Hunting and pecking my way into the real world

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comJanuary 5, 2012 

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To launch the new year, I got the next best thing to a brain implant -- a smart phone.

The new me -- call it David 2.0 -- has been a long time coming.

In the end, the decision to upgrade cellphones was not to ease me into the 21st century, with calendars, friends and information at my fingertips.

It was done as a matter of public safety. When people saw me using a flip phone, they hurt themselves laughing. They took pictures of it with their phones, while driving, and messaged it to their friends, while driving, so the whole viral planet could stare at me and shriek, as if I had six eyes.

I remember when our newsroom took one small step for man by purchasing hand-held, two-way radios so we could communicate quicker than carrier pigeons. They weighed as much as Coke machines and were similar in size.

As fate would have it, we shared a frequency with the local beer trucks and taxi cabs. This worked out well. We knew where all the wrecks were going to happen before they happened.

No wonder the flip phone seemed quite up-to-date, even snappy, to the man whose own children call him "Señor Eighties."

Now I have an iPhone 4. I climbed right into this Tower of Babble as if I'd been there all my life. I haven't even advanced to the second floor yet, and already I can stand on the beach and watch YouTube videos -- of a beach.

I used to wonder what was so smart about something that made people wander around Walmart like bumper cars, knocking into everything because they were staring at a phone. Now I know that the actual world outside of the phone is background noise, like a planet with no name.

My wife upgraded to an iPhone 4S. I think the "S" stands for Siri. She can talk into her phone and a personal assistant named Siri answers. She can say, "I'm hungry," and Siri will flash up a list of restaurants, starting with the closest one.

But the other day I overheard Siri tell my wife: "I'm not allowed to engage in frivolous conversations."

I said, "I'm not sure this relationship is going to last."

My smart phone must have been in a different reading group. It's not nearly as smart as Siri. I have to "type" my text messages and emails on a tiny keyboard not nearly as fat as my fingers. Now I, too, am wandering around Walmart bumping into things, texting such breathless news as, "Im n wally wrld."

Thus we have advanced from hunting and gathering to hunting and pecking.

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.

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