Today Felt Like Spring
Abstinence Only: another Amy Rant

My Devices are Not My Religion: an Amy Rant

Yesterday when I was rushing home to make dinner, I passed a silver Camry going super slow in the middle lane of a busy road. While I try not to get all road-ragey, I did turn to glare a little bit as I passed this car, and discovered that the driver was holding her data phone against her steering wheel and texting as she drove. Apparently steering, texting, watching the actual road and pushing on the gas pedal was more multitasking than she could manage, because she went slower and slower. Then we got to the light at one of Orem's busiest intersections. Her car had already stopped actually moving  before she made it to the line of cars, so there was a FOUR CAR length between her car and the one in front of her. (I know because I counted.)

This makes me insane. And grumpy.

I confess: if I am stopped at a red light and I know it's one that will take a long time to turn green and I have a text waiting, I will read it. At the red light. But I sort of have a Thing about Not Texting While I am Driving. The thought of getting in a car crash and possibly killing someone simply because I neededto write something to someone right then while I was driving is horrifying to me. I don't want to risk it. I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I think that texting and driving is completely and utterly selfish. What is so important that you must text it while you are driving? And if it really is that important that your message goes out right this second then pull your damn car into a parking lot and write your text there instead of putting everyone else on the road around you in peril.

But you know what bugs me even more? the iFans. I don't mean people who just happen to love their iPhone. I mean the people who are obnoxious and ostentatious about it. The iFans. One example is a member of my extended family (who doesn't read my blog but shall remain nameless on the odd chance that she might). At a family Christmas party I listened to her go on and on and on about how much she loves her iPhone and her iPad and how awesome it is and how Apple is just the most amazing company ever in the existence of companies. "I mean, I just can't use anything other than Apple products. I just can't. I honestly don't know how anyone can."

O.
M.
G.

I honestly can't think of one single product or company I am that dedicated to. I love my Burt's Bees chapstick but if I need some lip balm and some other brand is all I have? OK, pass over that Chapstick brand chapstick! And seriously, I understand. Some people like Macs. Some people (me!) like PCs. (One of the reoccurring dreams I used to have while I was working on my teaching certificate was that some nameless IT guy was making me use a Mac for all my teaching stuff. And I seriously asked, during the interviews while I was looking for a teaching spot, if the school used Macs or PCs. The high school where I taught did, in fact, use PCs. I think an all-Mac high school would have gotten a "no thanks" from me.) I understand that you get used to how things work and you like the way it operates and looks and feels. I get that because I don't want to switch to a Mac.

But the slavish dedication to all-things-i? I just don't get it. More than not getting it: I think it's ridiculous. It's fatuous and fabulous and, well—flashy, I guess. The iFans aren't just about using what they own. They're about making sure that everyone else knows what they own. They want everyone to convert to their iReligion, which is ironic because hello: if everyone converted then who would you make feel inferior to you for not owning an iSomething?

Honestly, what this all does, more than anything, is discourage me. It reminds me of how we as a society are changing, pinned as we are becoming to our devices. This week's Time had an article about how our brains are in The Cloud---it is literally harder to learn and remember something if you think you can just google it instead. (There are research studies to support this idea.) Devices, be they iSomethings or Androids or our PCs or our Macs or whatever, affect our physical selves. The way that iAnything is a status symbol will only fuel this connection. And while the technology is great, I still think we are too connected to it.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not exempting myself (even though I am decidedly not an iFan). I know I spend too much time putzing around online. Sometimes I check Facebook from my phone when I should be talking to my kids instead. I refresh my email from my phone too many times when I'm out and about, just to see if I have any blog comments to read. I'm too connected, too.

I just think this: if a person is going to be slavishly dedicated to something, it should be an idea. A belief, a cause, an art. Something that does something for the world. I think we should be slavishly dedicated to fixing the environment, finding alternative energy sources, ending war or curing Alzheimer's or cancer or diabetes or depression. Or hangnails. And I also think this: if you have an iPhone and you love your iPhone, then that is awesome. But what *I* love about you is not the kind of cell phone or table you use. It's how you think and what you say and how you treat people. Not your iPhone. Slavish devotion to devices creates, in my opinion, shallow and meaningless lives.

