26 May 2009

Battery-powered love

For a year and a half now, I have been having a love affair with a highly sophisticated mechanical device. No, it is not a vibrator, but I'm pretty sure if I checked the App Store, I would likely find something to satisfy those needs.

It is my iPhone.

I have long been a PDA kind of girl. I got my first Palm Pilot in the late 1990s, when I still worked for pay, in an actual office. I succumbed to the PDA craze that swept my colleagues, cast aside my beloved Filofax, and never looked back. A Palm Pilot was so much smaller than a Filofax! I loved keeping track of my schedule this way; I could set it to beep, and remind me of things, or places I needed to be! I loved the note pad; which eliminated the need for random scraps of paper with VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION that I had to tote around, and inevitably lost. I quickly mastered the now arcane shorthand language of graffiti necessary for writing notes, with the stylus. But I still needed a cell phone, and was lazy (or just as likely, not adept) with moving my contacts into the cell phone's book, so I had to whip out the Palm Pilot every time I made a call.

Eventually I graduated from the Palm Pilot to a Treo, which had the advantage of being a phone as well as a PDA, thus solving one problem, but by then, I was also carrying an iPod around. Still two devices. Plus, I was too cheap to pay for a data plan. At that point, I was a housewife, and I couldn't justify the additional expense for data; I was not receiving email of such importance that it had to be dealt with immediately, and was home often enough that I could take care of these things on my computer.

I am all about streamlining, so when the iPhone was announced, in January 2007, my pulse quickened. At last, here was a device that could accommodate ALL my needs in one neat package. As soon as I was out of contract with Verizon, which had been my provider for eight years, I jumped ship for AT&T. So much for brand loyalty.

With an iPhone, the data plan is mandatory; it is, if you will pardon my French, the raison d'etre, for the objet. And this is when my world changed DRAMATICALLY.

By this time in my life, Sacha was two and change, and I found it a great challenge to sit down at my computer for any length of time with him around. And with me being his mother, and he my son, HE WAS ALWAYS AROUND. Sacha is famous for choosing inopportune moments for expressing his affection. When we are grocery shopping, as he sits in the cart facing me, he often feels the sudden urge to hug me and tell me, "I LOVE YOU, MAMA." It is very hard to resist this outpouring of love, so we walk about the supermarket for a bit, he with his arms clasped around my neck, nose to nose. Until I get fed up with trying to do my shopping while being literally smothered by love, and pry him off. Lather rinse, repeat; you get the point.

Likewise, with the computer, as soon as I sit at my desk--I call this the ass sensor, and believe that every child is hardwired with this feature--and Sacha hears the click of the keyboard, he will drop whatever it is he is doing, because he's now realized that he is the mood for love, and must climb up on my lap for a snuggle. Forget seeing your screen, and attempting to type this way is merely an exercise in frustration.

So the iPhone has become my de facto computer, and in that, it has opened up new worlds for me. Now, I can check my email anywhere, and so I do! If I am curious about something, I can look it up on the Web, just like that! I no longer need to carry reading material with me when I go to a doctor's appointment, because, armed with my phone, I can read just about anything I might desire to read in print. But that was just the beginning.

I can color code my schedule, so that every member of my family has their own color, making it easier, in theory, to identify who is doing what when. In theory, because I haven't figured out how to assign colors to match up with the ones I've assigned on my desktop iCal, so it gets a bit muddy for me. But this is a minor quibble.

I can make lists using the notes feature, and erase things as they're done. For an obsessive compulsive veteran list-maker like myself, this is not as satisfying as checking things off, as I did on my Treo--I am the kind of person who will, on occasion, put items on a list that I have already completed, JUST FOR THE PLEASURE OF TICKING THEM OFF. But still, it works for me.

With Google Reader, a news aggregator, I discovered the world of blogs, which I had been hearing about for some time, but had only dabbled in, as it was too frustrating to sit at the computer for any length of time with Sacha around. While I'm sure there are an infinite number of crap blogs out there (present company excluded, natch), there are also many that are truly excellent, and reading them in part inspired me to eventually write this one.

I'm not huge on Apps, but there are a few that I find very useful; I keep my grocery list with Grocery IQ (again, no more pieces of paper!); and iTalk, a voice recording program, which is handy for recording funny conversations with my kids, or for oral notes during guitar lessons. (My teacher can play something, and explain the chord switches, or strum pattern, for me to refer to during the week when I practice.) I've even downloaded a free guitar tuner (again, streamlining; not another single use device!)

I use the built-in clock, which has a timer, for meditation. (I've noticed in the App store, you choose from a range of special meditation timers, which give you time to set yourself up, but that seems a bit like lily-guilding to me.) Sometimes, to amuse myself when I have a friend over, we set the timer to see exactly how long we can have a conversation before one of the children interrupts us. (It's never been longer than 60 seconds.)

As time goes by, I have grown more and more attached to my phone. When it broke a few months ago--the touch screen suddenly stopped responding--I felt a surge of anxiety wash over me. Although I told myself, FOR GOD SAKE, WOMAN, NO ONE IS HURT, HAVE SOME PERSPECTIVE, I couldn't rest easily until I got myself to the Apple Store for a consultation. (Long story short, I got a new phone. Make sure you get Apple Care.)

The phone and I have gradually become increasingly attached at the hip. My children are all sleeping later, and I really like to have a half hour to myself in the morning before they awake, so I got the idea to bring my phone up to bed with me, and charge it in my room, so that I could use it as an alarm clock. (I've yet to set it.) But now, my phone accompanies me to bed at night.

Sometimes, instead of reading a
book, as is our habit at bedtime, I find myself in bed, with my phone, catching up on my favorite blogs, and Twitter. As soon as I wake, I unplug the phone from its charger, check the weather, and my Twitter Feed. Then phone comes back down stairs with me in the morning.

Since I have become a devoted reader of food blogs, I have bookmarked many recipes, which I now refer to more than my cookbooks. (And I have quite an extensive collection of cookbooks.) And so the phone is always in the kitchen with me when I cook.

At this point, it is seldom out of my sight. It is always in the room with me, and not because I am expecting an important call, or any call for that matter. I don't receive that many phone calls; I'm not that popular. I mean, I don't even have one hundred friends on Facebook.

So me and my phone are more or less inseparable at this point. One day this week, as I came downstairs in the morning, phone tucked in the pocket of my robe, it occurred to me, OH MY GOD, I AM FORTY YEARS OLD, AND I HAVE A LOVEY!

But I am not going to give it a name.


  1. I feel so 20th century! And btw how do you do that thing where you say something and it becomes a link? I have been thinking about getting an iPhone but I don't have a Sacha so am not sure I need it.

  2. Mari, It's all in the magic of blogger. You just press a button, and poof! it's a link. You don't need a Sacha to want an iPhone. As one of my favorite yoga teachers says, "want everything, need nothing."