December 9, 2011
I caved. I recently purchased a smart phone. It seemed, at one point, I was the lone holdout of my friends but at the time I didn't feel I needed a fancy phone.
When I was a kid we had one phone for the entire house. It was centrally located on the wall and had a 20-foot cord so long we had to double it over the receiver when we hung it up. But that was it. It only made calls. And there was no such thing as call-waiting. I doubt most kids these days would even recognize the busy signal for what it is. They probably think it is the signal that something went wrong and to try again immediately.
I got my very first cellphone as a graduation present from high school in 1996. It wasn't Zach Morris-sized, but it was pretty big and heavy. It was basically for emergencies as I went off to college. A sort of security blanket for my parents. I wouldn't be stranded if the car broke down on the way to or from UGA.
After college the cellphones ran the beepers and pay phones off to become the sole way of communicating while not at home. You could buy fancy rings for your phone that sounded like keytar versions of famous and popular songs. And the innovations just kept coming.
The phones got smaller and thinner. Now I'm afraid I might break my phone instead of bruising myself if I drop it on my foot. Now you don't even have to talk to someone on it. You can just send a text or two hundred.
I was pretty happy with my old phone. It did everything I wanted. It took pictures and video, sent texts and received calls. But I was having phone envy. When everyone else was getting their phones out at the dinner table to check things, I was the one left trying to make conversation. And when I was lost while driving, I had to call someone to get directions.
So when I saw that the phone I was thinking about upgrading to was a price that was too good to pass up, I got one.
I can't believe how much stuff this thing does. There are things on it that I don't even know what they do because of course it doesn't come with a manual. The phone is more complicated than anything else in my house and the only sort of paperwork that came with it was basically how to make a phone call. Thanks Samsung, I think I could have managed that on my own.
But smart phones are amazing. I don't think I'll be able to go back to a phone that just makes calls. The phone can be a phone, a computer, a flashlight, a television, a radio or an arcade. It looks like I'll never be bored as long as I have my phone with me. Although as I have learned from Alec Baldwin, when the flight attendant tells you it is time to stop playing Words with Friends, you had better listen.
There is one thing that makes me leery. This phone has the capability of knowing everything about me. It can know my finances, my friends, my taste in music and movies. It can count my calories and help me lose weight. You can even control some cars with your phone. There is an app for an alarm to wake you up in the morning that works by sensing your sleeping patterns. That one sounds a little creepy. I don't know if I want my phone watching me sleep.
I'm all for phones being smart, I just don't want them to be too smart. Because when the robots do rise up, I'm pretty sure the smart phones will lead the charge.