Monday, May 26, 2014

Phalluses, Flip Phones, and Judgment in a Tech World


Back in the day-like maybe 5 years ago-on a couples' date, we waited in line to see a comedy revue in Hollywood. One of the men in our party reached into his pocket and removed his cellphone. He cocked his hips forward and flipped his phone open. This triggered a reaction with more men, up-and-down the line, also flipping their phones open. They looked so manly and assertive. The women didn't take their phones out, but we all had them, of course. If flip phones had existed in ancient Egypt or Pompeii, the statues of sovereigns would have revealed them regally seated on their thrones . . . holding a flip phone in their laps like a gigantic phallus. 


Cell phones are status symbols, but it's only with the introduction of smart phones that women seem to be equally consumed with them. They're as likely as men to walk with head bowed over phone. When just standing in line, no one talks to strangers anymore. They're too busy tweeting that they're standing in line.  I don't have a smart phone.  I'm on and off my computers all day so a walk without being wirelessly connected to the world is a blessing. Plus, I like to people watch and I'm curious which of my "friends" will glance at me with pity when I pull out my . . . flip phone.

The following letter is from Peggy, a friend of 40 years (A 70's Redux). She wrote to me in response to a link I sent to her regarding my Huffington Post blog, Bullied: Diversity, Differentiation, Distinction. Her letter has no condescension when discussing technology . . . only wonder.

Sandra, 

Well I clicked on the HuffPost site. I realized that technology for me is like an octopus.  You can be very comfortable with one appendage (doing texts and using a smart phone at the beginner level), but what goes on in other appendages can make us feel like blithering idiots (envision a resident of an asylum, straight jacketed, drooling after a session of drugs and electricity to the brain!)  

The day we met at Venice beach, I got there way before you.  So I did what anyone would do.  I tried to call you to see where you were. Gerald answered your home phone and told me you don't always have your cell on! So after several attempts to contact you that day, I resorted to the old-fashioned method for coping in today's world: I sat and waited for you to show up.  What to do when you can't instantly reach your friend? Made my skin crawl as I had nothing to do till you showed up.  Oh, there was people watching.  I enjoy it.  But honestly, I felt I was so superior thinking I was so advanced cuz I USE MY PHONE CONSTANTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAYLIGHT HOURS, BUT YOU OBVIOUSLY DIDNT.  

Fast forward to this blog thing and I am right back at the idiots table.  In the old days everything on machines was obvious!  There were buttons and their functions were instantly recognizable.  We knew what each button did cuz it only did one thing: on/off, channel, volume, horizontal control, vertical control! That was it. Now you have to know the codes for each letter, number, icon before you can encode the messages and negotiate anything on technology!   

So my dear friend, I read the info about you and I have too many questions to type.  I guess I'll just have to do the old fashioned thing- and call you.  That modality still is available and it doesn't involve magical icons and codes.  

I'll try to call this week.  I must say I'm so proud to be the friend of such an accomplished author.  And Im very happy that you are working on the next installment.  Which pleases me so much.   I loved the first one and knew as I read each precious page that I wanted to spend more time with the Sandoval sisters than just one book. 

Talk soon.  Congrats.  Much love! Peg

Sent from my iPad