I assume you broke your contract with Verizon to get the iPhone? Curious because I would have to do the same... I am contemplating iPhone, but might end up with Blackberry Storm because I don't want to deal with canceling Verizon.

3. Paper cards? If Andrea is your athlete I am very jealous and insist on a paper card too!! If she is not your athlete then I am only mildly jealous.

Maggs said...

Too funny. I am picking up my iPhone this afternoon. I'm sure I'll quickly become addicted/overwhelmed. You pup looks very interested in yours.

Anonymous said...

oh, so maybe you wil call me sometime stranger!! HaHa

Cy said...

Initially, I wasn't the biggest fan of the iphone (it was a gift from my gadget loving husband), but now I'm totally hooked.

I'm sure Boss will enjoy the 'MORE COWBELL' App :-)

kerrie said...

i need one! can it babysit?

Meredith said...

I love my iPhone, but I'm with you, I still enjoy real human interaction. I get so mad at parents when they're children are at dinner or some other function with them and their parents are on the flippin' phone. People! These are your children!

And I appreciate the fact that you sent me a real note through the mail. Nothing is better than getting something through the mail that is not a bill or junk.

rr said...

I need one. Tell Santa. Tell my husband. It's not a LUXURY, it's a NECESSITY.

Have fun :)

GoBigGreen said...

I didnt take my Ipod Touch out of the case for about 3 mos. And mine doesnt even have a PHONE on it!
Good luck!