My old phones continue to provide me with small thrills: the Verizon loading screen lighting up, accompanied by a jingle; the grainy selfies taken with my first front-facing-camera phone; and the texts that meant so much to some other me.
The way I see it, there are a multitude of reasons to be pissed at me. I'm always late, I have no control OVER THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE, I interrupt you when you're talking to me, I'm missing the chip in my brain that censors what comes out of my mouth, and I hate talking on the phone, so I will usually return your phone call with a text.
I'm a pretty annoying person, I fully admit that.
So why, why, WHY?! Has the world of late chosen my lack of a smart phone as a point of contention? How is this personal? Is your dad Clarence P. iPhone? Will Santa choke on the Easter Bunny if I don’t get a smart phone?
I get it, we're a society happily snuggled in bed with technology. It makes us feel safe, connected and personable. We can all relate on the level of Facebook, and Twitter makes the world go round. We get our invites, our updates, our news, even our breakups (yessss!) via social networking and the interweb. Yes, it is important. We are dependent. The Internet is very pretty and your smart phone is a strapping young lad.
I swear I don’t shun technology. I’m not Amish. I am a Facebook addict. I would rather text or email you any day of the week, rather than have to talk to you over the phone. I’m writing for xoJane for crap’s sake. OBVIOUSLY I’m not some weirdo-hippie commune-freak show stringing together tin cans to make a Hello-Phone. I’m down, I’m in bed, let’s snuggle.
But I do draw a line. And that line is the smart phone. I refuse.
This is what pisses people off. I’ve had close friends get pink-in-the-face angry with me over my anti smart phone -- or pro Stupid Phone -- life. Allow me to address some of their extremely indignant arguments below.
“But then people will always be able to get in touch with you!”
How is this a selling point? Seriously? Don’t touch me.
I like that when I decide to peel my ass off the couch and actually interact with the outside world, that is all I’m doing. My focus is on eating pizza with you, not splayed five different ways, answering emails and Facebook and Twitter and Gchat and HagBot (Hagbot is the website I just made up for the hygienically challenged female who shuns technology. And robots. Oh the irony!).
Maybe I’m being a little more obstinate than is absolutely necessary, but I will get back to you on MY terms. If your ass is really on fire THAT MUCH, call me. And I’ll text you back.
I hate that in the past decade or so, immediate response has become not only the norm, but expected. If your boss, boss-like entity, or even your friend emails you, and you do not email them back within 30 minutes, it’s assumed that a) you are dead b) you are irresponsible or c) you don’t care and thusly might as well be dead.
I once had an employer email me at 10am regarding a potential gig the next week, email me at 10:15am, then Gchat message me at 10:30am. I could not answer any of these messages because I was working at another job that very morning, and I was away from my computer. When I finally responded to the employer by 11:30am he sounded anxious and sweaty. “LOUISE! When you wouldn’t respond to my emails I started looking for someone else! THANK GOD YOU FINALLY RESPONDED! Did you check your phone?”
Let me remind you that I’m not a brain surgeon. Or an FBI Agent. Or the star of “Granny Lou’s Talk ‘n’ Squawk” the daily talk show where future geriatrics talk about how much they hate everything. I’m relatively unimportant. In what world is a one-hour window of response time freakout-inducingly slow?
I blame smart phones.
“What do you do when you’re bored? If you had a smart phone you could play games!”
Have you ever been at a restaurant and you see a table full of people all with their heads bent over their phones? Not talking, not enjoying the awkward silence, not trying to bridge the awkward silence with talking, just playing Angry Birds. I hate this even more when I’m the only person at the table not playing a game. And no, it’s not because I don’t have a game to play, it’s because, I dunno, I naively thought we had gathered together to talk and laugh with our mouths.
When did it become socially acceptable for people to play Words With Friends at dinner? The Guy I Married will, no problem, play Words With Friends while we’re out to dinner, and when I get all up in his shit about it, he always responds with an indignant, “Just a minute! I gotta play my turn! Lily is beating me by 30 points!” I don’t care.
When did everybody become a phone zombie? Mindlessly trudging through life, just trying to get to their next high score or bonus round fix?
“How do you survive without GPS?”
I do just fine thank you very much. I do it the old-fashioned way -- I learn my city.
It blows my brain when I get into a car with someone and they whip out their smart phone to GPS the 7-11 that is five minutes away. If I give even a moment’s pause as to whether I turn left or right, Smart Phone Friend will be asking, “Do you need me to look it up? Do you? Do you? Do you?”
Where did this ball-clutching fear of problem solving or even basic thinking come from? I know people who have lived in Los Angeles for a few years and because they use their GPS to find everywhere they go, don’t know the city from their own ass. When they inevitably lose their phones, I find them curled up and rocking in a Starbucks bathroom mumbling, “Redirecting…redirecting…redirecting…”
I’m not afraid of GPS. There have been times, I admit, it has gotten me out of a bind. However, when I’m unsure of how to get somewhere, I’m perfectly content with using Google Maps or my preferred map-finding site, GASP! -- Mapquest! And if I REALLY get lost, and I honestly rarely do, I’m not afraid to ask for directions. Frankly, I have found these means to be much more reliable than a smart phone’s GPS. How many times have I been driving around in circles with a Smart Phone Friend while their phone either erroneously directs us over a cliff or is stuck “recalculating”?
Maybe it’s not the best way for everyone, but it works for me. I’m not ripping your smart phone out of your hand and handing you a Mapsco Map (remember those?), so why can’t you let me keep my Stupid Phone and Mapquest?
I just don’t understand why people care sooooo much about my mobile talking/texting apparatus. It makes calls, it sends texts, AND it holds a charge for two whole days! Take that smart phone population! What’s that? You can’t hear me? Your phone is dead? Suck it!
Why the insistence? I’ve never tried to get you to convert to the dark ages. I’ve never yelled at you in exasperation, “IT’S JUST BETTER!” I applaud your high score on Building Dogs (is that a thing?). The only time I get all Phone Nazi on anyone is when I meet a 13-year-old little shit, who sneers at my Stupid Phone and tells me that this is his “second iPhone this year.” Then, and only then, do I want to zap his ass back to 1995 and make him cry big, flip-phone sized tears.
I believe in tolerance. And in order for the world get sing in perfect harmony, I simply ask that the smart phone majority look upon their Stupid Phone brethren as not less than, but simply redirected.
And if that’s too much to ask, please, leave me the fuck alone.