Sunday, June 14, 2009

Time Warp

After five years, my mobile phone wanted to have some 'time apart'. It did this by committing suicide every few days, and I would be forced to resurrect it by ripping the battery out.

We've had a good run. I barely used it, and it was fine with that. But, I can't stay with a phone that wants to die. For starters, I have no other contact number. Kinda a big deal, that.

So I upgraded. Grudgingly. Resentfully.

I've put off getting a new phone for some time. I knew the end was coming, but I was happy with what I had; a phone. Calls and text messages. That's all. All new phones that people pulled out and showed off in front of me, they came packed with so many features and heaps of connectivity. I don't want features. I really don't want to be connected. I want a phone.

But, oh well. If I must make this step, then I'll do it properly. Screaming. Shrieking. I have to admit, after some mild teething problems, the iPhone is pretty neat. I have science fiction in my pocket. I HAVE SCIENCE FICTION IN MY POCKET. It knows where I am! (Alarming.) It's learns my spelling, it learns! (Alarming.) Because it contains a keystroke logger! (Alarming.) IT CONNECTS ME TO THE INTERNET AT ALL TIMES. ALARM. ALARM. ALARM.

Because I love walking away from all my connectivity. I love being unreachable. I love being away from the feeling that I should be checking my accounts, to see if someone has sent me something. I love not being in a position to respond to anything said to me. I love not being able to receive anything sent to me. I love being away from you all, even as I love you.

I love being off the radar, off the edge of the map.

I love being off.

I haven't set up email on the phone, because I don't want access to it 24/7. So far I haven't fallen into the trap of checking through web interfaces. So far, I've just been treating it as I treated the old one; like a phone. There to be forgotten and ignored.

I wonder if people will expect me to check my mail, now that I can, and respond promptly. Is that expected of everyone? Are we unwittingly rising to an apex of perfect impatience in our demands for acknowledgment? Smack me if I nag. Sometimes, I'm not replying because I haven't checked my mail. And sometimes, I'm not replying because I don't feel like it. There is no one who needs my attention immediately. None of us are obliged to drop everything on receipt of a message.

(One thing the old phone definitely had up on the iPhone (henceforth referred to as Spartacus)is that it always displayed the time and an icon to show if there were any messages or missed calls. I could check it without touching it. I resent having to wake up the Spartacus every. single. time.)

Where to from here? More connectivity? How connected can we get? Should we be so perpetually connected? I know I don't want to be, but I think I'm being dragged along and into this tangle of connections anyway. For better or worse, we all are. I dread to think what, in five years time, the next phone will be. Something that reads my mind and sends prompts to my friends when I need attention? Coddle me, my piece of pocket science fiction, validate my existence. I dare you.

But as long as I can keep my MONKEEEEEEEEEY! ringtone, I will not fight the onset of the future too hard.

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