My iPhone5 is smarter than I am. Exponentially. The first time it rang, I didn’t know how to answer the call. The salesman in the Verizon store smiled, flicked his finger over an icon and said, “Put it up to your ear and talk.”
It knows how to get directions from where I am to where I want to go. It knows where to find the nearest pizza shop, Thai restaurant, gas station and where the nearest theater playing “The Sessions” is located. There’s a ton more it can do. All I have to do is figure it out. Considering the fact that iPhone-istas say that there’s enough horsepower in an iPhone to have sent the first rocket to the moon, that seems to be a steep learning curve.
Until last week I was the master of my own universe. I could program my DVR, navigate the clicker to play video, DVD, or even old VHS tapes. I could program my microwave to cook whatever I deposited onto the carousel. I could whip out my little two-year-old clamshell LG flip phone, send texts, take a photo now and then, set alarms, and effortlessly make and receive phone calls, which was what I thought was the primary purpose of a cell phone.
Driving along in my car last week, my little phone rang – I pressed the button on the steering wheel to answer. Nothing. Frantic digging around in pockets ensued. I headed to my dealership. Surely they could make my phone work again.
“The Bluetooth function in your phone has died,” the service tech explained after punching in some numbers on the console and trying to revive my poor little artifact. In the next few seconds, he whipped out his iPhone, fiddled with the console and BAM, his iPhone showed up on my digital console.
“You need one of these,” he grinned.
My friend Christopher, one of many who’ve been lobbying for me to get an iPhone, was thrilled to take me to the Verizon store. An hour after perusing the merchandise, my snappy new iPhone was in my pocket. It chirps, bongs and plays a cool little piano riff, depending on whether I’m receiving a text message, email, or phone call.
Responding to a text is comical. A caveman using a chisel on a smooth piece of bedrock could hammer out a short message faster and more accurately than I. My forefinger is useless at homing in on the letter I want to use. For every correct letter I manage there are two or three I delete. I regularly throw my hands up in utter frustration. This is progress?
Then Christopher tells me about Siri.
When I miraculously learn how to find her, she coos in a soft voice, “How can I help you?”
He points out the microphone icon, and says, “Tell her whether you want to send an email or text message to someone in your address book, and tell her whatever punctuation you want and where you want it.”
Siri and I have a moment.
Dear Siri comma I feel like a dope using this phone period It takes me more time to use the keyboard to write a text message than it took Gutenberg to invent the printing press period The only App I can use with utter confidence is the Clock period. Forget the camera period. The shutter button is so sensitive it takes me several tries to make a decent photo that includes a person’s head period And what about the keyboard question mark Can’t you make a larger one so I can hit the right letter every single time question mark I could mail a letter and get a response faster than how it’s going now period. I am aware that the so-called interfaces on the phone are said to be intuitive period Hah explanation mark All men may have been created equal but that does not include equal distribution of intuition period Trust me on this period I couldn’t find my way out of a digital paper bag exclamation point And another thing period Can’t you give a guy more time to compose a message before you say quote ready to send your message unquote question mark Other than that comma this device comma notice I said device comma nobody calls them phones any more comma might over time comma and we are talking geological time frames here comma still prove to be the cool device that people rave about in commercials during the Super Bowl period By the way comma you have any idea where I could score a good seat for next year’s game question mark smiley face
Photo taken, after several miserable attempts to get the whole phone in the frame, by me with my trigger finger happy iPhone.