Today’s Challenge: “Describe your relationship with your phone. Is it your lifeline, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?”
Really? We now have relationships with inanimate objects? This is right up there with “Tell me how you feel about your car?’ Sigh. It must be my age, my attitude towards mechanical things – they can make our lives easier, but they are tools for our convenience. When they add stress, that is not a successful tool. Let’s turn the question around, “How many times has the use of your phone hurt your relationships?”
That pretty much sums up my position on phones. When I was young, I waited to hear from a guy who promised to call; when I was older, I used it to screen calls; and now, my phone serves me. This is considered heresy in our times. Everybody, from friends to creditors to my dentist, wants my cell phone number. Very few get it – my friends, yes, with the caveat that they not depend on it to reach me. I do not turn it on unless I want to make a call or plan to meet someone. I have an old-fashioned land-line and a cell phone. You want to reach me in current time? Use the land-line.
When the microchip became possible, I watched in bemusement as people lost interest in their surroundings or the person they were with and became tethered to computers, buttons, beepers, cell phones, i-phones, versions bigger, better, best coming out every year. I watched men and women walk into elevators, head down, clicking furiously or shouting, “I’m losing you—-” or pacing a hall to find the best reception, huddling close to a window, murmuring into a phone. Ah, the old days, when people murmured. Now, I have to listen to total strangers and their one-sided conversations telling me far more than I would ever want to know.
The advent of social media made connections possible, and the uproar over profiling after September 11, 2001 going from the ridiculous to the sublime with postings on Facebook and Tweeting on Twitter – limiting conversation to under 140 words – made a soundbite sound positively huge.
The potential for data mining never seems to occur to the very people who were so outraged by the possibility of profiling terrorists. The recent uproar over employers wanting your Facebook identity struck me as a natural outcome. Today, every aspect of our life is judged by some outside force as appropriate or not, whether it be recycling, the use of the correct oil in my food, just how big of a drink do I really need (!), how much ammunition I can use in my gun and just what type of gun do I need to protect my life and my loved ones? What political group I support, what charities and are they the correct ones, do I give enough? Do I eat enough? Do I use the right products? Read the right books, blogs, news, watch the right films, speak in correct non-gender, don’t insult anybody format? Whoa! We were talking about phones….