Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Today I went to the store to get a new *smart phone*. This is to replace my old smart phone that had faithfully served me for almost three years. This was the phone I had reluctantly purchased, not convinced that a stay-at-home-mom needs a phone that can keep an elaborate calendar, store information on everyone I meet and do everything but make dinner (although it does have recipes for what I can make for dinner, or make reservations for dinner, or reviews of which places serve the best dinner).

Fast forward three years and I am not sure how I survived *before* I had my smart phone. It keeps all my *valuable data* such as my calendar, contacts for everyone I know and most importantly, it provides me with valuable *apps* that allow me to look up important information while standing in the meat department of the grocery store, like "salt pork". The funny part is that this device is called a *smart phone* and yet I rarely use the *phone* part of it. In fact, when it rings I usually look around perplexed as to the source of the noise, despite my *very* distinctive ring tone (I am not joking, it is very unique, ask me about it). As a result, I don't so much as answer my calls as I retrieve messages people leave because it takes me too long to associate the *noise* with someone trying to call me. If the phone part of my smart phone were to stop working I probably wouldn't notice for several days, maybe more than a week.

And yet, the most important aspect of having the smart phone is the urgent need to have *a phone* with you at all times. Why? Because what if someone needs to reach you? Urgently! It occurs to me that this ability to be reached any time, any where, was not something my mother and her generation worried about. These were woman who left their homes, went to the grocery store and other errands and appointments during the day and *they weren't reachable*. I marvel at their risk-taking, reckless behavior. What if the school had called and Bobby had vomited or contracted lice? Heck, come to think of it, most of them didn't have voice mail or an answering machine either. So if the school did call, not only couldn't these women be reached while they were at Target or at step aerobics, but the school would have to repeatedly call until someone could be reached. Oh, the horror. It should also be pointed out that they didn't have the contact information on hand for everyone they knew so they couldn't call someone if they needed something. Urgently! Like salt pork. Why? Because these phone books were back home on the counter, next to...the phone.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that I can be reached quickly if Susie gets hit in the head with a ball at PE, but sometimes I wonder if things have gone too far when I start to contemplate whether the yoga instructor would notice if I snuck out to check if I have any messages. I am so obsessed with being reachable that I take the phone into the bathroom with me and set it on the counter while I shower. Just in case. I am sure there is a name for this type of neurotic behavior. Perhaps I can look up a diagnosis and treatment on one of my apps?

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