Pokemon, Smart Phones, and the Rime of the Ancient Librarian

I think I mentioned before that I was one of the last hold outs on the whole “smart phone” thing.  I have a cell phone, but it just makes calls and texts.  The fact that I can text puts me above, say, my parents, but that’s about it.  Otherwise I am left in the dust.  Get out of the way, you stupid cars, my buggy has just as much right to be here as you do.

It’s strange to think that it wasn’t all that long ago (for someone who is like farthead 40) that we didn’t even have the things.  Can you remember what that was like?  I can.  It was such a total pain.  Like you had to go inside a building, or to a phone booth, and call someone if you needed something.  I’m pretty sure even homeless people have smart phones at this point, and they are only on the street corner to catch a Pokemon*.  But not me.  I didn’t even get my “dumb phone” until I was pregnant with crazy baby (Thing Two) .  I was at a point where it would not have been at all odd for me to suddenly burst into flames and have the doctors call it “just another wacky pregnancy thing”.  So I wanted a phone in case of baby emergency, and we weren’t even close to labor yet.

My current phone

My current phone

I think most people started that way.  I need a phone for emergencies.  Also to talk to my mom.  And keep tabs on my boyfriend.  And crush candy and pretend farm and catch imaginary monsters.  It’s IMPORTANT.  Heck with you, Superman, who now has to run inside a J.C. Penny’s to change thanks to us getting rid of the phone booths; we need our phones.  Why?  Because everyone else needs them, and the world goes along with everyone else.  It’s like everyone else is on cocaine, and I better get drugs fast, or I am never gonna fit into this world at all.

Are they even called smart phones anymore?  This is how out of touch I am.

Wait.  This is exactly what happened in Wonderland – you gotta be stoned to fit in.  Well, I guess we crossed that bridge with the presidential election a long time ago, so whatever.  My kids are some of the last kids not to have smart phones.  What is a good age to get a kid one of these phones?  I’ve seen toddlers with them, because you never know when little Jaxxon will need to make an urgent phone call.  “Juuuuice!” is something I so often hear them scream into their phones.  Or text with their pudgy fingers.  But seriously, no, it’s the educational games on the phones they like.  Because “Peek-a-Boo” takes up way too much time, and uses your hands, and now our wrists hurt from carpal tunnel.  But please give it back because Mommy has stuff to do.  Her crops are wilting, her boss has more Pokemon power-ups than she does, and Daddy is not going to stalk himself.

Crap I just lost all my data!

Crap I just lost all my data! Darn kids.

I don’t know what a Pokemon power-up is and I don’t want to know.

What’s this about stalking?  Oh, that’s a fun thing I learned from a 20-something co-worker a while back.  “See,” she said happily.  “I can tell where everyone I know is right now.  Here is my boyfriend at work.  Here’s mom at the grocery store.  Here’s all 72 of my best friends at the mall.”  I found this a little disconcerting.  “What if you don’t want someone to know where you are 24/7?” I asked.  She looked at me with a face that clearly did not comprehend the question.  Of COURSE you would want to know where everyone was all the time.  I told my husband about this feature.  He said if we ever get smart phones, he is tossing his in a truck going cross country.  I don’t blame him.

Yet I can only hold out so much longer because the world changes to fit our technology.  My kids are actually expected to have it and bring it to school for “Share your technology day” where they use their own expensive electronic devices instead of the school supplying them, and if these devices should be lost or stolen, the school is in no way responsible please sign here.

It’s not just phones, though, it’s technology period that is going haywire (pun intended).  Phones are just mini computers now, even smaller than the NUC on my desk.  That’s NUC not Nuke, though it certainly sounds like I have a rather dangerous bomb on my desk, but believe me it’s not even half as useful.  See at work they took away our computer towers and gave us these tiny boxes that have like one whole usb port in them for you to plug your stuff in, which certainly beats the towers which had a CD drive, several usb ports, and acted as a nice shelf for my office mate and me.  We were not impressed with these new boxes.  Yeah, they were smaller, but with one port you had to get another thingy to plug into it that is a square thing with 4 ports on in, so you can actually plug more than one thing in it at a time.  If you want me to explain what a usb port is, you are worse off than I am, but not by much.  All I know is it’s like an outlet.  I’m not even totally versed on how electricity works, except that you plug something in and ‘bing’ a light comes on.  It could be fairies coming through the wires for all I know (or care).

