Lifestyle & Culture

Don’t Call Me

August 2, 2020



SURELY we can all agree the human race is in trouble. I keep hoping for some master race from another planet, like the Overlords in Arthur C. Clark’s Childhood’s End only nicer, to come and save us, but it seems that Man is supposedly the most intelligent life form in the Universe, except maybe for the dolphins who aren’t talking.

The leading cause of Man’s growing stupidity is the dominance of the ubiquitous cell phone, which may or may not cause brain cancer. (The doctors can’t decide because they all have cell phones, too.) Tired of being under its thumb, metaphorically of course, yesterday I threw mine against the bathroom wall, which didn’t seem to hurt it a bit. So then I threw it on the floor, and again it was perfectly fine, which enraged me enough to slam it against the porcelain sink, an action that mercifully smashed its screen and caused some digital-looking things to fly out of it. Then I tossed it into the kitchen garbage pail where, about 15 minutes later, I heard it ringing, insistently. So then I put it in the outside trash bin and if it’s ringing now I can’t hear it because later that afternoon they picked up our trash, even though it was a holiday, and it’s now at the Freeport town dump.

Plain and simple, the phone was making me dumb, a worrisome situation I could no longer pretend wasn’t happening. I was spending far too much time of each precious day of my life looking for it, despite thinking I always put it in the same place. Still, it wasn’t there, or there, or even there, and I’d have to go through the house several times, then out to my car, then back into the house and look on the back porch or maybe it fell in the hot tub? So then I’d call my number to hear the ring, hoping the ringer was turned on. And then I’d be late for wherever it was I was heading when I discovered I didn’t have my phone and couldn’t possibly go without it because God forbid a million times what if my car broke down, which it never, ever has because it’s an Audi and they don’t, and before that it was a Saab and they don’t either, at least not in the first three years which is how long I keep them.

Then when I finally found the phone I would spend too much time playing games on it. Actually just one game, that addictive “Words With Friends” that I play to keep from getting Alzheimer’s like my mother had, but still it was keeping me from reading more books or scholarly articles on cancer research and meditating and who knows what else, perhaps perfecting my chocolate mousse skills which is something I have never made even once but might have by now if it weren’t for constantly playing that damn “Words With Friends.”

So is your phone ruining your marriage, like all those couples you see everywhere who sit across from one another at a table, take out their phones and never even look up until the food arrives? Is it making you dumber by never needing to know anything since you can just whip out your phone and Google it and end the discussion, not that there was one in the first place since everyone’s looking at their Facebook feed?  Free at last, I feel better phoneless. Still, I keep looking skyward, hoping they’ll come soon.

—Andrea Rouda

Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid

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