What do you do when you’re in a relationship and the other party will not negotiate, doesn’t understand the word NO, has no respect, a mind of its own, and is difficult to deal with?
Does this sound like your mother-in-law? Well, then I’m sorry for you, but I’m talking about my iPhone.
In therapy terms my phone seems to be “finding its voice.” But unlike previous parenting skills which seemed to work — the time-outs, the ultimatums, the watch your tone or you will spend the weekend dusting…nothing is working.
Phones these days have no respect.
My phone continually asks if I want to invite Facebook friends to Messenger. I tell my phone, no. It invites that person anyway. It asks if I want to know of Breaking News or notifications from various websites? I tell my phone, no. Do I want to be reminded that a Facebook friend has a birthday? No. And yet, the beeping, singing, flashing, annoying notifications appear on the banner of my phone, regardless. In Settings, I turn them all off…again. What are my options to let it know I mean business — draining its battery till it’s at 1 percent and then slowly bringing it back to life?
“I told you I don’t want to see that,” I yell in the kitchen. My husband comes in and asks who I am speaking with. My phone, I say. He suggests I try using a nicer tone.
My phone doesn’t know its place.
I was recently texting my friend Mike G. while we were both watching Michael Conforto hit a homerun for the Mets.
My first text: Confirming!
My second text: Confetti!
My third text: OMG Mike. I’m trying to text his name and it won’t let me.
Thankfully, Mike G. knew that I was trying to spell Conforto. Conforto, Confirming, Confetti. It’s like having a third person in on the conversation. Me, Mike G. and my phone. Please get out of my conversation, I yell at my phone, trying to watch my tone. Notice the word, please.
My phone does not respect me.
It’s helpful when you spell something wrong and spellcheck corrects it. But it’s not helpful when knowing what you want to say, your phone thinks it’s smarter than you are.
For instance, I text my cousin, Jackie M., asking if she has a muddler I can use. I clearly text MUDDLER. My phone asks her if I can borrow her muffler. I text my daughter: Your Grandparents are going to Disney next month. My phone overrides and texts: Your Grandparents are going to divorce next month. My friend was asking for advice on whether to send a text to someone. I texted back, MYOB (mind your own business), but my phone decided I meant, Myocardial. Which I sent. What should I do? Sit my phone in a corner and make it think about its behavior? Who is in charge here?
I yell at my phone.
I do not watch my tone.
My phone has a smart mouth.
The voice on Google Maps is becoming increasingly frustrated with me. It used to be when disregarding the directional prompt my phone would recalculate to what I wanted to do. No more! Now, it instructs me to make a U-Turn, again and again and again, completely disregarding what I want to do. I’m waiting for the day when through my Bluetooth I hear, Jesus, Tracy either you make a U-Turn or I’m taking away your keys!
When that happens my friends, all bets are off. I will grab my muffler, make myself a drink, turn on the Mets, hope that Confetti hits a home run and mind my own myocardial.
— Tracy Buckner
Tracy Buckner writes for The Observer Tribune of Chester, N.J., and blogs for the New Jersey Hills family of newspapers, which serve Madison, Chatham and Chester, New Jersey. She enjoys writing about the slow decline and vows to go down kicking and screaming. You can read more of her musings on her blog: “Aging, Kids, Family and Why We Self-Medicate.” She is one of 40 women humorists whose essays are featured in Laugh Out Loud: 40 Women Humorists Celebrate Then and Now…Before We Forget, the workshop’s first book project in collaboration with Allia Zobel Nolan.