Post 366

I Got a Phone and It Got Me in Trouble

Oh, and speaking of summer, I forgot to mention that I did get a cell phone. I haven’t had one for more than 20 years. The last time I owned one was maybe in about 1997, so although it is true that I’m among the last, it’s also true that I’m among the first.

I almost never used it back then. I would forget it at home or leave it in my car trunk. When I called to cancel my phone plan at the time, the salesperson was — as they always are — so eager to find a new plan for me, but when he looked up my usage records (zero, zero, zero, zero), there was really nothing to sell me, so he let me go.

But you know, I’m always ___(insert very very latest word meaning ‘trendy’)_____, so I thought it was time to pick myself up an iPhone 13Pro Max. an iPhone 13 Pro. an iPhone 13. an iPhone 12 Pro Max. an iPhone 12 Pro. an iPhone 12. an iPhone 11Pro Maxan iPhone 11 Pro . an iPhone 11. the most basic iPhone they were selling at the time. I got it on August 16th from Best Buy.

It takes a very long time to buy a phone, as in, eat before you get there and bring something to read while you’re waiting for all of the steps to be done. (“Bring something to read” — ha ha, I catch myself. That’s what we used to say in the Olden Days.) It is kind of fun to be able to have some choice about what phone number you get.

I like it. I say to myself, “Ah, I see why they are so popular,” and I keep mine nearby all the time. I never leave it in the trunk. The one time I left it in my vehicle, I used “Find My” to figure out where it was. I was relieved that it was not too far away.

Nevertheless, I don’t regret all the years without it. They’re expensive, for one thing. And they tend to promote slouching.

My favourite feature is that I can stay in touch with the people I like. Did you know that the first ever text message sent by cell phone was sent in 1992? The message was, “Merry Christmas!” ‘Twas sent by developer to company director (of Vodafone) at a Christmas party.

I think a case could be made that texting is its own language.

I think emojis are fun. Sometimes they are so exactly right that it’s hilarious. Hats off to the developers who think about the range of human emotions and try to capture them. Wouldn’t that be a fun discussion? — people sitting around trying to describe how humans experience life: “Well you know that feeling when someone compliments you or thanks you and you’re happy but also embarrassed too and you just don’t know what to say? Oh! I know! Let’s put that as a smiling face but with little pink marks right here, you know, on either side. That will be blushing.” And then of course there would be the human emotions that are more difficult to draw — but then again, maybe not. Some say you can draw schadenfreude with the laughing-crying emoji 😂 . It’s interesting that such a negative thing as schadenfreude (happy emotions at someone’s suffering) has overtaken the original idea of the laughing-crying emoji, which was tears of joy. In fact, the tears of joy emoji got awarded as Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2015. So it starts with the developer, but it almost instantly becomes about the people.

Emojis connect with the child within us in the sense that we children like looking at cute little pictures and saying things using codes. Chesterton talked about how much fun the Egyptians would have had designing the hieroglyphics.

I also like the camera feature. I don’t have a fancy phone, so nobody will be dazzled by the resolution of my pictures, but phones allow us to capture the moment right then and there when you wouldn’t even think of bringing a proper camera. That makes up for a lot, including the way a slight tilt of the camera will make everyone look like they have disproportionately large heads.

I like having the little clock that can be used as a stopwatch or timer or alarm.

As for apps, I don’t have many. I have a map app which until now I didn’t know was GoogleMaps. I didn’t know because when I use it, I don’t need to type “Google Maps;” I just click on this little upside down drip-droppity symbol.

It’s very good, and I do like it. My only complaint is about what happened yesterday. Yesterday it told me to turn right, and I turned right. Right, however, was wrong. Right was into the welcoming arms of a police officer. I was completely confused, thinking they must be doing random checks if they wanted to talk to me. You know that feeling: “Me?” “Why on earth do you want to talk to me? — I’ve been good this year, Santa Claus.” But you know it’s not good. Nothing good can come out of a chat with a police officer. The best you can hope for is something neutral. So I was hoping for neutral, but he pulls out his ticket pad. He can tell I’m confused. “You can’t turn right here. It’s because of the bike lane.” I’m thinking, “What?” There are bike lanes all over this town and cars always have to turn right in spite of them.” I told him, “The GPS told me to turn right.” By GPS, I meant Google Maps. He rested his elbow on my door because I had the window down all the way.

Why do they do that? Is it comfy? Is his arm sort of tired, so he likes to rest it on anything handy? I wasn’t sure how I felt about it; I felt like it was a message: I’m In Your Space But You Can’t Complain Because I Am The Boss in This Here Situation. But does he really want to get that close to me? What about social distancing? What if I have germs? So anyway, he gets my driver’s license and goes away to write the ticket. I’m thinking, “Man, why can’t they just let me off with a warning?” You always hear about this ‘let you off with a warning’ thing, but it never happens to me. Probably it’s something that happens to flirty beauties who know how to bat their voluminous eyelashes. My eyelashes are not voluminous. That’s the real problem here. It’s either the lack of lashes or GoogleMaps — GoogleMaps where they don’t know you can’t turn right here. (Mind you, so many people turn right that probably the computer mind of Google Maps thinks turning right is perfectly fine.) Probably there was a sign back there, but I didn’t see it. I was just trying to make sure I was even on the right street. Meanwhile, the locals are getting pulled over at the rate of about one every 2 minutes or so. While I was waiting for my ticket, I had to move my vehicle up, because so many others were getting pulled over for the same thing. So it’s really just a place where the cops get sent when revenues need to be generated. That’s really the deal. Every city has a few spots like this. I think it’s kind of underhanded on their part.

But anyway, the officer came back to my vehicle. I said, “How much is it?” It’s been a long, long, time since I got a ticket from a police officer. I think it’s been probably more than 20 years. In fact, come to think of it, it was probably back in the day when I DID own a cell phone. Hmm. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Interesting coincidence, don’t ya think? 🧐

So then he says, “Just plead not guilty.” This time he’s not leaning on my door because I didn’t roll the window ALL the way down. That’s something to keep in mind, folks. When you get pulled over, leave a little bit of glass there so that they don’t go in your space so willy-nilly. Not that I minded him, mind you. We actually got along just fine. I think we would have clicked, if we met, you know, gliding through the local aquarium on those conveyor belts — “Hey Marko! Look at that brown-banded bamboo sharko!” So of course I was surprised that Constable Marko encourages me to fight it, not to mention a little confused because I know that I can’t use GoogleMaps as an excuse. But he’s really trying to persuade me. He says, “You don’t even have to go in (to court, he means). It’s all online.” He’s friendly in the I’m Giving You a Ticket But I Don’t Hate You kind of way. So I said, “But I can’t use the GPS as an excuse.”

He agrees, but he says, “Yes, but I might be too busy to show up.” And I look at him and I say, “Ohhhh” and I connect the dots. He might not show up. Right. Right. I get it now. I get it, and he sees that I get it. Okay then.

See you in court . . .