I’m a Junkie

My i-phone started dying last week. Maybe I should have recognized its feeble cries for help, the apps that looked as though they were trying to open only to fade back to a confused menu screen. First it was Google. Then it was Instagram. Then Reader. One by one its apps were closing their eyes to me. Then two nights ago, with a newly charged battery coursing through its electronic veins, it powered itself down for good.

I’m mad at it. I think it should have warned me. If I’d known, I could have acted. I could have saved my family memories, my extensive notes, my account information and a list of all the apps which have become as much a part of my day as putting on clothes and eating. But it stole off into the night with everything, and some things just can’t be replaced.

It Draws You In

I can tell you the exact day I got hooked on that phone. I clearly remember saying, “I don’t need a fancy phone. I barely even use my phone. Half the time I don’t even remember to turn it on.” I didn’t want to be one of those junkies who was always distracted by her phone, by its enticing “notifications” and alerts. But friends had started to send me text messages, and it was costing me 60 cents a pop. Then one day, standing in the AT&T store with my husband as he purchased the i-phone 4, I took into my hands his handed-down 3, already a generation behind. “Don’t give me a big data plan. I won’t use it,” I said. But the universe may have shuddered at that. I may have felt the tremor in my soul. I may have realized then there was no turning back, even as I blurted out those useless words that would hold as much resolve as a spoonful of pudding.

It Seeps Into the Bones

I didn’t know then how this flat, glowing wonder would seep into the bones of my existence, how it would organize my life and my thoughts. I’d no idea then how it would become to me a source of endless information or how it would provide answers to an infinite list of questions. It would tell me in two minutes what was going on in the lives of hundreds of friends. It would give me pictures of my kids on bike rides with their dad. It would scan all my favorite news sources and blogs and synthesize them for me in a digestible portion. It would give me the freedom to blog while lying in a hammock next to the pool. It would eliminate the need for planning all kinds of things. I didn’t need to look at a map to find the best route for the next road trip because it could do that for me on the road. I no longer needed to remember anyone’s phone number because it did the remembering for me. I didn’t need to remember to charge up the camcorder or camera in preparation for the kids’ events because if I forgot, I always had my phone to do it for me. I could go out of town and still access and respond to important emails. I could basically run my life from anywhere — the car, the store or the hammock.

It Changes Your Life

Basically it changed the way I live my life, for better or for worse. I know that because I have been a chaotic, anxious, disorganized wreck since Sunday night when my attempts to resuscitate it failed. I feel like I go through the day with one hand tied behind my back. It is as though I’ve lost a limb. And when the store wouldn’t replace it with another i-phone for lack of stock, when they talked me into something else, I came home with an unfamiliar and clunky thing. I hate it. I hate it for making me think, putting me through hoops to try and find what I want. I hate that I have to teach it everything that my old phone knew without being told. I hate that its ring is annoying and that it will take me time to find its settings because they’re buried under a poorly designed interface that taunts me to find anything. It’s a harassment.

I’m annoyed, and I’m getting nothing done. So since I have to work to re-train this big, black ugly phone while the stacks of things to do continue to pile, why not blog and whine to you? Because not only am I annoyed with the new phone, I regret the way I let the old one worm its way into my life so indelibly that I can’t seem to function without it. And I’m ashamed that in the midst of so many more important people and events in my life, I’m spending my energy on something my grandmother would have viewed as a luxurious annoyance, an obstacle to getting work done. I guess I can see her point. But I want my i-phone hit and BAD. I’m a junkie after all.

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