A Smarter Phone


Above: One of these is not a phone. It just thinks it is.



My  reliable red flip phone did exactly what I expected it to do: it made phone calls.

But here’s what it didn’t do that I wasn’t expecting to need: easy texting.

Turns out, lots of people like to text and some of them text to me. To answer a text, I had to tap this key three times and that key twice and it took forever and my arthritic thumbs were sore! Not to mention (but I will) how frustrating this is and what confusion results when I’m in the wispy clutches of brain fog and anything and everything is already too much effort. When I wasn’t up to making a phone call because just the thought of interacting with a real person was overwhelming, texting on this flip phone was almost as taxing.

So I got a smart phone.

This phone is smarter than I am even when I’m at my most alert. E.g., I think I’m talking on the phone but the phone decides this would be an excellent time to take a video of my feet. OR — I think I’m answering my phone but my phone decides to show me little black and grey boxes of setting options.

Expletives were emitted (and not by the phone!) during these frustrating interruptions to my intentions. And my husband would say:

Why don’t you check the manual?

If there even was a manual, I wouldn’t want to check it. I just want to answer the phone! I DON’T WANT TO TAKE LESSONS IN HOW TO ANSWER THE PHONE!

Why don’t you check the manual?

So these days I’m getting along much better with my phone. We’ve had a while to get acquainted. Of course, I’ve had to give a little, modify my approach and pick up on the little hints my phone gives me about how it wants to be treated. In return, I get a little thrill every time I successfully answer the phone.

And the phone is kind enough to beautifully display photos of my grandchildren at the swipe of a thumb (such a useful feature when some kind-hearted person wants to show me endless photos of their cats). My phone will cooperate by taking pictures of an interesting bench for sale at a junk shop or kids rubber boots at a yard sale (Sent to DIL with Are these the right size?).

The phone is less cooperative when I want to play Pokemon Go with a grandson. It sulks and gets glitchy. I think it considers Pokemon Go beneath its dignity or maybe not part of its job description. Playing Pokemon Go is certainly way beyond any job description I would have ever written for a phone!

In fact, “phone” is not a good name for this device. Even “smart phone” isn’t sufficient. “Device” is more accurate but less descriptive. If you strung all the words that fit together to make a new noun to name this object in its full glory, you’d probably be speaking German and people would get up and leave the room before you were even finished enunciating all the syllables.

Now that the device and I are better friends, I am a better Friend (Quaker) because I am not cursing as often.

And my husband? Well, he decided to get his own smart phone (for reasons I won’t go into except to say that his black flip phone was left on the patio overnight during a thunderstorm). The phone came in the mail in a clean-looking box with a dock and a charging cord and a little folder explaining how to activate your account. Just like mine did.

And now, every time I hear my dear husband curse because he’s missed another call or he can’t access his voice mail, I oh-so-sweetly say to him:

Why don’t you check the manual?