We no longer have monitors this large, but we are still just as stoned as these kids.

We no longer have monitors this large, but we are still just as stoned as these kids.

I don’t adjust well to new things, especially technology.  I refused to learn that wild mp3 thing until my husband bought one for me and showed me how and then I really liked this little thing I could store my music on.  Except now mp3 players, like the Sony Walkman cassettes and CDs, are so old that my snobby computer refuses to recognize the software. Seriously, it just totally ignores it, like, you are so not worth my time.  Why?  Because you can get that on your phone.  Along with a camera, a GPS, a best friend (hi Siri), and God only knows what else.  Why do my devices have to multitask?  I don’t expect my dryer to also take selfies and cook me a mean pot roast.  It dries clothes. That’s it.  But the computer at your fingertips does everything.  You can pay bills on the phone.  You can also check out books.

It should be known that I did not start using the library computer catalog until they removed the physical card catalog – the one with all the cards in it.  And I was one of them “Youngins” then.

If you don't remember what this is, I hate you.

If you don’t remember what this is, I hate you.

Yet you have to eventually give in just to keep up in this world.  I don’t want to be the only one not getting mugged in alleys or falling off cliffs while chasing pretend monsters.  So I guess I’ll have to get the smart phone.  And update my computer.  You know.  Eventually.

When they take away my pay-by-the-month dumb phone, most likely.

~Alice

*I so did not use Pokemon in the title just to get more hits.  Okay, I did.

 

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18 responses

  1. I hear you. I had to ask for this pokemon stuff, I have a phone what always does things but not the things I want, I have a fitbit (or fakebit) what I put back in the blister after one week with 87 nuclear meltdowns and I have two selfie sticks what not fit to my phone. An usb-port is an open thingy on a gadget where I can put the card of my camera in… then the port and the card are discarded somehow :o(((( And I laughed like an idiot as my mother said my walkman is damaged because she had no clue that she need headphones … shame on me :o(((

    1. Hey, I knew about walkmans needing headphones!

  2. This post is spot on, WT. Also, funny as only you can do.
    Okay, I succumbed to the smartphone about 4 years ago. I was so excited that I could let everyone on Facebook know that I was at Walmart. I could check my email, read stuffs, play games, chat and even write a post from my hospital bed.
    I respect and admire you for the decision to not have a fancy phone, I really do. There are times when I turn off my wi-fi and turn mine into just a regular phone. It’s kind of nice.
    I have no interest in catching a Pokemon. Pikachu can kiss my butt.

    1. The pod phones will suck me in soon enough. But not Pikachu. My kid likes it, but she does not have a phone to chase them with because I’m mean. Also if we decide (or are most likely forced) to get smart phones, we’ll have to choose which kind, and I’ll be there forever because there is only one right phone. Then I’ll worry about letting the kids have them because they would then be able to do all the stuff they do know on the computer – but in a size portable enough to stick in a pocket!

  3. I always feel sad that my kids won’t know the sadness and terror of listening to their favorite cassette (Duran Duran) on their Walkman when the batteries start to die and Simon LeBon starts to sound like Barry White. But I do scoff at all these forms I have to fill out that want my “home phone number.” Wankers.

    1. OMG, I so remember that! It was horrible. My brother and I would take them on long trips to my grandparent’s house and you’d be singing along when suddenly you hear “Hungry like the wooooooooooooooooooooollllllllllllllllffffffff . . . ” Nooooo!

