A glob of mayonnaise on your iPhone screen can not be “scrolled” away. Stop trying. Really! You’re making a mess.
Tag Archives: phone
How appropriate that the sign on my phone when it is checking for email is a circle chasing itself around. Little dashes race around in a circle like a tiny flashing neon sign announcing, “live nude girls,” or “open all night!” (I am imagining those as two distinct signs). The neon is lacking in my little monochromatic circle, but the intensity is there. As the circle chases itself next to the word “Connecting…” I feel my insides churn; I feel the anticipation of the possibility of connection.
It is in the moment of not yet loaded, of connecting that I taste the most possibility. Someone might have written to me, someone could have reached out. There may be something touching about to appear in my inbox. Maybe. Still connecting.
Even now, as I type on my computer, I am called to push the “home” button on my iPhone, to glide my thumb over the smooth surface of the words “slide to unlock” and see if anyone is trying to connect with me. I feel myself engage with this task like a zombie might hone-in on the human vessel containing fresh brains — it is a dull, slow-moving urgency, but it is urgent and nearly irresistible nonetheless.
The irony is, in this moment of overwhelming desire to connect, I am completely disconnected from my surroundings. On occasion, as if from sleep, I have awakened from a haze of sales offers from Amazon, and group emails requesting fresh linens for an impending home birth, to hear my daughter’s voice, “Mommy? Did you hear that? Mommy?” She has gone so far as to try and rip the phone out of my hands mid-text before. I am not proud of this, but it is true.
I have seen it happen to other parents, too. In my daughter’s gymnastics class, two year-old Preston nearly smashed headlong into the girl in front of him on the trampoline because daddy’s eyes were glued to his “Crackberry” checking something. Something important.
The other day, I challenged myself to not check email before I got in the shower. Let me be clear, I had already checked it upon waking, and before I started exercising. The only thing I was asking myself to do was forego looking for something new for the seven minutes I was completely naked and soaking wet. It took a little convincing, but I managed to not check it until I was out. (It did occur to me to let my conditioner soak in for a couple of minutes while I got out to check.)
Like an addict begging for one more cigarette or one more slice of pie, my thumb craves that circular dent at the center of my phone and the gentle click I feel it make when I caress it lovingly. My eyes long for the word “downloading” to appear shortly after I have lost patience with the tight, speedy circle of “connecting…”
In the half hour that my fingers have been clicking away in this window about this addiction, my eyes have strayed countless times to check email, to check who’s checking me out on the dating site, to see if there is a red, illuminated “notification” on Facebook informing me that someone has responded to something I posted days ago or RSVPed to the party I’m hosting next month.
I am so driven by this impulse to connect, that I am failing to connect with what I am doing right now. In this moment. I am refreshing, reaching out, seeking, probing, but connecting? Not really.
Once a message comes in on the dating site, I read it with a voracious appetite. I consume it, digest it, but I am not sated by it, nor does it, generally, inspire me to to respond, to react, to offer food for thought to the person trying to connect with me. I disconnect.
Further, despite my hunger for connection, in settings where I might actually connect with other flesh and blood humans, I instead bury my nose in my phone and wait to connect to some virtual friend or stranger. Instead of meeting gazes and offering smiles, I bow my head, my face illuminated by the dull screen (is that light flattering?) and hit “refresh.” While the word I see on my screen is “connecting…” pushing that button allows me to disconnect from the threat of actual human interaction.
One of my goals for 2012 is to have more love in my life. While the love of a random stranger praising my ability to smile in a picture taken of me three-and-a-half years ago and posted on my dating site profile is a little bit delightful and a boon to my fragile ego, even I sense that it may not be the most enduring sort of love.
If I actually want to engage more fully, maybe I need to put down my stinkin’ phone (even though it has the cutest cover on the planet), and communicate with people. Like, you know, actual people. I have established a few rules for myself already. Since that first day of not checking email, Facebook, dating site before my shower, I have managed to make it through a few more showers without knowing whether or not anyone tried to connect with me during my half an hour of exercise. When the child wakes me in the wee hours of the morning and asks me to “snuggle me for one more minute,” I am not allowed to fondle my phone before returning to sleep in my own bed — I must wait until 5:45am when she wakes up for reals.
I also have a no-phone-during-meal-times rule. This occasionally gets broken, but I try and engage with the child to tell her before my eyes wander from her visage to the alluring screen in my palm. Poor dear — when asked a question of late, the Child is apt to reply, “I don’t know, let me check my schedule.” She then, very accurately, pantomimes “unlocking” the invisible iPhone in her palm and “looking” at her schedule (interestingly, doing so seldom provides her with an answer to the question she was just asked; damn technology!). At a little over two-and-a-half, she has already informed me that she thinks she should have a phone of her own — it would make things easier, she insists.
I don’t want to be that mommy. There are so many things in this world I want to show her and teach her and enjoy with her. Addiction to technology is not one of them. So here I say to you, my virtual and actual friends, I am on a mission to connect more, and wait for the circle of “connecting…” less. Wanna go out for coffee? I’ll leave my phone in my purse (and just think of all the messages I’ll have by the time we are done talking!).