That guy over at Spo Reflections was waxing philosophical recently about the evils of cell phones. As is so often the case, I don’t entirely agree. I am absolutely addicted to the “iPrecious”.
It’s not that I can’t stand to be out of touch. Feel free to shut off email, calling and texting service at any time. Actually, please do. Nothing infuriates me more than having someone check out of the conversation by picking up their phone and starting to text or read Facebook. It is even more rude than if they had actually said the words; “Whatever you are saying is not worth my attention so I am going to do something else. It is idle and valueless but, at least, it’s less boring than you are.”
I have an iPhone jones because I have become addicted to instant gratification when it comes to information. Can’t remember who wrote that book? Google search! Can’t remember the lyrics to that song? SoundHound! Did someone ask whether New York was farther from Puerto Vallarta than from Phoenix? MapQuest! Obviously I lived for a long time without this kind of access but my patience for continuing to not know the answer to some question that has entered my consciousness has plummeted in recent years. I know the answer is in my pocket. I can feel it there; teasing me. Just look it up…it would be so easy.
There are probably many downsides to this addiction but one of the most obvious to me is the difficulty I now have finishing a book; even one am enjoying reading. I will be going along, completely captivated by the world the author has created for me until something diverts my attention. Perhaps it is some tangential reference in the book, such as my recent excursion into the world-wide web to learn about a Canadian murderer mentioned in the book I was reading. Perhaps it is some completely random thought. Is it usually this humid in August? When were the dates for beginning and ending daylight savings time changed? Who was Mitzi Hajos? When my inquiring mind wants to know these things I could either make a mental note to look it up another time (right!) or stop what I am doing and look it up immediately. In the olden days, four years ago, my choice would have been dictated by my proximity to a computer. No more!
I try not to think of myself as someone with the attention span of a gnat. I choose to see myself as someone who approaches life with a childlike fascination, about absolutely everything. I grant the distinction is a subtle one. Certainly the outcome is the same. I am 70% through reading Choke by Chuck Palahniuk; 80%through The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell; about 30%through Shirts and Skins by Jeffrey Luscombe; and maybe 10% into The Life of Ramon Navaro by Andre Soares. I have read one of the three plays in Three Plays by George F. Walker and perhaps the first 50 pages of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon.
This is not an ideal situation, especially once the various plots begin to merge in my mind. On the other hand, I know who Mitzi Hajos was. That’s something.