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An Open Letter to My Smartphone

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Dear Smartphone,

Before I met you, I used to waste time doing foolish things like thinking, staring off into space, and making eye contact with other human beings.

Now that you’re finally here, your sleek plastic body nestled in the palm of my hand, I realize how empty my world used to be.

You’ve got it all baby. I love everything about you: your warm glow, the magical way you respond to the slightest of my touch, your ability to send jolts of pleasure down my spine when you buzz in my pocket, serenading me with the soothing ringtone of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back.

Soon we became inseparable.

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No longer was I forced to mindlessly enjoy life as it happens in real time. Finally, the other kids and their smartphones quit making fun of me for just sitting there, drooling, all alone with my thoughts. I mean, for god’s sake! Who does that?

Lunch break? Play Candy Crush Saga! Waiting for the kids at the bus stop? Hey, baby! Why not check your Facebook news feed! Driving the car down the freeway? Catch up on season 3 of Louis on Netflix! Shhh…just drive with your knees, it’s all right…

You seduced me, Smartphone. I’ve got it bad for you. Real bad.

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But lately you’ve been sending me mixed signals.

You rang the other day and I didn’t know what to do! Do I swipe with my finger? To the left or right? Do I press down and hold until you buzz for three seconds, then swipe in a counterclockwise motion?  I’m left to wonder, what does this all mean? Where is our relationship going long-term?

I knew things between us were hitting the skids when I realized something startling about you. A deep dark secret about your true identity.

Don’t lie to me, Smartphone. Just don’t. It’s too painful.

How could I have been so blind? How did I not see the real you? Why didn’t you tell me about your past earlier?

Admit it! Admit it to me, you lying smug bastard!

You’re a phone! That’s it! A goddamned phone!

That’s designed to make phone calls!

To other people.

Y’know…so they can talk to each other…

Remember that, Smartphone? Heh? Remember communication?! The exchange of ideas? Isn’t that the point of all this heartache?

Pfft. You don’t care anymore, do you? When I needed you desperately, you let me down.

Today I had to call my son at home on you and I was lost. How do I make a fricking phone call?! I tried asking you for help, but you led me down a path strewn with meaningless apps and icons. I knew I was too old for someone so young and vibrant as you. What was I thinking?

And more important — how in the hell do I talk on you? Do I put you to my ear? My mouth? Please, tell me! Why must you torture me so with such ambivalence?How dare you make something so easy so complicated! Haven’t I done enough for you?

I bought you everything! Even that sweet sequined sleeve you always admired! I gave you funky ringtones! I devoted my entire world to you! And for what?

You have ripped my heart out, Smartphone. I can’t take this anymore. I’m going back to him. Yes, my old flip phone. He knows how to treat me right.

I’m sorry. But it’s over.

***[buzz-buzz]***

“…I like big butts and I cannot lie! You other brothers can’t deny!”

Oh, Smartphone! You remembered! An email! I have an email! And a facebook notification!

Aw! How could I ever stay mad at you? You sly devil.

I love you.

Forever and ever.

Just tell me how to turn you off.

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85 comments

  1. Haha! Yes! I’ve had a smartphone for a few years now and I really really do love it, but the thing I always find hardest to do is to make a call on there. Luckily I don’t like speaking on the phone much, so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for all the other loveliness the phone provides.

  2. Haha very clever indeed! The cellphone is used for so many things we forget that the main invention of it was to call others. People are convinced that it has made us more social but when we actually meet our friends we have less to say to them than we do on whatsapp and all the trivial posts we put on facebook.

    1. My husband and I both got our first smartphones last week. He kept going on and on about all the apps, the ringtones, etc. Then we both realized neither of us knew how to make a phone call on it.

  3. A very witty post but do you know what? Smartphones are an addiction and that’s no joke. I look around me and people’s faces are buried in their phones. At the gym. Walking down 6th Avenue. Even seated at restaurant tables surrounded by friends. I carry a cell phone jammer on my commute for people who prattle on a little too long and a little too loud and you should see the tantrums they throw when they lose their signal. I have post in the queue about the new BMW commercial that highlights the fact that you can now read your emails and text messages from the dash. Why? Because people are so addicted they can’t do without being connected, even for the briefest of moments. Even behind the wheel. I guess I’m officially old.

    That went on a little longer than I planned. Typical.

    1. Yes, it is ridiculous, I agree. I’ve only had this phone for a week and I can see how out of hand it can get. People think it’s normal to have a cell stuck in your face all day long.

      Last week, I was sitting on my break between classes on campus, just sitting. Looking off into space. I kid you not, two classmates came up to me and asked me what was wrong! One said, “Are you all right? you’re just sitting there.” I’m like “Uh…this is what I do when I’m waiting!” They all immediately zone out on their cell phones during break.

    2. There was actually a crime in NYC on the subway, where a guy with a gun waved it around and nobody noticed because they all had their heads in their phones … so the bad guy shot someone randomly. Apparently, nobody on the train had THAT sound as a ringtone …
      I wish I was making this up.

