I have a smartphone that I love. Last Christmas, I betrayed my sister Elbereth at the last minute (we were planning to both get an iPhone4), and opted for a Nexus S. I morphed into an addict in no time at all; last week I forgot it one day, and found myself ridiculously anxious and unsettled. I spend far too much time on it, using various apps, playing games, reading my email, texting, checking Facebook, and so forth.
The only feature of the phone about which I am ambivalent is the fact that it’s a phone. Because I’m somewhat skittish of phones.
It’s not that I don’t talk on the phone, sometimes at great length. My family and some of my closest friends are scattered across the country. I’ve had phone conversations with sisters that literally lasted all night.
But I hate, hate calling people that I don’t know, or even don’t know well. If I have to call customer service for some reason, even knowing that the task will maybe take me all of five minutes, I’ll put it off for days. It feels like it requires a crazy amount of emotional energy. I can’t really explain it. I’m much more comfortable doing things in person. I don’t know if it’s because on the phone there are no visual cues? Though I also like email, which doesn’t include visual or auditory cues. But it also doesn’t require the same amount of emotional energy.
I held out a while before getting a cell phone; when I finally broke down a few years ago, I was one of the last of my friends to do so. I thought the idea of being available all the time sounded like a nightmare. But a friend of mine who has similar phone issues told me that I’d like it, because you can turn them off. And she was right: I actually do find a cell phone less stressful than a landline. Also, texting is much easier than calling, especially when the need is just to convey small bits of information.
But sometimes I turn the phone off and forget to turn it back on. And when you don’t answer the phone, sometimes you have to call people back. It’s a terrible cycle.
So while I love my phone, I also kind of hope that they don’t exist in heaven. Blogs would be okay, though.
- 8 June 2011