Friday, April 10, 2015

Revenge of the iPhone

My Love-Hate Relationship with My Smartphone

     My iPhone hates me. Oh, I know exactly why. I’ve referred to it too often as my dumb smartphone. So in revenge, it continues to garble my dictated text messages. I watch as a message which makes perfect sense changes a word the instant I hit “send.”
     It happened again this morning. I wanted to text a friend about seeing a production of The Music Man at a local high school.
     My dictated message read “do you want to see the music man at Strasburg?” I meant Stroudsburg, but was sure my friend would pick up on that since we live nowhere near Strasburg and people confuse the two towns all the time anyway. That’s why I carefully spell out the name if I order anything over the phone which these days is seldom. I can type faster than I can correct spelling, so I generally order stuff on line.
     Back to my vengeful iPhone. I swear, the millisecond I hit “send” the word “see” turned into “Siri” in front of my very eyes. So I immediately followed up with a second text indicating that correction. And a third text, saying “I figured you would probably know that Strasburg meant Stroudsburg.” Okay, I plead guilty … I didn’t proofread what I had just typed and the message that was sent read “met” for “meant.” Text #4 read “meant.”
     Response: “You’re a mess.”
     “It’s not me. My phone hates me.”
     “Overuse. Needs a vacation.”
     “Needs to have AutoCorrect turned off.”
     I know that’s the case. But the majority of the time having AutoCorrect is a pretty great thing. My phone finishes my thoughts and adds exactly the word I need. One of my least favorite things about the phone is the lack of a Qwerty keyboard. With a real keyboard I can type nearly as fast as I think. My iPhone 4S is handicapped. My friends are all flashing their snazzy new iPhone 6s at me. I’m still a few months away from my two year anniversary as an iPhone owner.
     I learned to text in self-defense. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time with teenagers, both as private voice students and as cast members in a musical theater production.
     About eight or nine years ago, I am in the middle of a lesson with a young baritone. He glances down at his side and announces: “Jamie says she is going to be late for her lesson.”
     He had his cell phone on vibrate, pulled it out of his pocket just far enough to read the message, and relayed it to me. I needed to be able to do that.
     I’d resisted even getting a cell phone until a few years before that. What convinced me to break down and take advantage of this technology was a trip to a costumer in New York. Not in New York City, mind you, in a barn near Port Jervis, New York, just up the road and across the Delaware. Three of us had agreed to go to look at costumes for the upcoming production. One of our party lived north of East Stroudsburg and we agreed to meet her at a resort about a half hour north of us.
     We arrived a little early and settled in to wait for Joanne. Time passed. More time passed. The cold rain was turning to sleet, and we knew she lived at an even higher elevation. I finally said I’d find a pay phone and call her to see if she wasn’t going to make it.
     Sounds like an easy solution, doesn’t it? This was a very large resort. I went into the nearest building and saw a bank of pay phones. Not one of them was operating. I walked through the sleet to a neighboring building. Same story. We turned around, drove to an eating establishment where we finally found a pay phone that would accept my quarter. This was a Friday, and the next Monday I purchased my first cell phone.
     Texting took forever. Painful. The phone was one of those where the letters were on the numbers so you had to figure out which number to press for every letter in every word. Not too long after that I bought a flip phone with an honest-to-goodness keyboard. Now I was cookin’!
     I was a happy texter for a long time, until I began to be jealous of the wonderful pictures my friends were taking with their iPhones. I seldom took pictures. My children had a deprived childhood because I took such poor pictures I seldom even tried. The only way they know what they looked like at certain times of their life was the annual school photo. And a few pictures other nice people took. And some nice blurs Mom contributed.
     So two years ago this coming July I broke down, went to the AT&T store (sorry, Verizon), and became the happy owner of a smartphone. And everything was lovely until the company decided to update the software on the phone. That’s when the trouble started. I don’t think my iPhone wanted to be updated.
     Recently I was texting my daughter-in-law about plans, and tried to sign off with hugs and kisses: you know, xxooxx. The phone sent “xxoocan.” What?? So I tried to explain, “I don’t know where that ‘can’ came from.” True to form, my dumb smartphone changed the word “can” to “camera” as the message went to send.
     Well, at least I know I am entertaining the recipients of my weird text messages. And I can take pretty nifty photos!

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And I’ll bet you thought I wasn’t going to stoop to shameless self-promotion in this entire blog post. Book Expo at the Eastern Monroe Library on Saturday, April 18, 2015, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Large crowd of local authors will be there hoping you will buy their books, but I know you’ll find me and buy one of mine. Just in case you don’t have the titles burned into your brain, they are How I Grew Up, Eli’s Heart, and You Are My Song.

  pretty picture I took with my iPhone