Smartphone, Sweet Smartphone

I recently became the proud owner of a smartphone. Until that fateful day last week, I identified myself as a hardcore texter and an occasional phone conversationalist, but I didn’t have the luxury of Google-mapping my way out of being terribly lost, or being able to check the weather in any part of the world with a single swish of my finger (85 degrees and thunderstorms in New York!).

I’m one week into smartphone ownership, and I’m still deep in the honeymoon phase. That is to say, I like to have it on me at all times, in case someone asks how to say “grapefruit” in French (the answer: “pamplemousse,” although I can’t pronounce it), or someone needs a timer for a quick game of Charades.

Last weekend I used a Fandango gift card, purchased tickets online, and took my confirmation number to the box office. No cash involved; no printing of tickets. That is what I call: a miracle of the times. Super convenient. And yes, it’s fun to be that “linked in.”

One thing I haven’t yet conquered: my fear of taking this brand new, very-expensive-to-replace toy into the bathroom with me. I have heard a thousand stories of people dropping their iPhones and their Androids into the toilet. Why on earth would you take that risk, people? My phone stays on my desk, where it belongs, until I come back from the bathroom, hands clean, and resume playing Words with Friends. (Which, by the way, is completely addicting. I’m sychela. Feel free to start a game with me.)

I want to go on record as saying that I do also manage to accomplish work things on it: for instance, right now I’m involved in a big social networking push as part of my job, so it’s nice to be able to have Twitter and Facebook and “checking in” places at my fingertips…something I couldn’t do on my little old regular cell phone.

But – there’s always a but – but, at the same time, I worry about my newfound dependence on this. I hear of people importing their entire calendar into their phone, their contact lists, their lives. What happens if it disappears? The good folks in charge have provided us with a contingency plan if the phone happens to become lost or stolen: simply sign into your account online, lock the phone, leave a message asking for its safe return, or if all is lost, you can remotely wipe all your data and give up the thing for dead.

But what should happen if the entire world, grown reliant on our handheld devices that are really no more than grown-up GameBoys that can also make phone calls, was suddenly struck by some kind of disaster? Unrelated to phone ownership, I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult, post-apocalyptic books lately, and they’re always finding themselves in situations with no electricity, or no connectivity, or worse.

For the time being I have to just keep crossing my fingers and praying that an EMP doesn’t explode over the United States. If it does, I assume I’ll have worse problems than not being able to download the latest Angry Birds app. In the meantime I’ll just enjoy this phone, which, by the way, takes better pictures than some of the cameras I have owned in my lifetime.

And there’s probably an app to locate the nearest Costco, so I can stock up on canned food, bottled water, and paper products, just in case.

7/1/11 in the Lake County Record-Bee, available here for a limited time!

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Filed under Beginnings, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing

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