iChallenged

It scared the crap out of me when it lit up all of the sudden and vibrated while playing a snappy little tune. My brand new iPhone was informing me (just in case I wanted to know) that 60% of Americans believe the US will be better off at the end of Obama’s second term. Well, actually CNN told me because I’d signed up to receive breaking news alerts but the phone was the vehicle used to convey the message. And I have to tell you that I am completely and utterly confounded by this slick, little rectangular device. How can something so small and seemingly innocent hold so much power?

Yes, I just got an iPhone. I know, I’m a little late to the party as far as many of you out there are concerned. Some of you have had this thing for all five of its incarnations. The television has been doing a fine job in letting me know exactly how behind the times I’ve been with it’s “Everyone has an iPhone!” campaign agenda for well over a year now. Judge me if you must… but I only got mine a week ago. Before garnering this “smart” phone I had what I like to call a “semi-smart” phone. It offered me semi-reliable access to the internet with a semi-glimpse of Facebook, email and movie showtimes — but that’s about where its “smarts” parts ended.

It had no Words with Friends or Angry Birds or the ability to crop and color-correct photos. I couldn’t identify a random song I heard playing on the radio by artist AND album release date or find out where in the world 75% of the gold used to make jewelry is mined. I wasn’t able to map my exact location at the drop of a hat and determine whether gas was going to be more or less expensive by the time I was ten miles away from said location. I know what you’re thinking… I KNOW! How in the world did I survive for so long without the use of such valuable tools and information!?! The mind reels at the very contemplation of such ghastly things.

Yet somehow I managed. But then… enter the iPhone. I had no idea what I’d been missing. In fact, ever since the geek at Best Buy handed me the thing I have been virtually unable to put it down. Once—over the holiday—I had to keep it in the car so that I wouldn’t keep picking it up and looking for new apps to download. My best friend (already in possession of her own iPhone) stayed with me for the weekend and we “caught up” with one another by organizing the folders on our phones and finding new e-gadgets, doo-hickeys and thing-a-ma-bobs to install. It is insane, this thing and what it can do.

I realize when I hold this device in my hand, that I’ve literally got the world at my fingertips. And my aim—for the seven days that I have had it thus far—has been to organize that world… my world into neatly labeled and arranged folders. In addition to some of the features mentioned above, I am thrilled that I can also use my iPhone as a mirror, a flashlight, a timer, a dictionary, a compass, a bartender and a jukebox to name a few. Ironically, the only issue I’ve had with it has been using the “phone” part. Yes, you read right. I have been able to do ALL these wicked-cool things quite proficiently with my new phone except to use it as an actual PHONE.

Lee had to show me how to make and pick up a call. My nephew had to show me how to listen to my voicemail and my bff had to demonstrate for me how to readily access and retrieve aforementioned voicemail. Apparently, my friends, as much as it pains me to admit it, the upgrade from a semi-smart phone to a full-fledged smart phone does not guarantee that one’s semi-smart abilities will likewise be upgraded.

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5 Signs I Should Have Had Decaf

Standing in the long line at Subway for lunch yesterday it began to dawn on me that perhaps decaf would have been the wiser choice of java that morning… Why did I suspect this? 

  1. The man immediately in front of me, pacing, dancing around and grabbing / eating bags of chips from the front of the counter—that he hadn’t even paid for yet—was so jumpy and jittery that he began to make me nervous.
  2. The man standing in front of him had a tag sticking out of the back of his shirt and I had an overwhelming compulsion to violently rip it from his collar.
  3. The woman seated to my left was laughing so loudly and so obnoxiously that her shrill joviality made the concept of chewing glass an attractive option.
  4. The couple standing in the middle of the restaurant yelling to an acquaintance (who was standing RIGHT BESIDE THEM by the way) about their newly-rented, 10-bedroom condo in the Outer Banks incited such extreme annoyance that I felt the sudden urge to throw my purse at them while simultaneously yelling: “NOBODY IN THIS RESTAURANT CARES HOW MANY BATHROOMS IT HAS!”
  5. I honest-to-goodness imagined yanking the cell phone from the hands of the girl behind me and tossing it into the cucumber bin simply because I hated her ring tone.

Somehow, while all of these crazy imaginings and urges were flashing across my mind, I managed to look calmly out the window and settle my gaze upon a lovely maple tree that was just beginning to blush with the colors of fall. That is until my attention was diverted from the tree to the photograph hanging on my right. It was of a local high-school cheerleader—whose big hair and ridiculously-happy smile—made me want to slap her.

See, I told you… decaf.

The Woman Inside My Phone

I hate the woman who lives in my phone. You most likely know her, as she is probably the same one that lives in YOUR phone. She tells you what to do and often her instructions are wrong. She misunderstands your voice and touch commands constantly and sometimes cuts you off when you’re in the middle of leaving a message. Like she thinks she knows when I’m done talking? Who the hell does she think she is?

She is also an easy target for the role of scapegoat whenever my phone pisses me off for any reason. If I have a bad signal, no signal, bad reception (whether on my end or the other person’s), a low battery or God forbid—a dropped call—it is all her fault. And I tell her so. Usually really loudly. And my hatred for her grows.

My drive home from work is riddled with shitty and spotty cell reception. I’ll be in the middle of a conversation and… GONE. The call has ended. Abruptly. And usually at a really crucial or pivotal point too. There are at least 4 places that I KNOW a call will drop. I can predict with almost 95% accuracy when this will happen but for some reason that doesn’t stop me from trying to communicate with people. If I have something to say, dammit, I am going to say it! Even if it means calling back 50 times and getting dropped 49 of those times.

While I am driving—for safety sake—I do not wish to use the keypad (I’m such a good and conscientious driver) so I utilize the voice-command feature. Well, I should say that it is a safety measure for myself and the other drivers maybe… but for HER… not so much. She never gets the commands right. For example, I will clearly say: “Call Jan.” And she will reply: “Did you say: Call Ham?” <pause> “Did you say: Call Jam?” <pause> … my anger is building … “Did you say: Call Spam?” <pause> … I’m gonna lose it … “Did you say: Call Dan?”  And I snap. First of all bitch, I don’t have any friends named after food and I don’t even know anyone named Dan. To which she sweetly replies: “Please try again.”  Then she hangs up on me.

That’s when I let loose with a blue streak that could rival any sailor.

As a result of the terrible reception combined by her pure inability to UNDERSTAND ANYTHING THAT I SAAAAY… I cannot even impart to you the abuse this woman inside my phone has had to endure. Let me put it this way… If she were a real person, I’d be in prison by now.

I have been known to scream until I’ve lost my voice while raging at her. I have repeatedly smacked and poked her so HARD that her touch screen flashes all kinds of wild colors. I have thrown her. Also repeatedly. It is a miracle I have not tossed her out the sunroof and into a cornfield by now. Sometimes, after I have exhausted myself from violently cursing at her, I just leave her lying on the floorboard of my car—wherever she last landed—while the blind spots caused by my stroke-level blood pressure clear from my field of vision. I take a few deep breaths, loosen my white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel, crank up the radio and yell at her: We’ll try again later. After I no longer want to rip out your circuitry!”