What I do not like about smart phones:
- Seeing people hyperfocused on tiny screens when I know they have better things to do;
- Hyperfocusing on people hyperfocused on tiny screens when I know I have better things to do;
- Struggling to ignore one side of conversations I wouldn’t even notice if I could hear both sides;
- Being greeted in the dairy section of HEB with, “Hello!” and responding with a “Hello!” of my own, and then realizing the Hello-er is talking to someone miles away instead of to me;
- And so on and so on.
Why I finally acquired* a smart phone:
- I bought a Yoo Fitness bracelet so I could keep track of the number of steps I take each day, and the Yoo requires a Bluetooth thingy to transfer data from bracelet to phone, which archives data and and keeps track of all manner of interesting information, such as which Challenge I’m working on, how many more points I must earn to win the current challenge, and how many points the Old Yoo deducts from the New Yoo because I didn’t meet its inane and unrealistic expectations.
- Other people’s cars keep bumping into mine.
For example–and I’m skipping over the rear-ending incident back in 2014, when the offending driver gave me information that wasn’t quite quite and then disappeared into the mists of East Texas, or somewhere–in 2016, I was driving home from a Sisters in Crime meeting when Something Bad happened.
I was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Ben White and S. Congress Avenue. Two cars were in front of me. The pickup to my left was in the Must-Turn-Left lane. I was in the Turn-Left-or-Go-Straight lane. I planned to turn left.
So. The light turned green. I proceeded into the intersection and turned left, as was proper.
The pickup in the Must-Turn-Left lane, to my left, did not turn left. It just kept a-going.
Well into the turn, I glanced sideways, saw the pickup a-coming, and thought to myself, My goose is cooked. (That’s the family friendly version. I don’t remember my exact thoughts, but chances are it was something like, Oh, hell, the damn driver of that damn pickup is going to total my damn car and me with it, dammit.)
But because we’d been stopped at the light and the Perp hadn’t had time to build up speed, I came out intact.
I somehow continued to turn left, and the Perp decided, belatedly, to do the same. We crossed the bridge and I pulled off at the Chevron station on the corner. He followed and stopped there too, which was smart, because if he hadn’t, I would have pulled back out onto Congress, chased him down, dragged him from the cab, and administered a good, sound clop in the chops.
We exited our vehicles. I thought about Pollyanna and said, “Hi, are you okay?”He said, “Hola.” Complications appeared on the horizon.
He looked about fifteen, and that could have complicated things to the max–because every time a Perp bashes into my car, I feel as if it’s my fault, and when the Perp is just a child . . . It’s not reasonable, but I was born feeling guilty and frequently relapse.
But help was only three blocks away in the person of my Dear Husband, who has an M.A. in Spanish (and a J.D.**). I pulled out my little flip phone, called him, reported the pertinent fact (“The driver’s side door doesn’t look like it did when I left home.”), and said, “Don’t run.” I’d already decided that I would write down the Perp’s info at a rate
Vaster than empires and more slow.***
In other words, that kid wasn’t going anywhere until he’d faced the Man of My Family.
Well. Even though I told him not to run, David ran. He and the Perp, who seemed like a really nice young man, discussed the situation. David learned the Perp didn’t have a drivers license, and that the pickup belonged to his brother or brother-in-law or uncle, or someone, I don’t remember who. The pickup was insured, but the status of the driver was in question.
David called 911. Because he admitted no one was hurt, we spent more than three hours waiting for a policeman.
I sat in the car. I stood beside the car. I leaned against the car. I went into the store and bought us all pretzels and Cokes and bottled water and a variety of other comestibles.***
But–because I’d been to a Sisters in Crime meeting, I had my camera. I proudly produced it. David took shots of our car and the Perp’s pickup (which was in amazingly good condition).
Then I wandered around the parking lot, taking pictures and pinning down memories.
Here’s where the smart phone comes in. Traditional cameras are heavy and cumbersome. I don’t carry one with me all the time. Smart phone cameras are light and easy to handle. They fit comfortably in a purse. They’re also sneaky; you can gather all manner of evidence without your subjects knowing you’re up to no good.
A policeman finally arrived, I told my story, I guess the Perp told his story, and that was that. David asked if the Perp would get a ticket. The officer said, “Ohhhhh, yeah.”
Another wave of guilt washed over me. He was really a very nice Perp.
* I didn’t buy the phone. David volunteered the one he abandoned several years ago because he didn’t see the point. If he ever gets his own Yoo Fitness bracelet, I’ll have to give the phone back to him, but that will be when pigs fly.
** Juris Doctor. The criminal kind. He hasn’t practiced for more than twenty years, but it comforts me to know I have something more than my English-teacher glare to fall back on.
*** Andrew Marvell. “To His Coy Mistress.” A magnificent poem about love and time and seizing the day.