  4. I got an iPhone within the year of them first being released, so I’m a sucker for smartphones, tablets, any new technology. My husband is the opposite, though, and still has a flip phone (well, had, as he hasn’t been able to find it for months). I do sometimes miss the days of just having a phone for emergencies, that way I’m not constantly checking my alerts and crap.

    1. My husband tends to take to new tech faster than I do, though he distrusts smart phones. I think we’re both afraid of the pod people thing. Also the cost. And letting the kids have them which would mean they’d have what they always have only it would fit in their pockets! Or something?

      Also, how do you check email and everything on something that tiny? I already had to get bifocals. I don’t have to worry about my work computer monitors though. We now have them bigger than my first TV set. Because.

      1. We let LM have an old iPhone, which was a waste since he lost it (and found it a year later and I accidentally locked it lol). My iPhone adjusts the size of the emails and stuff so that it looks bigger. Otherwise it would be too annoying to try to read on!

  5. I love this. I would tell you how much, but I think it would make me cry.

    1. Oh, thank you, Ruby! I like making people cry, I mean laugh-cry!

  6. We spent an inordinate amount of time in school learning how to use a card catalog…. and now you’re telling me they don’t exist anymore!?!? That was a waste of educational time that could’ve better been spent playing dodgeball…

    1. No kidding! Dodge ball is so integral to a child’s brain development. Without frequent concussions from dodge ball, we’d have no politicians! Personally, I hid behind taller kids till there were none left, then let them hit me on the arm or something so I could sit on the sidelines. I was a real contender.

  7. Omgosh. Funny and sad at the same time. I bought my smartphone 5 years ago. My TV died about 6 months later. I still don’t have another one nor do I have a pc. Before that, I had one of those flip phones but it was never charged. It drove my boss crazy bc I drove 300 miles in the middle of the night without a charged phone. I used to tease him that he was just worried something would happen and he would have to train a new employee and pay them more. 😉

    All of my nieces and nephews have smartphones. The youngest is 10 years old ffs. He lost it when I was back home on vaca. I’m assuming he found it, but the fact that he is barely into double digits and has one but can’t keep track of it hardly surpises me. When I was 10, phones still had rotary dials and *gasp* no caller ID so you had to take chances if you were being phone stalked.

    So frustrating about the technology that kids must have for school on their parents dimes. Same goes for work. We have one of those nuc things and 2 monitors for work so we can be twice as productive. If we want to work from home, we need to buy our own pc. I asked the tech guy for specs and prices, he said 2k. Yep we now pay our work to do extra work.

    Don’t get me started on pokeman and people literally dying to play it. Smh

    Sorry this turned into a compost. You wrote an excellent article (and funny).

    1. Thanks, jaded. I could not believe it when the second-graders (we’re talking 7 here) came back from Christmas and Thing Two reported that most of the class had smart phones. I get it if they’re teens – it’s becoming near impossible for them not to have them when the bloody schools start requiring it. But 7? And accessing the internet from any location with no clue about stuff like “data” and “money” and “don’t send that picture” and “OMG”.

      On the other hand, adults aren’t much better. I’m pretty sure some of the people getting robbed and falling off cliffs playing Pokemon were actually adults. Whaddya do?

  8. I’m not sure what it tells you about what a rational person would think about the right age to give a kid their own phone, but when I let my five year old take MY phone and walk to the park a block away with it to play Pokemon, a Concerned Citizen called the cops because they thought he was “lost,” and the police, who gave me a lecture about Stranger Danger after coming to my house to make me come to the park to fetch him, apparently thought the phone BELONGED TO THE FIVE YEAR OLD, because when they were not satisfied with what he said to them when he told them our names, they looked on his phone and the first person they called was “Mom.” AKA MY MOTHER whose area code was very obviously not local.

    So there you have it. It is apparently normal for a five year old who Concerned Citizens will call the cops on when they see them minding their own business in the park to have a Smart Phone of their very own.

    1. Considering that according to the report the police didn’t know how many feet are in a mile (GOOGLE GUYS), I’m really not surprised by anything else they assumed.

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