I am the proud owner of a brand new Smart Phone. It is, ironically, my “reward” for doing something stupid.
Having a mobile device is not new for me. In fact, I’ve had a mobile phone since they were first developed in the early 1980’s. Mind you, my first one was only mobile if you could carry the 50 lb. backpack that allowed you to periodically and sporadically fight through the other twenty anonymous users on your channel. This could only occur a couple of times a day and never when you needed to actually talk to someone. It was best described as “heavy but useless.” A phone booth was still much easier to use and to carry. (For you youngsters under thirty years old, just Google phone booth and ignore the Superman references.)
When the modern cell phone came along you could finally make that all important call to your friend and let him know what you did over the weekend… while everyone in the restaurant glared at you as you screamed into your “flip phone.” But at least now it was small enough that you could put it in your pocket, right next to your scheduling calendar and pen that Harvey Haines gave you and everyone else in Bonita for Christmas. Phones were still just for making phone calls and as a result were just marginally smarter than the people who used them.
My wife and kids were the ones who finally introduced me to the wonders of the “smart phone.” Soon it was doing my scheduling, helping me find my way to unknown addresses, and allowing me to take pictures of my friends in compromising positions so that I could send copies to everyone. It also allowed me to check my email obsessively while trying to convince the phone that I didn’t want to “beat” someone at the office… I wanted to “meet” them there. Having thick fingertips that fit perfectly on three of the silly little keys at once turns out to be a problem.
But despite the frustrations of using it, I am entirely dependent on my phone. If I leave home without it in the morning I am paralyzed. I don’t know what day it is, what time it is, where I’m supposed to be or the phone number of the people that I need to call. To me, Bob’s phone number is… Bob. And although they are technical masterpieces, they are a bit on the fragile side… which brings us to how I ended up with another new phone.
I had just finished working outside and my clothes were particularly filthy, so I stripped them off on the porch, went inside, took a shower and then gathered up my dirty clothes. After I removed my wallet and keys from my pockets I threw the stinky garments into the washing machine. After I got dressed to go back out to work, I was looking around for my precious phone when I heard, “Klunk, Klunk, Klunk…” “NOOOOOO!!!” I ran into the laundry room, yanked open the washer and pulled my only slightly damp phone from my jeans pocket. “It’s still working!” I shouted hopefully to my wife, holding it proudly in the air. It immediately responded by vibrating and saying “Droid”. Panicked but hopeful, I started blowing on it, shaking it and turning it on and off. There had to be some way to bring it back to life. I ran to the computer and Googled how to dry out a cell phone. It said “Don’t blow on it, shake it, or turn it on and off!” (Oh come on!) As I read further, the two best sounding remedies that came up were to either dip your phone in pure alcohol (seriously?) or to put your phone in a bag of rice for 24 hours. (No, not cooked rice! Geez!) The rice method sounded like the best way not to blow up the house, so I tried it. Twenty-four hours later the phone was dry… but completely unresponsive. So, off to the phone store I went.
The store was full of people my age and older with confused looks on their faces, asking questions like “How do I get the pictures of my cat from my old phone onto my new phone?” I shook my head and smiled at these poor hapless, technically challenged people. After all, being an experienced swapper of phones, I knew exactly how to get all my contacts, calendar and other information switched over. I would go home and ask my computer guru/wife Lori to do it for me in exchange for me cooking her dinner. Hmmm… maybe some stir fried rice.