I was probably the last one in my friend group to upgrade to a smartphone, halfway through freshman year of college. Although I rarely text or call, I really enjoy it for reasons that have nothing to do with traditional phone capabilities. I like [finally!] having an iPhone to play music from while I run, scrolling through inspirational quotes and pictures on my Instagram feed, and most of all, being able to check my email on the go (so I don’t have to be antsy while away from my home computer waiting to check the email about the job I wanted!). It’s been said over and over again, but we are indeed living in the age of vast technological advancements.
But I also hate technology. Not to the point where I’ll go sans technology and live in a hippie commune, but lately as I’ve been thinking about what I could possibly blog about, the minor annoyances of phone and computer technology have crossed my mind frequently.
I’m not the kind of person who RELISHES taking on challenging chess games and brain exercises, but I am rather aware of how our phones, our laptops, our iPads, GPS systems, Siri, etc. have made life simpler. Perhaps too simple.
In no particular order, below are ten of my peeves when it comes down to it:
10. Back in the olden days (and by “olden days” I mean the pre-texting days) when you made plans with other people, it was almost literally set in stone. Unless you were able to reach the other party at their home phone (you know, the ones with the spiral cords?) when they weren’t out and about, you were basically forced to stay accountable for following through with plans. As someone who actually writes down friend outings in her planner, few things make me more PO’d than drawing a giant red line through my written plans because of a last-minute “Sorry can’t make it” text.
9. One day I probably WILL invest in an iPad since it’s both travel-friendly and compatible for the writing I like to do, but I do like flipping through the physical pages of a book when I read. NOT reading it from an iPad or Kindle makes me committed to the author, with less chance of distraction that can come from access to internet. Okay, so this isn’t so much a peeve as it is a personal preference.
8. And speaking of distractions, I just spent the last hour or so procrastinating on this post watching Weird Al’s latest jams and exploring the joys of Buzzfeed and HelloGiggles. I didn’t even know what Buzzfed was until halfway through sophomore year of college thankfully, but now I’m left to wonder how long it will actually take me to finish my senior thesis next year when “What Your Favorite Summer Cocktail Says About You” quizzes are there for the clicking.
7. I love Google Maps. I really do. It really helped me when I found myself driving in some ghetto-ish area near Laurel Canyon when I was supposed to be driving home. Not to mention that it was a wonderful aid for my travel companions and myself where we knew no German, Czech or Italian, or were too embarrassed to ask for help in places where English WAS spoken. But it’s a problem as well. Whatever happened to asking for directions? Perhaps attempting a partial charades game out of asking a local Berliner for directions would have made a hilarious story to tell friends later on. The times that I have had to risk my dignity in these types of situations I don’t regret at all because they challenged me and shaped me.
6. Too many times I have had a friend come over (or vice versa), and rather than it be a party of two, it becomes a party of three, although the third person is not physically present. Friends reading this, you know who you are. I can’t help but feel slighted when mid-conversation, you glance down and pitter-patter away at your phone, texting an incessant stream of “No, I love YOU more, Cuddle-Boo ❤ ❤ ❤ LOL.” I wanted to spend time with YOU, not you and your apparently clingy significant other. If it’s really important, I wouldn’t mind a quick “Hey, I’m sorry I have to take this” as you take your call to another room. Stuff happens, I know. Otherwise, I’m seriously considering having a drop-off bag by my door for cell phones. Please live in the moment.
5. I read a quote on Instagram one time that said, “My favorite kind of nights are the ones when we’re having so much fun that we forget to take pictures.” There’s nothing wrong with taking pictures of things that make you happy. That’s pretty much why we stop for a photo op; we want to remember the times we were happiest later down the road. I mean, I have 120+ Instagram pictures, so obviously I like to capture the best times. But is it necessary for every waking moment? “Yes, let’s take fifty photos of us eating the same ice cream we had for the past week to prove that we’re fun, spontaneous and interesting people!” “Look, my cat is taking a nap! Bet you’ve never seen that before!” And you don’t have to snap a hundred “ussies” of you and your girlfriend to prove you love her. I’ll believe you with just the one.
4. Anyone who has utilized social media knows that it can promote a sense of narcissism within users. That includes me, so yes, I am willingly admitting that I exercise narcissist tendencies sometimes (though unintentionally!). I wonder what the first tagline might have been for the first selfie that was posted. “#thisismyface”? Now it’s commonplace; the word “selfie” was recently added to the Oxford Dictionary, and I think the song “#Selfie” near-perfectly encompasses the techie generation’s mindset when it comes to snapshots and social media. Unfortunately. (By the way, young adolescent Instagram gurus, “#nofilter” and “#nomakeup” hashtags only work when you in fact, use neither filter nor makeup).
3. Another thing I’m guilty of is hiding behind my phone when I encounter awkward situations. At a party and my friends haven’t arrived yet? Whip out the mobile. Waiting at the bus stop and you don’t want to talk to the weird guy sitting next to you? iPhone! The people sitting next to Forrest Gump at the bus stop would not have been able to hear his incredible story if they had hid behind their cellular devices. NOT relying on my phone would certainly give me a push to be braver at these times.
2. Lately, I’ve noticed that iPads have been used not just as large phones or small computers for important tasks by adults, but also as temporary babysitters for their kids. And by that, I mean putting an iPad in front of your kid to keep them entertained for hours. What happened to the books that make sounds when you turn the page? Back when I was kid, I distinctly remember turning cardboard boxes into bumper cars, the back of my friend’s dad’s pickup truck into a pirate ship, and pretending our bicycles were our trusty steeds.
1. While in England, it was great being able to communicate with friends and family at home via Viber, Facebook and Skype. But my preferred method of communication was an old-fashioned handwritten letter. I continue to converse this way with my closest friends because it proves that I value their friendship enough to hand write two front-to-back pages and stamp and send it. And they do the same for me. I guess this isn’t quite a pet peeve, but I don’t like to see this Jane Austen-esque practice of letter-writing falling out of trend.
Even after typing all this, I don’t feel inclined to give up my technology because ultimately, I’d have more to lose than to gain. But I do feel more apologetic for being “that person” when I have done any of the above behaviors that I say I detest. And I do feel more inclined to pick up the J.K. Rowling book I’ve been trying to tackle (sadly, not the Harry Potter books).