      1. God, that’s terrible. It’s amazing how quickly one can shut out the outside world when your head is stuck in a cell phone. I attempted to call Jim while walking across campus yesterday and almost walked in front of a car. I have to make sure I only text/call when sitting.

  4. Aren’t you supposed to be asking how to turn him ON? ;)

    And I hear you. I have fallen madly, deeply, head over heels for this fancy younger man. In fact, I’m trading my current merely 2 year old model in for a brand spanking new shinier one. That’s right, I’m a whore.

    As always, your photoshopping skills are a thing of wonder. I hope you and Smarty are very happy together for a long time . . . or at least until you have to upgrade. :)

    1. Smarty doesn’t like long walks on the beach anymore. He’s all about clubbing, hanging out with the younger crowd. He’s such a turd. I haven’t turned him on once today, let’s see if that sends him a message.

      Can you believe this is my very first smartphone? I think I was the last person in the universe to get one. (and I still have a landline)

  5. I have a love hate relationship with my phone. She rings when you dont want her to sometimes and never lets me texts my own words but hey she is a spontaneous thing I tell ya.

    1. Oh! I totally forgot to mention that. He is always screwing around with my words. I want to type something and he overrides it with a word that has nothing to do with what I was trying to say. So frustrating. Is there a way to turn that off?

      1. It should be in your message settings. I believe its called autofill or auto text something like that depending on the type of phone. What kind of phone do you have?

  6. Ha! Yeah… the reason I’m so in love with my smart phone is because I get my email on it, not to mention texts, thus, can avoid any actual human interaction. I think I had it for a year before I figured out how to turn it off. I also panic at just the idea of trying to enter someone’s number into my address book on the fly [as they dictate it].

    1. Oh Jules, no no no. Such a cute little amateur. You put it in the NOTES section (make sure you put some name or form of ID, or you’ll never figure it out later). Then, you go back later at your leisure to put it in the address book, without all that pressure! Bam.

      1. Notes app? This is the one app that I can never find when I need to. I just stick to “Let me dial you right now so that I have your number. Or better yet, you call me, I have caller ID”.

      2. Looks like a yellow legal pad. At least on the iPhone. Where do you think I put all those lovely bon mots my kids come up with? You don’t think I just pull them out of my BRAIN do you? Pfft!

  7. My smartphone and I have a similar love/hate relationship.
    Sometimes I think I feel it buzzing and, then when I go to check, nothing. Other times I think I hear it playing the little tune for emails but there are no emails there.

    Still, I can’t quit you, Smartphone. .

  8. It’s not just an age thing, it’s a character thing. I just got my first smartphone a few months ago and it’s definitely a love/hate relationship. I was very much against getting a smart phone because I hate how people are always connected to it. They’re always looking at their screens – when they’re out with friends, at dinner, at home, at school, in the car, walking down the street…And I hate when you’re talking to someone and the second you ask any question (even a rhetorical one), they automatically pull their phone out and start checking. Believe me, I don’t need to know right away. Sorry for the rant ;) That’s what happens when I think of ‘smart’ phones because I just think it’s so sad how people don’t know how to communicate in person anymore.

    1. I agree. My rule is if there is another human being around me, I do not go on my phone. If I’m alone, then it’s okay. I’ve noticed a lot of my classmates are constantly shoving their smartphones in my face to show me their latest pictures. Kinda like the equivalent of the old days when people would bore you to tears with slideshows of their vacation to Cancun. Just because we have the technology, doesn’t mean we should abuse others with it.

  9. My phone is I.Q. challenged, as am I… it’s a good match, although I would love to have a smarter phone, just don’t know if I could handle it. I loved my flip phone until his flip flopped and was left dangling off to the side. Great post..

  10. All you have to do is ask your son how to make a call. He will know. And when you find out, let me know, OK?

    Actually, I just got a new one. And I figured out how to do everything on it over the weekend. Except turn off the one game I stupidly put on it…

    1. That reminds me, I kinda got a little excited and very App-happy last week when I first bought my phone. I uploaded all these stupid apps and games and now have no clue how to delete any of them. I will be sure to ask my son for help.

      1. If it’s an iPhone, hold down the icon. All the apps will get little black “X”es. Click the X of any app you want to delete.

  11. I no longer have a smartphone. I have a dumb one. You see, I had the guts to break it off. I no longer get email on my phone. Hell, my phone barely rings. Sara and I decided to downgrade when we moved. The night we got our smartphones, we were on vacation in South Beach and spent the entire night in our hotel room discovering new apps. That was the beginning of the end.

    Dumb-phoned in Ecuador,
    Kathy

  12. Get an iTouch, it has all the smartphone stuff but without that horrible phone part. That phone part is the absolute worst. What, do they expect you to actually talk to people? With your mouth and stuff? That is sooooooo weird.

