Let me be blunt. I dislike phones. I don’t want to answer them, I don’t want to talk on them, I don’t like hearing the ring—essentially, all phones could die tomorrow and I’d be happy. I’ll email 9-1-1.
So why do I keep looking at my phone? Things get quiet, and my hand starts twitching, feeling for my iPhone, itching just to touch it, play with it, feel its cool glossy firm case under my fingers. Touch its buttons. Look something up. Check the flight time. Check email. Check my bank account…well, maybe not that.
Texting. God’s answer for people who hate to talk on the phone
Oddly, I’m not alone in this obsession. Ride a rental car shuttle bus some time. It will remind you of a group of missionaries huddled over their bibles. A PDA prayer meeting. I’ve often wondered, if the bus caught fire, would everyone wait for their phone to sound the alarm before they moved?
I don’t wear a watch anymore; I have the time, date, stopwatch, and world clock on my phone. My GPS is obsolete; I have Google Maps. I want to check my stocks? E-trade app. (I sure as hell don’t have to call a broker.) Need coffee? Check the Starbucks app for the nearest shop. The built-in camera has a higher megapixel count than my DSLR. Stop and think about how many things have become obsolete since the invention of the smartphone: Alarm clocks, radios, TVs, books, hand-held games, airline reservation desks.
It wants me to touch it. I know this. Why else would it ding, buzz, tinkle, beep, boop, and wiggle its hips if it didn’t want my attention. Email – ding. Facebook post – ding. Text – ding. My little iPhone cries for attention all the time. Touch me, it says. Tap the code, it begs. Slide your finger across me, it entreats.
I left my phone at home for a few hours the other day. Within minutes, separation anxiety set in. My hand returned time and again to my pocket. Where was it? Oh. At home. A few minutes later, my fingers would be probing, seeking that rectangular, gratifying, slim body. When I got home, I found it first thing, in the pocket of the pants I had changed out of. Lonely. Sad. Discarded. Its battery weak. I promised never to leave it again.
I can sense my phone’s displeasure as I write this. I have ignored it too long. Out of spite, it will drop my next three calls abruptly, further exacerbating my phone call phobia. I must keep it appeased…
There. Quick check of the weather. It’s 82-degrees in Sao Paulo. My phone glows happily at me, sated and content that I still respect it. It sits now, warm in my pocket.