Friday, May 16, 2014

The Walking Dead

This morning, over diner breakfast, a friend of mine shared her vision of what the world's last flip phone will be like: Have you seen those really big phones?  With really big numbers?  That are raised?  For old people who can't see?  That's gonna be it.

By way of comment, I dug out my own flip phone: ancient, mildly broken, but still possessed of the ability to make calls and send text messages that require the finger dexterity of an exploited, underage factory worker.

I had to dig my phone out because that's where it lives: in the dug-out, half-forgotten recesses of wherever I managed to leave it.  I lose my phone constantly, even ardently.  I lose it between couch cushions, in the pocket of the wrong coat, in dresser drawers and offices and the darker provinces of the car. 

And I know, with as great a degree of certainty as anything can be known, that if I had a smart phone it would never leave my side.

I lose my grandma phone because it is a grandma phone.  I lose it because its paucity of features, its broken screen and cumbersome interface, means it lacks the addictive power of my laptop and every other device that dings when Uncle Marty comments on that photo of your lunch.



You take it your phone your hand -heck, it was already there, nestled in your palm like moist, electric paw of your first crush, the one you body checked your best friend to stand beside at Sharing Circle- and raise it to your lips.  Your fingers fly over its length, inscribe its skin:

*sooooo yum*

And then, hey, you and Uncle Marty feel the frisson -delicious, restorative- of shared humanity because you both like pizza and I, your client or your wife or your colleague or your teacher or your friend, I with my long-lost flip phone, am left to stare at the top of your head.

News flash: some of you are bald.

Eventually, of course, I will find my flip phone.  I will go to the phone store and trade it in and walk out with a smartphone and I will sleep with that smartphone next to my bed; I will tap on it in  waiting rooms; I will cradle it close; I will never again eat indifferent pizza; and I will know, with the incandesent certainty of the Googler, whatever happened to that guy in "That Thing You Do!"

But until then: Get off my lawn.

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