I bid a tearful farewell to a dear, dear friend last weekend. For the last seven years, we have been inseparable. I'd cringe at the very thought of leaving him behind at work or at home. I was pathetically, hopelessly lost without him.
One time I couldn't find him for, like, two hours. My heart sunk, but we were eventually reunited when I found the little scamp in the couch. He sure did like to hide, that one. He woke me up in the morning, rode shotgun with me to work, was always there with me at my desk. Didn't ask for much, either, other than being plugged into his charger for a few hours every now and again.
The split was not easy, but it was necessary. Like with other relationships, sometimes you just have to know when it's time to sever ties and move on. That's what I did last Saturday when, after years of stubbornly denying the need for a smartphone, I joined all you other phone zombies out there and got myself an iPhone4s.
This was a big move for me, a major life alteration. My old phone - people called it a dumb phone, and right to its face, even! - did what I wanted it to do, which was virtually nothing. I used it to call and text. It's a phone, right? And it wasn't intimidating. Not that I'm intimidated by my new one. Call it a healthy respect.
My question is, do I need the bells and whistles? When I was a kid, I had one of those calculator watches. It added, subtracted, multiplied, divided. Eventually, the clock stopped working, so I walked around with a calculator on my wrist. Super cool, sure, but I never knew what time it was. It dawned on me then that all I really needed was to know what time it was. Pretty simple. That's why I loved my old phone. It was beautiful in its simplicity. For me, making the move to an iPhone is like making the jump from Atari to Xbox without pausing for ColecoVision.
Alas, out with the old, in with the new. I suppose this is me adjusting with the times, adapting to technology. I know most people think smartphones are the best thing since breakfast burritos - not me. Still, I've accepted the fact that cell phones darn near run our lives. But so many questions filled my mind as I acquainted myself with my new pocket computer: Why does it do that? Can it do this? Why's it so slippery? How do you do this? Do I need this? How do you get out of here? So, if I drop it in the toilet? How do you get that app? What's an app?
My 12-year-old-next-week-daughter didn't duck from my barrage of questions. On the contrary: She welcomed them since it verified that she knew something her old man didn't (she's had a sweet iPhone for about a year now). Having a new phone has kinda brought us closer. I've changed her middle name from Grace to Tech Support. But as much as she knows about these technological wonders that are too smart for our own good, she can't help me get used to a piece of equipment that, on some levels, is way smarter than I am.
My old friend had a real keyboard with real keys, so texting came easy; my thumbs were a blur as I effortlessly rattled off full sentences with the proper punctuation. Well, iPhones as you know have flat screens, that's how I ended up with words like "glortraf" and "volutrs" the first time I tried to text. I'd have been better off using an ear of corn to text with than my fingers. And considering texts don't come with subtitles, I quickly realized that practice - while it won't make perfect in my case - at least can make pretty good. And pretty good will suffice when you have an ally like auto-correct.
After a rough beginning, things did improve. I've kinda warmed to my new friend, and you can't beat customizing a new phone. I'm working on wallpapering and have already managed to change Siri to Saul (girl was getting on my nerves). Next, I'll add a ringtone that will make everyone laugh. Spreading the joy. I'm also talking to text, so that's cool.
My new phone's probably already outdated, and I'm sure I'll eventually replace it with a computer chip embedded in my forehead, but that's technology for ya. We're constantly moving on to the next big thing while discarding what used to be the next big thing.
I'll keep my old phone around, though. No, his features weren't too impressive and he's now eligible for residency on the Island of Misfit Toys, but good friends - smart or not - are hard to find.