Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thoughts from the Cave, Installment One

I'm the female equivalent of a curmudgeon when it comes to electronics.  Relative to my friends, at least, I see the cutting edge of technology and immediately head in the opposite direction.  I'm not against technology, or advancement, per se, but the pace of change is much too swift for my feeble mind to grasp.  I'm such a cavedweller, I actually only use my cell phone to make calls.

That said, there are some pretty nifty gadgets out in the big, wide world.  As I illustrated in a previous blog, some of these gadgets are so darn cute, they are virtually indistinguishable from other cute gadgets. (If you didn't see my ground-breaking investigative piece on this vital issue, click here.)

By far the most ubiquitous piece of modern gadgetry is the cell phone.  We are fast approaching the day when the term "cell" in "cell phone " is an unnecessary modifier. I racked my brain for a full 15 seconds, and I cannot think of one person over the age of 18 who doesn't have a cell phone.  I suppose you could argue the case that these devices are considered a necessity by today's standards.

Some of my friends know the features and specs of smart phones in the same way as previous generations knew about cars. They don't just know about their phone, they know phones.  And many people are not just dependent or attached, they are downright affectionate toward their device.  I know a grown man who names his phones, and routinely refers to them by their moniker.  As in, "Has anyone seen Bridgette?  I thought I left her on the charging station, but she's not here!"

When I was a little girl, my granddaddy had a 1959 yellow Chevy Impala that we called "Old Yeller," which doesn't seem silly at all to me.  After all, naming a 4000 pound piece of machinery, or a yacht, or a mansion seems acceptable; but giving a name to a 4.8 ounce device that becomes obsolete 15 minutes after you leave the mall?  Silly.  Ounce for ounce, it seems like a cell phone couldn't measure up to a muscle car for inspiring adoration and pampering.  But what does a cavewoman like me know about such things?

When I was young, I remember my dad and uncles holding car conversations that went something like this:

Daddy:  Did you see Bubba Junior's got a new Plymouth Fury Rally Sport QE2 with the Dorsalfin package and separate tailpipes for black and white smoke?

Uncle:  Yup.  Did you get a look at the wingspan on those tires?  And he got the over-and under shifter with the clutch in the glove compartment.  Those 14 V-8 cylinders hum like a beehive.

Daddy:   That 7000 BTU engine has major pickup for a small car.  He outran a Fish & Game Warden at the State Park and made it across the Causeway in 8 minutes flat.  And he gets damn near 10 miles to the gallon!  Damn fine car.

Uncle:  He said the trunk holds 2 deer carcasses, 7 tackle boxes and a full keg.  Guess that makes it a true multi-purpose vehicle, too.

Daddy:  Damn straight.

The glazed-over eyes, the dreamy, wistful look, the poetic phraseology: every age/generation has that one special item to worship.  I've come to the conclusion that I'm living in the age of cell phone worship.

Recently, I was sitting in a restaurant with a large group of women, and a similar discussion arose regarding someone's new phone.  Unlike our cars, which were scattered around the parking lot and fairly difficult to compare, most phones were either sitting out on the table or held in hand, like a fashion necessity.
Again, here are some genuine, made-up conversational highlights:

Desperate Housewife #1:  Did you see Prissypants Hotshot's new phone?  The new LGAT&TG&Y Canteloupe with the built-in teleporter?  It's nice, but why did she put it in that tartan plaid sleeve then plug in fuchsia earbuds?  Gag.

Desperate Housewife #2:  I saw it, but it hurt my eyes so I pretended I didn't.  Why didn't she wait for the new Blueberry with the Eartooth?  It comes pre-loaded with 10 million apps, including one that warns you when your botox is wearing off.  She needs that feature.

DH1:  I told her to wait for the new generation of the HI-Phone, the one that reads your mind so that all you have to do is say "hi" to activate the psychic chip, then it carries the conversation for you.  So you can something useful while you drive, like a manicure touch-up.  But she said she couldn't possibly wait 2 weeks for it to hit the stores.  Her last phone was, like, 6 months old, and she felt like it was on borrowed time.

DH2: Look at poor Esther Cavedweller...she's too ashamed to even put her old phone on the table.  It has a visible antenna!  I think it was handed down by some relative who came over on the Mayflower!  Once, we were having lunch at The Snooty Soup & Bread Emporium and it started making a noise in her purse.  The ringtone was like, so Wilma Flintstone.  She pretended not to hear it, but people stopped slurping just stared and snickered at the odd, blipping noise.  It was so awkward.

DH1:  I know, bless her heart.  You just want to hug her and say, "Here, you can hold mine for a minute, until you feel better."

DH2:  I did that once, but she screwed up my turn on Words with Friends, so I locked her out with the retina scanner.  I mean, I'm sympathetic up to a point, but don't go messin' with my phone!

My humble little phone has a special pocket in the Red Bag of Splurge.  It's safe and protected in there, and I almost never lose it, but it's hard to hear through the excellent sound-dampening qualities of Vera Bradley quilting.  Fortunately, I get few calls, because, as a non-texter, you have to TALK to me on my phone.  It's an old-fashioned custom, difficult for some to master, a quaint holdover from those bygone days of land-lines and home phones.

So I enjoy making life difficult for my tech-savvy friends, like purposely misusing tech terms to get on their nerves.  I've learned that people don't like it when you call their iPhone a Blackberry, or vice-versa.  But a few months ago I acquired my own device that turned me into one of those geeky gadget-worshippers:  I got a Kindle e-reader.  It's possible I may love it too much.  In fact, the next installment of blog is dedicated to my sweet little Kindle, Jane.

 Until then, I'm crawling back in my cave for a little light reading...


  1. Blogs just don't get any better than Michelle.

  2. Agreed, Margaret. And I'm ever so impressed with her car-speak!

  3. I'm so pleased you've started to post once more and really sorry it's been difficult for you later. You once again had me laughing out loud. You have a real gift in expressing your experiences about everyday stuff. Please please keep writing.
    Thanks for your comment on my butterflies. Did you check out my previous blog?