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Everything’s Coming Up Rosen: Cell phones and me — a rant

Posted on 08 August 2019 by LeslieM

By Emily Rosen



I worship Steve Jobs for his brilliance and creativity and the Smartphone (about his persona , another time). However, for all the ways in which he changed the world, not so much. He did indeed change it both for the better and the worse. And the totality of that Ying and Yang has often been explored, but I am somehow impelled to do it here. 

For the better:

* Cell phone parking lots at airports and the concomitant ease for people connections.

* The magic of texting when I’m at a meeting and the phone vibrates, and it’s a non-emergency (which, of course, it always is) and I can surreptitiously wiggle my fingers to assure the caller that indeed he or she will have my undivided attention — after the meeting — lest he or she feel ignored.

* The incalculable joy of knowing that only I will have access to my conversations — that no one (except maybe a couple of enterprising Russians) will be able to listen in on the “other phone.”

* The wonderful access to Google to find out the name of the female lead in that 1936 movie that most people I know who weren’t even born yet, had not seen … and my ability to bypass Siri for that information. Siri, who, God save her soul, is an ignorant idiot. (If that is an oxymoron, my apology to idiots.)

* Of course, the advantage (?– hmmmm) of being able to have human contact wherever I am and whatever I am doing.

* And I can count on you to fill in the missing advantages.

But for the inevitably permanent worse!

* Although I am “in touch” with many folks as a result of the iPhone — that most wonderful of the five senses — touch (skin to skin touch) is slip, slip, slipping away and some folks don’t even know how far gone it is.

* As a species, our very bodies are in transition — mutating, no doubt — heads down, fingers flying, eyes darting from other world-phone to the here and now place of reality. We have actually learned to be in two (or maybe more) places at the same time, and, the younger we are, the more natural it seems.

* And my personal abhorrence gets tested on an almost daily basis. When I am in a social setting with others, dinner, after-dinner … a walk … a beach-sit … a night on the town … wherever — I give the other person or people my undivided attention. But I am so old that I actually expect the same from others. (an unrealistic expectation, yes!) Is it possible that we never had “emergencies” when I was younger, living with land phones only, where people left messages to which responses were given within hours or days — not seconds.

Please, when we are together, turn it off, put it away, do not coddle it as if it were some small living creature needing the warmth of your hand. And fergodsake, please don’t show me your pictures unless I ask for them, and I promise I won’t force mine on you!

* Finally, however, I dare anyone to deny its highly addictive nature.

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