“Smarter than I,” insists Siri, the magical and slightly condescending smart gal who lives in my phone, “because if you finished the sentence, what you meant was ‘Smarter than I am.’ Not ‘Smarter than me am.’ Get it?”Oh, I got it all right.
The Smart Phone tells me the date, time, weather, my navigational location, stock balances, as well as the answer to any mathematical equation I can dream up—and those are merely the standard features that appear on my screen when I turn on the phone. The sole “app” I have so far is the flashlight, and I only have that because they installed it for me free at the Apple store when I took my iPhone class.“It’s free for everyone, MOV,” said my brother when I showed off my new flashlight, so very very proud of myself and my strategic spending (or not spending in this case). “Why would you pay for it? That’s an easy feature to upload.”
And that’s another thing I don’t understand: the difference between upload and download. Since I never know which one is correct, I alternate, hoping to get it right at least half the time.“I’ve uploaded that excel spreadsheet,” I brag.
“Don’t you mean downloaded?” corrects The Husband.“How many videos have you uploaded on your iPhone?” asks my sister Oakley.
“Umm, none? Does my phone do that? I don’t think my phone does that.”Long, exasperated sigh, this time from my 9-year-old son channeling his future teen-aged self. “Maaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhmmm,” he says, dragging the one syllable out into a dozen, “It’s not that hard.”
But, see, the thing is: it is that hard. I just don’t get it. I witness people at restaurants or gas stations or libraries or the grocery store just tap-tap-tapping away on their Smart Phone, uploading gluten-free menu options or downloading favorite book lists or uploading coupons for cereal. How do they do all that? I can barely understand how to enter a new contact.“Here, let me show you,” my 6-year-old says matter-of-factly, as he grabs the phone out of my hand. “Just click on this icon and then highlight the name and drag it over here and Voila! That saves you from having to re-type the number, especially if they recently called you. Do you know the person’s birthday? Because there is a app where you can add that and then the phone will remind you so you can send a card.”
I have a built-in app where I have all the birthdays recorded already—it’s a special app I call my “brain.” I might patent it. I can easily remember all important dates without having to be reminded by a dumb computer. How did human beings get along for centuries without this technology? They got along just fine, flourished even, thank you very much. Did Benjamin Franklin have a Smart Phone? No. Leonardo da Vinci? I don't think so. Christopher Columbus? Not a chance. They invented electricity and discovered continents and created masterpieces! If they could survive and even excel, then surely I can too!“MOV, it’s okay that you missed our anniversary yesterday,” soothes The Husband, “I realize that you don’t know how to work your phone just yet.”