Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Smart phones, stupid people

Napoleon made it a practice to open and read his mail just once a month, assured the leisurely passage of time would resolve the urgency of every issue.
I check my e-mail about once every 12 minutes.
In my life’s history of communication, not once have I received a note that could be considered Napoleonic. It’s grocery notes, jokes, spam or e-bills notifications.
Yet, I persist in checking it as if I expect some distant general to zip me an urgent e-mail asking me how he should defend Leipzig.
And, honest, I’m not that bad. I can unplug without trembling withdrawal. Our daughters enjoyed the Rapunzel-inspired “Tangled” so much with Mom last week they wanted to take me to see it. It was great, too.
Not great enough, apparently, to hold the attention of two adults I saw basking in the warm glow of smart phone activity.
This is bound to be another battle in the ceaseless civility wars. That’s twice I’ve been to movies recently and been distracted by the firefly-like activity of a smart phone bouncing about in the darkness as I’m trying to concentrate on the picture.
I guess when movies aren’t compelling enough, people are going to drift to their smart phones to play games, check e-mails and tweet scene-by-scene micro-reviews for morons.
Who knows? Maybe these people who sneak away to Disney matinees are really busy professionals who need to monitor office activities.
Someday, just of the fun of it, I’m going to stand on a busy street corner and shout into my cell phone, “No! No! No! The cranial incision needs to be made behind the left ear, you idiot! The left ear!”
But that’s a story for another day.
What’s amazing to me is with this constant whirlwind of e-mail activity, very few people on the planet take even a nano-second to respond to things that are important to me.
I’ve spent many years sending out various book proposals or story ideas to countless big shots in the hopes they’ll call me right back and inform me they want to enrich me with money and fame.
It’s never happened. That’s not surprising. Trying to get any book published these days without the benefit of being named Palin or Khardashian is a daunting task.
What is surprising is how few of these well-connected industry types ever bother to take the time to type even two letters -- NO -- to convey their disinterest. Two other letters -- FU -- would certainly get the message across.
As few of them bother to respond, I’ve taken to convincing myself they are too incapacitated by the exposure to my genius to be able to initiate simple motor skills like typing.
Try this defense mechanism yourself. I find it helps.
There’s a remote chance maybe they are like me and don’t have smart phones. Maybe that’s impeding my chances for success.
In fact, I have a very stupid phone. Ugly, too. It can’t text. It can’t take snapshots. God help me if I’m stuck in traffic and need to look at some pornography.
I was recently in New York and surrounded by pretty people with smart phones. Merge their genetics with their communication devices and it would have been a table full of really pretty Einsteins.
My 4-year-old Verizon flip phone is so ugly and awkward I didn’t dare take it out in front of New Yorkers.
As my fortunes seem to be on the uptick, the siren call of the smart phone beckons -- and there has to be a nifty siren app, too
I think I can justify it now, too. But do I really need it?
I already spend way too much time checking who’s reading the places that run my blog (thanks, my friends!), and reading re-runs of the news I’d read two hours previously. It’s just a big waste of time and who has time for that?
A smart phone or an iPad wouldn’t give me more time to do what I really want to do (read, enjoy the family, guzzle hootch). In fact, those devices would take away from those activities.
It’s something I need to think about -- but not now.
Right now I have to check my e-mail. It’s been about 16 minutes and I’m pretty sure something really, really important is starting to itch in my in-box.
It’s bound to happen one of these decades.


Suldog said...

I haven't been to an actual movie theater in years, and stuff like you described is the reason why. I refuse to pay the prices they get for movies these days only to get a heaping helping of anger at my fellow patrons.

Chris Rodell said...

Yeah, as I was itching to argue about it, my 10 year old said, "Let's just live with it." I did my best. But it wasn't easy. Kid movies, too, are different. Kids are bound to misbehave and parents who don't care about the movie drift off the smart phone (selfish, I say).

I'm thinking of taking the advice of friends who say to go to early, weekday movies solo.

I still enjoy going, but it is trying.

Thanks, Suldog!