My husband grabbed my iPhone out of my hand last night without warning. He wanted to make sure that I didn’t manage to get a picture of him in his Tommy Hilfiger blue-checked dress shirt, bicycle shorts, argyle socks, and clippie shoes. Believe me, I tried, but he rode away too quickly for my phone to power back up, the bastard. The grabbing…was NOT COOL WITH ME. A mild wrestling match/fistfight ensued. If it had persisted, I might have bitten off some of his fingers to get it back. Now you know why we call it “The Precious” in our house. As I sit here at my computer, The Precious is right next to me, in case I need to touch it for reassurance.
It’s sort of unhealthy, I know. I did an experiment this morning, and left it plugged into the charger, Smaug, in the kitchen. ALL MORNING. That does not mean I didn’t look at anything, I just had to be in the kitchen to do it. I found out that I get a lot more done around here when my phone isn’t in my face. I also found out that there is a tiny buzzing anxiety when it’s not in my pocket, or my hand, or otherwise right next to me. It made me think about what other transformations might be happening that I don’t realize are happening. Am I going to be biting the bellies out of live fish next?
Taking inventory, I realized my circle of experience is now limited to things that show up on my phone. Clearly, a dramatic change from when I used to get input from the TV and other valuable sources. If I don’t have an app for it, it effectively does not exist. Since I have very few apps, this means I am current with what’s happening on FaceBook, Twitter, WordPress, Audible and Heiny the Weasel’s Dirty Verse Pile. Otherwise…I find out about major news when it blows up on Twitter, which is pretty surreal and weird. Honestly, I don’t have time to care right now. Maybe in a couple of years. In the meantime, if something really big happens, would you mind posting in on your Facebook timeline for me? That would really help at all the cocktail parties and diplomatic events I go to.
I am conditioning my children to despise handheld technology. My children are not part of the clamoring horde of toddlers chanting, “iPad! Me want iPad!” They give me dirty looks when the phone comes out. They come up with all kinds of fun things we could do together instead. “Mommy! Can you come and watch me wash the windows?” The baby actually came up with this at about eighteen months: “Mommy, all done phone.” They are small Luddites for the moment. I know that they will eventually have texting calluses of their own, but maybe they will first learn how to interact with the outside world. “Remember, we don’t want to end up like Mom.”
Physically, this obsession with my little friend is not a great thing. My neck hurts. My thumb hurts, and the LOLs are turning into OWs. I am a few apps away from hunching over and galumphing along on all fours like Gollum. This is why I do not have any games on my phone. My repetitive motion mess is bad enough from obsessively checking Facebook, let alone adding a game where the point is to mindlessly touch the screen over and over again.
I spend so much time doing everything on my phone, that I am forgetting how to use a real computer. I sat for a few minutes the other day wondering how to work on two things at the same time…on the computer. In the wayback (read: five years ago), I used to run two monitors. I finally remembered that you can have more than one thing open on a real, big-boy computer. I have also actually TOUCHED MY LAPTOP SCREEN and expected something to happen besides a dusty fingertip. I could argue that this was because my desktop IS a touchscreen, but I never remember to use that feature on it. Never.
I am creating a hard-wired connection in my brain that says, “Are you close to experiencing one moment of boredom or reflection? QUICK, grab your phone!” This is accompanied by an autonomic reflexive action of my hand, reaching for the phone. If the phone is not in the expected pocket, the hand frisks me until it finds it. The fun of self-frisking aside, this is a little bit too much like a certain amphibious object of pathos. Is my fate to be intertwined with the iPhone? Will I give my life to keep it within my grasp? I don’t know, and I am nearly beyond caring…as long as I have The Preciiiiooouuuusssss…the one Phone to rule them all.