Saturday, January 7, 2012

Embracing My Inner Geek

I have always been behind the times when it comes to technology. I had an analog cell phone for years after the digital ones came out, still enjoying the novelty of the 'flip' motion I had to use when I opened it to talk. It made me feel like I was a character on Star Trek or something, and the little belt holder made me look like a very important person.

Once everyone started getting Smart Phones, I went and bought myself a pay-as-you-go phone with a slide-out keyboard so I could learn, finally, how to text. Since my then-6th-grader had a phone with texting capabilities, it only made sense that I should be able to text him, and he me, even if he didn't want to ever do such a thing. I lovingly referred to it as my Stupid Phone.

This was all well and good for over a year, until I found my children involved in more and more activities that required me to drive them places and stay there for at least an hour. Normally I would bring a book for such events, but more than once I found myself waiting for an email from a literary agent or one of my kids' teachers, and it was time to walk out the door and leave my computer at home. I was surprised to find that not being able to be in touch when I needed to was actually stressful.

One evening at my son's martial arts class, as a friend sat next to me checking her email, I actually leaned over and asked, rather abashedly, if she would mind terribly if I checked my email on her phone when she was done. I was waiting for an answer from my co-author, I explained, and wanted to respond as soon as I heard from her. I knew post-class would involve homework, dinner, dog-walking and the like and I wouldn't get a chance to check my mail again until after 9pm, far too late.

While asking my friend, though, time seemed to slow down for me. Suddenly I was that kid at college who keeps bumming cigarettes from others until she's finally told to go buy her own damn pack. I could see myself doing this during every martial arts class until I would finally push my friend's generosity to its limit.

It was time to buy my own damn smart phone.

This week, I got one. And while my 12-year-old drools on my shoulder all weekend while I wend my way through the icons, dual touch screens, apps, features and frills of the essentially-mini-computer, I still have not got a data plan. I use my home network for now, but at the end of the month I will be untethered and able to check email from anywhere.

I have to say the feeling is mixed. While I love the promise of being able to do what I need without having to be home, I also find myself drawn to checking my Facebook status more than necessary, and ignoring the laundry and impending dinner hour as I navigate my way through the Android market or poke around on Foursquare.

Ultimately, I hope the novelty will wear off and the phone will be just one more useful tool to help me do more from more places. If nothing else, though, when I'm not waiting for a message at martial arts class, at least I can blog about what I'm doing instead, or play Angry Birds instead of harassing my friend.

1 comment:

NerdBoy said...

LOL! The 12 year old reminds me of someone...