    1. Talking is so overrated. And tiring. We do have an iTouch (one of the very first ancient models) and my son has pretty much decided it’s all his. Along with the computer, the laptop and our tablet. All I got is my smartphone now. Sniff, sniff.

  13. Hilarious and so true! I was so addicted for a while. I checked notifications like my life depended on them. We went on vacation and I quit. Not cold turkey, but I can check once and leave it in my pocket for hours. Okay. Okay. You’re right. Minutes. But hey. That’s a big step from seconds!!!!
    Great post and I love the graphics!

    1. My goal is to go seconds most days. I can do that for sure. I was going to do more graphics for this post…me in bed with the smartphone, taking a bath with the smartphone, but I didn’t have time because I was on my smartphone playing a stupid app.

  14. My SmartPhone could sue me for non-support. I frequently just let it sit in my purse until the battery dies … usually at the very time I think about using it.

    It looks like your SmartPhone knows how to sweet talk you. Now if it could just, ya know, TALK to you … then, it’d be all good. Thanks for the laughs, Darla. Great post.

    1. That’s the other thing–it’s battery is drained SO fast. I’ll watch a movie on it and next thing I know it’s down to almost zero battery life. I mean, if I can’t waste big blocks of time on the thing, what’s the point of having it?

  15. Haha!

    Who could resist that hunk of a phone in the first beach pic with his shiny 12 pack abs that respond to your every touch. And what gal doesn’t love that endearing trait of him going to sleep and shutting down his screen after five minutes of no touching even though you are still actually talking to him. Swoon.

  16. The best use for my smartphone (which isn’t mine, but my workplace phone) is that it allows me to listen to music at work so that I can tune out noisy coworkers. That’s it. Other than that, it’s an irritating piece of technology.

  17. My husband regularly refers to my iPhone as the “other man” and flies into a jealous rage when I ignore him because I’m playing on my phone. He also likes to accuse me of being willing to leave him for my phone.

    He’s not entirely wrong.

    1. I have a solution for you: Buy him his own phone. Worked for my husband. Now we both sit on the couch with our respective new loves and we’re both very happy. Sometimes we get a little crazy and start texting each other from a few feet away stuff like “Go get me a beer” and “No, you go get ME a beer”

  18. Oh, my gosh, I mean, OMG, this had me laughing out loud, but wait, I mean LOL, ha, ha, ha….This is my sister, exactly. She said she’d NEVER do Facebook, NEVER text message, NEVER get so into her computer, preferred REAL photographs sent on photo paper, blah, blah, blah, blah. Enter, Smartphone upgrade a couple of weeks ago. Now, I hear from her more than I ever did before, but certainly not by phone calling….via email attachments with photos and text messages, ha, ha. Next is FB, I’m sure of it! I wish you luck, Darla. I don’t think these fabulous smartphones are designed to make calls because most people who use them only text and email! You might have to keep your flip phone for an “on the side” relationship. ;) My saving grace is that to own a smarter phone, I’d have to have a bigger paystub to afford the data plan to use it, which I don’t, thank God! I’ll just stick to my aimless staring and people watching while I’m waiting in line, lol. :) Ahhhhhh, freedom! XOXO-Kasey

    1. Oh, yeah, if she goes on FB she is sunk. I keep saying I’m going to delete my FB account but I’m afraid Mark Zuckerberg would hunt me down and kill me in my sleep.

      We got the “pay as you go” tracfone smartphone. Which is a smartphone for poorer people like me. We couldn’t commit to a 2 year contract and the ridiculous money it costs (yet)

      1. I like the pay-as-you go phones! That is what I have (A Go-Phone by ATT). It is indeed cheaper (I get everything for only $50/month, unlimited). Hope you find that balance, but I think you will! ;)

  19. OH.MY.GOD. I’m laughing so hard at the pictures on this post. I used to tell people I had two boyfriends: my real one, and my smartphone. I would snuggle with my phone at night, take him to dinner, and he was there on all of my vacations.

    I’m a sad person.

    1. Well, if you’re sad, I am downright miserable and pathetic. I’m checking my phone right now while I type this comment to you on my laptop. I think my laptop is getting super jealous already.

  20. Smart Phones… I don’t have one and that is OK. I am surrounded by them and they drive me a little crazy. I live and work in Shanghai and smartphones are a sign of affluence with the locals. They are on them constantly on the metro, on the street at work! The need to show off. Really who knows that many people that need to be talking 24/7? If I hear that whistle for a text one more time I swear I will throw a tantrum and smash it! I am trying to work (and they are suppose to too) but instead play around on the phone.
    No one talks anymore and everyone has their heads down not even making eye contact. We just came back from Cambodia where they have limited internet and phone service. Local people have old fashioned simple phones that probably can’t even text. It was refreshing. Other tourists were smiling and willing to say hello as you walked down the street. Get to a place with wifil and all was lost… well until the wifi would go out.

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