Is My Phone Smarter than Me?

The world may truly be coming to an end, although I won’t go so far as to predict a date. The sign that tipped me off was when Bob and I finally caved in and got smartphones. We put it off for a long time, but even in West Virginia you have to move with the prevailing technology sooner or later. I was reluctant to make the change because I was quite fond of my stupidphone. It did what I needed it to do and never made me use bad language – at least not until a few months ago when it began randomly turning itself off for no apparent reason. I had even managed to upload some of my music, and would sometimes embarrass Bob by talking too loudly in airports because U2 was wailing in my ears. The new smartphones allow us to go online, check email, post to Facebook and Twitter, take photos, read QR codes, watch videos, and a hundred other things that, frankly, I’ll probably never really use. (I prefer to disconnect from the great electronic maze as often as possible.) We had been playing with our new toys for about an hour when it suddenly dawned on me that I had no idea how to make a phone call on the darn thing. Since when do you have to read an instruction manual to learn how to make a phone call on a telephone? And I think that’s really what bothers me about it. I’m afraid the smartphone might be smarter than I am. So I got a real kick out of it when the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog arrived in Saturday’s mail. That nicely printed resource for marginally useful and seriously overpriced merchandise offers a device that made me laugh out loud. Intended to allow you to use your handheld gadget “more comfortablyâ€, it is a streamlined version of an old fashioned telephone handset and cradle that you can plug into your smartphone. When connected, the smartphone goes in the spot where you would find the dial on an old desk phone. I appreciate the irony that at the same time we bought smartphones, someone had brought the technology full circle and found a way to turn them back into pseudo landlines again. Maybe I should order one.

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