Howard and I took on technology and relationships in this week’s Perpetual Post. Read his side too, it’s fantastic.
As I type this, my boyfriend is on the couch, napping blissfully, his Blackberry nestled to his chest. I remember the distant days when I was the one who nestled there, my head resting lovingly against his shoulder, but apparently because I don’t vibrate like a buzz saw every ten minutes to let him know that he’s gotten an email from Sears.com with great deals for Fall savings, he’s traded up.
I remember when it was my shrill, piercing voice that delighted him, but no more. I’ve lost my favored status, displaced by a small, rectangular device that beeps incessantly at the most inopportune times—most of which are apparently no longer inopportune! God help me if I should turn to him while he’s engrossed in an episode of Two and a Half Men and say, “I forgot to tell you about this lady I saw in the Food Lion today who was wearing hilarious pants”—I would be judiciously shushed! But Blackberry gets to say whatever it’s thinking any time it wants! Blackberry can do no wrong! No matter what he’s in the middle of, no moment is too important to be interrupted by a text message from his Blackberry letting him know that 90% of American currency has tested positive for trace amounts of cocaine, according to CNN.com.
Should I be providing better content? Were I to turn to him while he’s watching TV and say, “MEEEP Thursday’s forecast calls for morning clouds with a chance of afternoon thundershowers,” would he smile receptively, or nod with interest? I doubt it. I also don’t see what’s so useful about the real-time updates his Blackberry provides on sports games and breaking news, when the information I provide is also in real-time—and personalized! Does his precious Blackberry nag him when he forgets to give the dog his heartworm medicine? Does it remind him that it’s unattractive to drink soda straight from the bottle and then just put it back in the fridge? Does his Blackberry’s angry rattle encourage him to start dinner right away because I’m going to be hungry when I get home?
All right, I know when I’m beat. It’s time for me to take this to the next level, before he realizes that when his Blackberry never has morning breath, steals the covers, or mocks his love of Entourage. So what do I have to do to win him back? Offer my services for a better monthly rate? Remind him of the convenience of his no-initial-fee, no-obligation contract with me? Ok, maybe there was an initial fee to join me, but I’m sure he’d say it was worth it. Or would he? After all, I can’t think of any new features I’ve added in the last few years, aside from a new haircut, or any upgrades to speak of—unless you count going up a pants size. Which I do. Possibly it’s time to fight fire with fire…or water. My boyfriend’s Blackberry does seem to be getting a little smudged, due to his constant, loving caresses and attention. Perhaps it needs a bath.
Jillian, Akie & I took on iPhones vs Blackberrys vs Nothing in Thursday’s Perpetual Post. Read the full account here.
I will readily admit that I have spent little time fondling either a Blackberry or an iPhone. And I don’t really have anything against either one—yet somehow, my ambivalence comes across to devotees as a thrown gauntlet. Yes, your iPhone is neat. Yes, I’m impressed by the ingenious App you just downloaded for free. I’m sure it’s already saved you lots of time. Look how quickly you found us a local restaurant. ENOUGH ALREADY.
Sure, tell me more about your iPhone. How long have you had it? What do you like to do with it? How has it changed your life? I’m sorry, but listening to someone tell me about their iPhone is only a little more entertaining than hearing them talk about their children. I have to feign the same kind of enthusiasm. “Aw. He’s adorable! He sure has your apps.”
If I ever got an iPhone, I’m sure I’d like it; just like if I ever had a child, I’m sure I would enjoy being a parent. But if I’m not ready, don’t push me. I’ll get pregnant/switch to AT&T when I’m good and ready—and not before. The relentless pressure I receive from both parents and iPhone owners has left me a little bit leery of the concept of either.
And don’t get me started on the Blackberry. I know even less about it than I do about the iPhone—probably because the Blackberry appears to be the phone du jour of the successful business person, and I don’t really know any of those. None of them will return my calls. From what I can tell, having a Blackberry gives technology junkies yet another device to cradle 24 hours a day and consult obsessively. I can’t imagine that this would benefit me. Forget about having access to email and Facebook updates—I already cradle my boring, normal cell phone 24 hours a day and check it obsessively for text messages. I thrill to the vibrating sound my phone makes when I’ve gotten a text message, even when it’s a message from my boyfriend that says, ‘did u finish the milk?’ If my phone gave me access to weather updates, breaking news and movie times I would probably stare into its screen like Narcissus gazing at his reflection in a pool until I perished. I don’t really want a device that enables me to be even more obsessive-compulsive about my cell phone than I already am.
And no, I don’t particularly need a phone that connects me to email and internet. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a lawyer. If I can’t access the internet for an hour, no one suffers except for me, and it’s the kind of suffering related to having to socially interact with other people.
Speaking of socially interacting with other people, has anyone else noticed that the more time they spend hunched over a cell phone, the less that happens? I can’t help but wonder whether cell phones have become tiny social crutches. Alone at a party and not sure who to talk to? Just whip out your iPhone and play a game of virtual pinball or pull up a map to the nearest liquor store. Sitting by yourself in a coffee shop? Why not grab your Blackberry and check your email one more time. People will see you and think, “She’s here by herself, but she’s doing something with her phone, so she probably has lots of friends.”
When you’ve got your iPhone, you’re never really alone. You’ve got a wee digital friend by your side! Your iPhone always wants to hang out with you. Of course, you pay it to, while your friends will hang out with you for free. But you can’t play Snood on them, and they can’t instantly update their facebook statuses for you, except by telling you how they are– which can take minutes. I guess it’s a tradeoff.