Mum, your reception sucks. You keep dropping the call.
I thought it was the iPhone. It was time to swap it up and the price difference between the new android edge and the iPhone was pretty close, so I went with the edge. I have been more google than I-anything; cloud, music, you name it. So I got the phone that had a better camera.
The problem was that the smart phone was smarter than me.
Over the past year I found that I was feeling lost without my phone. As if the instant connections through text and Facebook posts were actual interactions with live people. I started to watch when I was using the phone and what I was using the phone for. Sometimes people would call, but more often it was a text. I took tons of photos and hyper-documented who I was with, what I was eating, where I was going. I became my own paparazzi and saw that instead of checking in with my higher power at the beginning of the day I was checking to see if someone had pinged me or I was looking for the newest post on stupid cat videos. At the end of the day I would unplug by making sure my phone was plugged in. I was plugging the phone into my car to use the audiobooks, or to use the music, or to be able to use hands free calling when I drove. I would look at other drivers using their phones while driving and would feel superior that I was “hands free” regardless of diverting my attention to the hands free dash while I selected the next call or the next song. And my calls would drop.
“Can you hear me?” “I can’t..he…ca… ter…” Click. Out of range. Out of service. Out of control.
So off to the Verizon store to get a different brand, and I went in with the resolve that what I needed was just a phone. After a 30 minute wait for the solutions specialist Abe, I went into a deep consumer spiral, the one where feelings of inadequacy and the need to be like all the hippy hipsters overshadowed logic and resolve and I ended up getting the Edge. I will admit that I liked that there was a better camera. I liked that the phone quality was better, sometimes. I thought I liked all the apps.
But the phone is smarter than me.
Too many options and apps. I was swiping at the thing trying to find the right screen which would mute the volume, then I would forget to turn it back up. It pinged at me with notifications from faceplant. And then I realized that I was getting ads. Like pop up ads from google called “promotions” and options to have my voice mails translated into texts so I could read the phone call reminder from CVS to pick up my scripts. Those options came with a cost that was automatically billed to my Verizon account.
I assumed the pose with my head down and attention on the screen and forgot about what or who was around me. I had become one of those annoying people who are consumed with their digital reality instead of engaging in life. I had bought into the trend of connecting with minimal emogies to express my feelings. And the new phone dropped calls too.
The enchantment was over. I was standing right next to the router and the calls kept cutting out. Time to old school and go back to a flip phone. I might actually get a land line too. I know that I have not been writing or reading much lately, so perhaps this will bring me back to a place where I wrote letters to friends and scheduled time to meet up over a cup of tea. At the end of the day I want to be the old woman who looks up to see and be in life rather than then looking at my phone trying to take a photo of it.