Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Is My Phone Smarter Than I Am?

For the past four years I have said that I did not want a Smartphone. I said it so often that I began saying that I didn’t want a phone that was smarter than I am.

All four of our kids and their spouses have Smartphones. I maintained that I was perfectly happy with a compact device that enabled me to make contact while away from home. I rarely used it for conversation, per se. I wanted the reassurance that in an emergency (mine) I could call for help, or in an emergency (anyone else’s), they could reach me.

Sure, we’d had numerous dinners out with one of the kids when a question came up that one of the wisenheimers answered with the help of the internet, simply by picking up his or her cell phone and Googleing for help. Still, I wasn’t prone to joining that club.

Then suddenly, inexplicably, a few months ago I decided that I had been kidding myself. I, too, wanted to be able to connect via satellite to the worldwide web from the chair crammed into a meeting room, from the noisy seat in the airport waiting area, from the passenger seat of a car. I, too, wanted to be able to look up the name of that guy—you know, the one in the movie with what’s her name—oh yeah, Glenn Close, where they—well, not that it matters, I just WANTED to. I wanted to be able to put my hands on that knowledge wherever and whenever the urge struck, because, let’s face it, at my age when I plan to look something up when I get home, odds are that it will never again cross my medulla oblongata. And if you don’t know what that is, you can look it up on your Smartphone.

Now if you know me at all, you know that in my General Rules of Life book, the top five includes the following: Don’t ask for anything. Part and parcel of this is never to say “I want ______.”  Somehow I have adopted the worldview that the less you ask for in life, the greater your worth as a person. Now, I know that this does not make sense. I would spend serious time counseling anyone I know to abandon such a tenet. Yet I can’t seem to shake it as a personal credo. Until now.

My former inclination to eschew any requests for anything of a material nature went right out the window. I’m sixty-two goddamn years old, and I don’t think I have the right to ask for (by which I mean buy myself) a particular cell phone? That’s nuts, and I know it. So I broke my rule and I asked.

Then I researched all the data plans, the activation fees, the software and the hardware and I did the hokey-pokey till all the numbers swirled in front of my face and made me slightly nauseous. But I pulled up my socks and went to the kiosk of the best deal and got Smartphones for the Center of the Universe and me.

Now I can find any quilt shop in the United States because I have an app for that. I can read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today in the palm of my hand, because I have an app for that. I can scan the bar code of any item in any store and comparison shop it across the universe because (wait for it…) I have an app for that.

But more importantly, I can play Scrabble with my son, Wordfeud with my stepson, and soon Scrabbleicious (I think) with my son-in-law. And I can do all of these 24/7. This makes me very happy. It’s a cool way of being connected around the clock.

Now I don’t mind that my phone is smarter than I am. I just need an app for my addiction to it.


  1. Teeheehee. I know just what you mean. I figure my smartphone will just help me be smarter, one way or another.

  2. Hey Leah! Ah yes, the KILLER APP. We all succumbed to one in the end. Mine (years ago) was being able to access my e-mail. Old hat now, of course. We must play a game of SCRABBLE/WORDS WITH FRIENDS/Whatever sometime? How 'bout it? Indigo

  3. Just be careful playing words with friends with Indigo, Leah. He's a word shark! I can't seem to beat him. Is it because he's more English than me thus knows more English? Bah.

    Enjoy your phone.
    There's a group gathering in some church basement somewhere with a 12 step meeting to cure your addiction.