Embrace that toy

There are a lot of people my age (late 50s) who are proud, for some codgery reason, of owning an old “dumb” phone that’s unable to text or e-mail or anything. Well, guess what, you old loony geezer? You’re now intentionally and stubbornly avoiding the talents of perhaps the most amazing gizmos ever made available to a human being. These smart phones ain’t no fad, but electronica that are literally changing human culture. And here you are, clinging to your trilobite tribute like some traumatized troglodyte!

I used to think smart phones were almost as cool as the communicators Kirk/Spock used on Star Trek. How charmingly trite. Our smart phones kick ass on those simplistic communicators! The television writers of the ’60s had no freakin’ clue as to what lay in the future of humanity, a mere 45 years down the number line. Our current gizmos can not only communicate via voice or text, but compute, send photos, surf, figure locations, etc. etc. Our smart phones are nothing less than fabulously dazzling, and continue to impress your country bumpkin-esque correspondent. (And just think where they’ll be in five years.)

Yes, there’s something ludicrous about six or seven people at a bar all looking down at their phones instead of flirting with each other. I’m sure there are plenty of grim examples of people now showing sociopathic tendencies as they crawl further and further down the wormhole of an existence that’s completely dependent on their iPhone/Droid/whatever. Our bodies and brains must be all messed up, being built for running and hunting, and now suddenly asked to sit in airports playing stupendously moronic games on the these exotic little doodads.

But here’s an example of the amazing upside of these suckers. I was recently in Boston, trying to return a rental car to the Government Center in the heart of downtown. Now, Boston is an old city. When Henry Comstock found the first veins of silver in what was to become Virginia City, Boston was already 230 years old! So the streets of this hysterically historical place are weird, bizarre, and mangled. There just aren’t a whole lot of right angle intersections in a nice, thoughtful grid, but streets that began as country lanes centuries before anybody even thought of a car. Trying to negotiate the streets of Boston by myself, with a map, could have been done, sure. But it would have been, very likely, a stressful pisser.

My iPhone saved my butt. It successfully guided me around the totally exasperating streets of downtown Boston, listing my route step-by-step. And if I’d had a 4S phone with Siri, “she” could’ve talked me through it (I’m a fossil with a 4). After returning the car, I realized, I’m hooked. I’ve consumed the Kool-Aid. I can’t imagine not having the damn iPhone. It’s just too red hot! And then, I asked it to get me to a pub for a beer and some chowdah.