“I’m going for a walk. Do you want to look at my phone? John looks at his Samsung as if it were a hand grenade with the pin ready to dislodge.
He has a handy pocket for his phone. It snaps to his belt and hangs down his hip like a gun holster. But he doesn’t like to take his camera anywhere. He thinks it’s safer at home.
Before I could comment, he got out. I am left alone to telephone.
Her baby phone is easy to maintain. He rarely makes a sound and has a generic, unapplied face that reflects John’s simple communication needs. I pick it up off the table and pick it up where I’m sitting.
The. He’s sitting on the arm of the sofa, right next to my own phone. I flip them both face up so I can react to their slightest buzzing, ringing or blinking.
John’s phone is on standby; this is usually the case. The only time it moves is to confirm doctor’s appointments, falcon scams, or to alert John to a new photo of someone’s pet on Facebook.
His phone is a utility. A necessary evil that leads him to the wrong destinations with his confusing maps, annoys him with “senseless” notifications to update this or that, and reports voicemail notifications whose possible messages panic him.
It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to take it with him when he goes for a leisurely walk. John would be happy if his phone hung on the kitchen wall, where a long, looped cord kept it tied to its place.
I tried to show him all the features offered by his phone. It’s a marvel of information and entertainment. From shopping to reading books to watching videos. His baby is so much fun, if only he took the time to bond with him.
After a few minutes of instruction, John declares his disinterest and breaks the “closed” circle at the bottom of his screen. “I don’t need all this,” he mutters, dropping it face down on the table.
Instead, he depends on my phone for all his needs. My apps are ready to find any bolt, paint, cord or fishing gear it needs. Every phone number he needs is a Google search away. Hours. Location. Price. It’s up to my phone to help her navigate life.
I don’t mind using mine for most things we need. Most of the time, I can find exactly the information he wants by the time he finishes telling me about it; why he is looking for it, when he decided to look for it, and how he will use the results I am looking for.
But I can’t help but feel sorry for her neglected, memoryless little baby monitor. He’s as innocent as a newborn, just waiting to be played with and filled with a digital story.
I wonder if John is thinking about his phone as he walks through the park. Does he wonder if a terrible message is missing? Does it seem like he’s somehow incomplete without his communication appendage? Is he worried he had to bring it in case he tripped and needed help?
I doubt. He’s not like the rest of us who never lose sight of our phones.
And while he may be missing all the fun his phone holds, I can appreciate his independent spirit. I can’t imagine spending more than a few minutes without mine next to me.
I pat her phone on her sleeping back and pick up mine, opening a random app. I can almost hear him coo with happiness.
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