And it creates people who think it's perfectly fine to text while they're driving.

So, tell me, what do you think about devices?

Comments

Vickie

I'm a gadget girl and I like my devices. But I LOVE other things- mainly my people.
And I agree with you about texting- and even talking on the cell phone in public. Really- what is so important??

Bridget S

I hope you are not driving right now while reading this. I went kicking and screaming into the Mac world because I had to for school and work. Now, I would NEVER go back to a PC. I wished a sudden death on our PC so we could finally just be a Mac family. When the time came, the old girl wasn't even cooled off before I dumped her and sold the keyboard, mouse and monitor in a yard sale. Apple is the only brand devotion I completely understand.

wendy

Ooh, I like this post! I have some family members who are ipeople, too. I prefer pc by far, but I have owned a mac computer and learned to use it and it was fine. Their raving over istuff hasn't reached absurdity, but it's strong enough for me to think "whatever."

As for devices . . . considering I was just about to buy a kindle, I have to make sure I'm being honest in my remarks.

Dh wanted me to buy a kindle fire because of all the entertainment value of it. I wanted a kindle touch. I don't want another media TOY in my life. I just want an easier way to read books, since I'm too lazy to go to the library and too cheap and into decluttering to buy books that I'll only read once (that is a recent development--I've loved buying books in the past). Since I found a free kindle pc app, I have opted to not spending money on another device, until I'm convinced I would use it to read at other times besides morning and evening, when I do my reading just as easily on my laptop.

As for devices in general, I have gone through my addicted phases, and still am addicted to checking my email. I had an addicted to my pda phase, addicted to blogging and fb phase, addicted to games phase, and probably a few others.

Right now, I want my laptop b/c sharing was an issue in our house. I am frequently re-evaluating how much time I spend on it.
I also have a go-phone that I rarely use, and that's it for devices. And I need it to be that way, because of my addictive tendencies. My emotional & spiritual well-being, my toddler, marriage and home all need me to be connected to THEM, rather than to a device. The recent increase of computer time b/c of surgery recovery, and subsequent problems that have arisen b/c of it, has strengthened my position on that matter.

As I've had my laptop on my lap for a fair amount lately, I've started wondering about the physical effects, too, but I don't know enough about it to say anything except I'm pretty sure it's not healthy.

Long response . . . wow! I like your closing remarks about where our passions should lie. Amen!

heidikins

I'm kind of anti-all devices right now. I have an iPod that I appreciate in the car, especially when I am out of range of my regular radio stations (yes, I usually listen to the radio). But other than that? Meh. I don't really care.

xox

wendy

Ooh, I was just thinking I didn't sound too preachy. Really, if I could find a balance, I might allow another device. I just get addicted and out of balance too easily.

Jill B

I enjoy reading your blog for many reasons. I appreciate how well written it is and its content. I mention this only to point out the illiteracy that seems rampant due to all the special languages that are needed for all of these devices. Yes, you hit the mark for me in todays comments.
Now I do appreciate progress with common sense. Thanks for todays post.

Britt

a big amen!

Janet White

YESSSSSSS!!!!

I love my dumb phone...even if I forget to bring it with me.

Margot/NZ

I enjoy your 'rant' posts, Amy - so passionate and so literate (a rare combination).
In NZ it is now illegal to use a mobile device while driving - there's an instant fine of several hundred dollars which should be an effective deterrent (if the stupidity of doing so wasn't enough...).
However the latest police stats reveal thousands of people caught texting or talking on their mobiles while driving.
Sigh.

Kary in Colorado

I'm afraid I too am one who understands the iFan. I used a pc for years until my husband got me a Mac 3 years ago. I would not go back to a pc for anything in the world. I would not use a computer rather than use a pc again. Crazy? Only if all you have ever used is a pc. Now I have an iPhone and an iPad as well--they work intuitively and they are BEAUTIFUL. Warms the cockles of this graphic designer's heart!

But I would never, ever text or read a text while driving!

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