Dear phone (for the hundreth time, No. I refuse to name inanimate objects),
We need to talk. I know that’s your specialty, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Well, at least it used to be your specialty. Nowadays it seems like your specialty might actually be allowing people not to talk…
Anyway, I know we’ve been together since high school (though you’ve developed from a pastel pink Razr into an iPhone), but some days I still just don’t know how to feel about you.
There are a lot of things I love about you. Since your upgrade to “smartphone” status (not that you weren’t smart before), you’ve been a directionally-challenged, spatially-oblivious girl’s dream. Seriously—you would take me to California or Maine if I asked you to. Or just across town because I can never remember which street to turn on for that restaurant.
You’re also pretty great at keeping me organized. I tend to lose the eleventy pieces of paper I take notes on every day, and you always encourage me to type them down on your handy notepad so I don’t forget them. I appreciate your ability to remind me of that bill due tomorrow or that I have to call grandma back.
Your memory is also a lot better than mine. I get pretty nostalgic sometimes, so I love that you save all our old texts. You take great photos, too, and I love looking through our albums to remember vacations or pretty sunrises or even the cover of a book I wanted to read.
So don’t get me wrong—you have your strong points. But I’ve always been a little concerned about our relationship. Sure, I was excited to get you in high school. I was even eager to buy a new version of you that had a full keyboard so I could text. But the next step up was to make you a smartphone—to give you, essentially, a brain. I hesitated. I don’t do well with change in general, and I felt a big one coming the first time I logged on to your magical/terrifying email app.
To be honest, you kind of creep me out sometimes. You know where I am at all times. You can tell me how long it’ll take to get to work. You know that on Sunday mornings, I drive to Kentwood. You take note of my proclivity toward Saturday lunches in Eastown. When I post a photo for friends, you take the opportunity to tell them exactly where I am. You also know my likes and dislikes and habits. Yes, I told them to you via Google searches, but still. You have my passwords memorized. Can’t I get a little privacy?
It’s also pretty distracting to have you around. You’re always buzzing and beeping. Those little red flags you throw up tempt me like a bull in the hot Spanish sun. Sometimes, I swear, my fingers tingle when I’m near you. I just have to tap that button, type in that code, swipe that bar. Normally, I wouldn’t describe myself as a clingy person, but when it comes to you… let’s just say I panic when I can’t find you. It’s pathetic, really.
And here’s my biggest concern: do I use you as a crutch to avoid other people? Are you making me lonely? Are you whittling away my ability to make connections or conversation? I think our relationship might be getting a little…selfish? Too exclusive? Don’t get defensive!—lots of people think about this. It’s not just me!
You know, I really, really make an effort not to use you twenty-four/seven. I try not to let you invade conversations, and I put you away at the dinner table. But oh, that pitiful little “ding” sound you make is just so hard to ignore. Would you quit being so pushy and just leave me alone for an hour? Please?
I’m not saying we should break up. I don’t even think that’s possible at this point—that’s how much I need you. But I just wanted you to know this tension is always going to be present in our relationship…
…until you learn how to start the teapot in the morning and make me breakfast. Then we’ll talk about marriage.
Abby Zwart (’13) teaches high school English in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She spends her free time making lists of books she should read, cooking, and managing the post calvin.