“She who goes to sleep with a smart phone at night allows the smart phone to control her life by morning.” ~~ Abraham Lincoln
This really happened. Or most of it did. I can’t speak to the facts vis-à-vis the coin toss. I wasn’t there, unless DNA counts.
Over the past several days, an informal détente seems to have settled into place and now that cooler heads prevail, it’s a good time to share the lesson I have learned, in the hope of helping even one lost soul understand the dangers of sleeping with one’s smart phone too close to the bed.
While I’m not what you’d call an “app” person, I do like my phone’s alarm clock as the solution to a lifelong aversion to the inhumanity of that early morning BUZZZZZ. Instead, I can awaken to pleasant musical tones of my choosing. So, I sleep with the phone on my nightstand. Therein lie certain social dangers.
And so my tale begins.
In an effort to remain relevant, I have adapted to new means of communicating — and therefore validating my existence– in the 21st century. I have a Twitter presence, a Facebook presence, and a LinkedIn account* that I remember to check every couple of months, usually after I get an email that “people are checking out (my) profile,” which, quite frankly, freaks me out. But it’s necessary. Because, you know, relevance and validation.
In addition, after a year and a half of learning how to text message, I realized that it might be the solution to another lifelong aversion: to telephone conversation. When I reached my goal of typing “Hell no, would you’re live kumquats four dime store?” in under 30 minutes, I treated myself to a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, a so-called smart phone, in the hopes that I might eventually communicate, “Hello, would you like to come for dinner?” As we all know by the plethora of failed auto-corrects posted on the Internet, that was but a
sod pipeline sad pipe dream.
Text-messaging isn’t always convenient, so I had every reason to believe that my new car’s BlueTooth would come in handy on occasion. Sadly, this is not the case. BlueTooth and I (we’ll call her “Hedy,” for reasons that later become obvious) don’t have what you would call a “healthy” relationship.
While she doesn’t seem to care for me very much, Hedy does tend to favor one of my children. Specifically, my son. Often, but not all the time, I’ll say, “Call Daughter.” Hedy’s firm, no-nonsense, female voice confirms, “Calling Son.”
I say “Correction. Call Daughter.”
She says, “Calling Son.”
We argue like that until she says (in a huff, I might add), “I’m sorry. I can’t understand your command.” Not only do I think she’s not really sorry, I think she can understand my command perfectly well.
Sometimes her judgmental passive-aggression is more succinct. I say, “Call Chinese Takeout.” She says, “I’m sorry. I can’t understand your command.” Click.
I suppose maybe if you were reading her side of the story, she’d say that just once in a while she’d like Mexican. Maybe if she had her way, we’d be chowing down on chimichangas and swilling margaritas on a regular basis, but only with my son, never my daughter. Which might be why I do not have a Mexican takeout number in my contacts. I will not have her choosing favorites.
You might say things have been strained between us for a while.
Lately signs have surfaced that her passive-aggression has turned to outright aggression, with a sinister Single White Female vibe. And my smart phone is her accomplice. Whether this is by coercion or persuasion is as yet undetermined.
The first occasion was ok. Weird, but ok. Out of the blue, my son texted, “Hey, mom. Why don’t I come over Saturday and we can watch the game together. I’ll come early and we can go to the store for snacks. It’ll be fun.” Like I said: weird, but ok.
We were somewhere in the chip aisle when I couldn’t hold back my curiosity any longer. “So, did you lose a coin toss with your sister over who was going to watch the game with me?”
“Yeah, but it was also that bizarre text you sent us at 3:30 in the morning. What was that all about?”
First, I might have been hurt, but honestly, I’m kind of proud that my son is twenty-something and does not know how to lie to a woman.
But then. . . .
“About how proud you are of us and how much you love us. . . .”
I remember dreaming that I was telling them that, but texting it? Nope. However, evidence suggests that such texts were indeed sent . . . from my phone . . . at about 3:30 a.m..
Hmmm. I haven’t figured out how, but I’m convinced Hedy is behind this.
Not long after that, Hedy went unhinged. Maybe we should’ve invited her to join us for nachos. Anyway. First she refused to call anyone, not even my son, employing her flimsy pretense, “I’m (not really) sorry. I can’t understand your command. Please try again.”
I would try again. She would repeat herself.
I admit to eventually losing my own temper and shouting, “Oh . . . JUST. . . NEVER MIND!” Click.
After a few days of this, things went from bad to worse.
I’d start my car and Hedy would yell, “NO PHONE CONNECTED! YOU ALREADY HAVE FIVE PHONES CONNECTED. PLEASE DELETE A PHONE!”
(I do not have five phones. I have had a lifelong aversion to phones. Owning five would be a personal nightmare. But not my worst personal nightmare. That was yet to come.**)
I’d say, “Whatever,” and would just keep driving, but she kept repeating herself. It was madness. Madness, I tell you.
Eventually, I turned off my phone whenever I drove and Hedy and I stopped communicating altogether. It was sad, but these things happen. I was over it and I thought Hedy was, too.
Apparently, she wasn’t. I awoke one morning a few weeks ago to a troubling mix of pleasant musical tones and absolute panic.
Please let that be a dream. It was just a dream, right? Just a dream. Please, please, PLEASE!!
I had dreamed, as I occasionally do, of a boy I dated in high school. But this time, instead of driving in his car or walking along the boardwalk, I was sending him a LinkedIn connection request. To my surprise, he accepted.
I rushed to my desktop and logged in, desperate for it to be just a dream.
It was not a dream.
“Name Deleted is now a connection.”
I — or “someone on my behalf”– sent a LinkedIn connection request to someone I haven’t seen or talked to in decades. . . .while I was sleeping.
* Real Me has a LinkedIn account. Hippie Cahier does not. Regretfully, Hippie Cahier cannot accept LinkedIn connection requests, because, like Relationship George and Independent George, Real Me and Hippie Cahier cannot co-exist. A hippie divided against herself cannot stand.
** Hey, foreshadowing!
This video is not at all funny. Au contraire. It is R-rated and raw, but it (a) provides some context for those who haven’t seen Birdman and (b) demonstrates why Emma Stone deserved an Oscar: