Monday, November 3, 2014

A Public Apology To Smartphone Users

I've written before about all of the benefits of not having a cellphone. I've casually acknowledged how irritated my friends get when they aren't able to reach me immediately with something super important (like the latest funny cat video or pictures of what they ate for lunch). I realize that by not having a cellphone myself, I have made their lives drastically more difficult. Sorry guys!

While I have been quick to point out the many perks of NOT having a smart phone, I now realize that I haven't adequately acknowledged how very demanding life with a smart phone can be. I tip my hat to you smart phone users. I've been walking around boasting about the facility of my cellphone-free lifestyle without completely understanding all of the hard work you guys put in on a daily basis.

For instance, I woke up yesterday, stretched, and groaned about needing coffee. Then just threw back the covers and staggered toward the kitchen for caffeine.

I didn't have to jump up, fix my hair, apply uber-natural looking make-up (just enough to hide the dark circles under my eyes and maybe highlight my naturally high cheekbones), then strategically tousle my hair to make it look rumpled yet groomed, then practice my sultry freshly-wakened look in the mirror. I didn't then climb back into bed and snap several pictures from different angles in an attempt to capture the perfect "look how sexy I am in the morning" selfie. I didn't realize just how much easier waking up is for me.

Also, when I realized there was no coffee in the house, I just grabbed the keys, cruised through town obeying traffic laws, and bought a steaming fresh cup for myself. I was completely ready with my order when it was my turn. Then I simply consumed it while it was still piping hot (sigh).

I didn't have to tweet or text my no coffee horror to the masses. I didn't have to rip myself away from all of the "likes" and replies that came streaming in while I was attempting to drive (or try to answer them while swerving dangerously through traffic and almost mowing down innocent pedestrians). I didn't have to fumble away from the screen of my phone when I reached the front of the line. The barista was not angry with me for barely acknowledging her existence. I didn't have to capture a picture of my coffee with my camera phone, angling the light just right to pick up the spiraling steam and then post the picture to Instagram, Facebook, and Snap chat all while my coffee cooled to room temperature before finally getting a chance to taste it. I concede that purchasing coffee is much more of an ordeal for you.

When I went for a walk outside yesterday, I was able to notice traffic and safely yield while crossing the street. I was even aware of my surroundings. I saw a falcon swoop through the trees in an attempt to capture an unsuspecting squirrel (I was secretly rooting for the squirrel). I smiled at the elderly gentleman who passed me on the sidewalk, and waved at my neighbors who were working in their yards.

I didn't have to check the hour-by-hour weather forecast before venturing into the world outside my home. I didn't have to wander out into traffic because I was following a long line of celebrity tweets or answering my BFF's text messages about nothing, risking my life or causing automobile accidents. I didn't have to miss cool acts of nature because I was frantically trying to capture them on video for my YouTube channel.  I didn't almost knock over the elderly gentleman coming up the sidewalk, causing him to break a hip and probably file a civil lawsuit against me to cover his enormous medical bills. I didn't miss out on bonding with my neighbors and forming a closer-knit community (Or the guilt-induced motivation to mow my lawn and trim the bushes). Taking a walk for you smartphone users is much, much more complicated than simply putting one foot in front of the other

When I ate dinner with my family, we actually had real conversations, the kind with spoken words instead of texts and actual eye contact. I also ate my meal while it was fresh and warm and delicious.

I didn't have to check online restaurant reviews before making decisions about where we would eat. I didn't have to update my location on social media so everyone would be aware of my restaurant choice. I didn't have to limit my communication with my family to 120 characters or text speak and emoticons. I didn't have to worry about misinterpretations due to lack of verbal inflection and body language. I didn't have to take pictures of every single course, slowing down the natural pace of our meal, or have to convince a very busy waitress to please take a photo of our whole group so we could immortalize the occasion of a typical family dinner... or convince her that she should take another one because the first one was blurry... or convince her to take another one because I had my eyes closed... or convince her take another one because the angle was kind of funny and made me look fat.

And when we sat down to watch my favorite television show (The Walking Dead. Hooray!), I just sat and watched it, enjoying the shared moment with my family. And popcorn!

I didn't have to update statuses with my emotional shock of each scene or follow social media play-by-play. I didn't have to keep up with a text conversation with my friends as we discussed the convoluted plot twists while trying not to miss anything that was actually happening on-screen. I didn't have to rush through Candy Crush levels during short commercial breaks. What an ordeal all of that must be.

So, I'm sorry.

I wasn't aware of how utterly taxing it is to be tied to a smart phone. So I'm issuing this formal apology to all of my friends, family, and acquaintances. I wasn't aware of the extra work and commitment that goes into what, for me, are incredibly easy tasks. My insensitivity to your plight is inexcusable. In the future I will make every effort to understand the hardships and frustration you must face everyday.

I'm sorry. I promise to try to  be more accommodating and  hospitable. I just didn't understand everything you were going through.

Y'all probably deserve a special parking space or something...

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