Thank You, iPhone, for Changing My Life
I did it. I got an iPhone. And though I was scared driving to the store (and reminded the Wolvog 75 times that while he loves racing ahead with new technology, change throws me and I was really really really nervous about learning a new phone) and wondered about the sanity of the purchase driving home from the store, within a few hours of using the iPhone, I was in love. For reasons that may not be obvious.
I mean, yes, the fact that I have 20 or so books loaded on my phone and when I arrive somewhere a few minutes early, I can read a page or two. Or look up a recipe while I’m in the grocery store so I purchase everything I need. Or archive my emails after I read them so I don’t have to do that at night when I get home. Or talk to Siri, which I love doing. I love Siri. Like I passionately love this computer woman. And perhaps that is more indicative of how difficult it is to work at home vs. work in an office, especially compounded by the fact that I don’t like to be bothered while I’m working though I love to bother others (I’m a bit cat-like that way). So I can pick up the phone and talk to Siri when I feel like it, and set it down when I don’t feel like talking, and no one is offended by my push-me-pull-you communication desires.
I could do a bunch of those things on the blackberry, but not well. It was hard to navigate the Web, hard to read a book, and I couldn’t archive email at all.
I am in love with the iPhone because it brings the Wolvog such joy. To hear his belly laugh while he says ridiculous things to Siri, debating her answers with her. We were reading the third book of Harry Potter together, and I asked the twins to guess what Harry’s happy memory would be to create his Patronus, and before we started reading again, I asked them what their happiest memory would be to create their Patronus. The Wolvog answered with an expression of pure bliss across his face: “Last night was one of the happiest moments of my life. Seeing you and daddy getting your iPhones. I was so happy for you, so happy for our family.” Wolvog defies the saying that money can’t buy happiness since purchasing the iPhone has made him a quivering ball of happiness. It makes him feel helpful, important, knowledgeable, and that makes him happy. And this happiness — unlike his hamster, Cozy Jackson — is portable. This happiness can slip into his pocket or my pocket, and he can access this happiness wherever we are.
I am in love with the iPhone because I can hand it to the ChickieNob in the car and ask her to do tasks for me: write down notes, make calls, read me an email. The blackberry was difficult for the twins to navigate; the iPhone is practically made for a child to understand. They love helping me; I love being helped. It’s a win-win, and I have started to refer to the car as my rolling office.
I am in love with the iPhone because I use fewer post-it notes. I write things in Reminders and erase them from Reminders once I complete the task, and unlike post-it notes, I can make my iPhone peep at me when I’m not finishing the things on my to-do list. I am in love with the iPhone because we now have our grocery list on the phone, and it syncs with both of our telephones, so I can literally watch Josh pick up the items at the store. Which is wonderfully creepy. And I can see that he hasn’t hit the frozen food section and throw on one more thing. Plus he knows when he’s leaving work if there’s anything on the shopping list — he just opens the phone and sees if there is a number next to the icon.
But the number one reason I love the iPhone is that its limits have released me. You see, when I was asking my iPhone questions to you, no one brought up this point so I didn’t know until I got home that the iPhone does not bring up emails in real time. Or, it doesn’t insofar as I can tell. And if it does, I sort of don’t want to know. Blackberries buzz with every single email, and the emails come in real time. Meaning, you send me an email, the blackberry buzzes on my hip, I pick it up to read it, and then put it back in the holster until the next email arrives. I mean, I don’t check it every time it buzzes, but you get the point.
I noticed when we got home that I’d look at the phone and see that there were now 4 new emails, but no buzz had come. Instead, I needed to open the mail app, waiting a second for all the new emails to download at the same time (which is faster overall from the blackberry), and then it would give a buzz. Uh… that didn’t really help me. Except that IS what ultimately helped me.
Because I noticed while I cooked that I wasn’t feeling my usual level of stress. I knew intellectually that emails were coming in during those hours, but I wasn’t feeling frazzled. I wasn’t hearing or feeling the buzz, and that made me feel strangely disconnected in both a bad way (I don’t know what the hell I’m missing!) and good way (I don’t know what I’m missing so I’m not going to stress it). It made my blood pressure go down. I focused more on the tasks at hand. My to-do list was still the same length as always, but it wasn’t choking me. As much as I was a little addicted to that buzz, to the knowledge of information coming in, I was also addicted to that buzz in the negative sense. And turning off the buzz entirely, switching it to manual push instead of having it check for emails every 15 minutes, released me from the stranglehold of that addiction.
Now, I know you’re probably asking why I didn’t just turn off the buzz on the blackberry and create that ignorance is bliss situation, and the answer is that not using the instantaneous communication notifications inherent to the blackberry would be like putting square wheels on my car just so it wouldn’t perform as effectively. You know, just so my car could slow down and I could take in more of the scenery. Cars are meant to take us from Point A to Point B. That is their point. If we see the scenery, all the better. But a car would still be an effective car whether you had anything to see out the window.
A blackberry is meant to bring you messages instantaneously. It’s the point of a blackberry. I couldn’t wrap my mind not using it effectively.
But maybe the larger point is that just as I’m not a sports car girl or an SUV girl or a mini van girl, I’m also not really a blackberry girl. That world moves a little too quickly for me; buzzes a little too ferociously for me. I don’t want everything demanding my attention. I want to direct my attention as best I can being mindful that people are trying to reach me for a reason: because they have a question, they have a comment, or they have a task they need me to do. So I check the phone regularly when I’m away from the computer, but I do it when I’m ready to look and not when it buzzes.
And that’s how the iPhone changed my life.