Monday, February 18, 2013

A Day Without Siri, My iPhoneless Discoveries of Technological Dependency

I realized recently that I am pathetically lost when I am without my iPhone. I always said I wouldn't be one of those people- The sort who can't carry on a conversation without glancing at their phone to check for appointments, missed calls, and reminders...

That was before I got an iPhone. I am now one of those obnoxious techie device addicts, though I swore I wouldn't succumb to the tantalizing temptations of all things Mac-made.

I found that my new friend, Siri, could be quite helpful to me when I'm navigating my way through adulthood. What I didn't realize until this week is that I have become somewhat dependent on my clever little assistant. She calls me "my lover" and makes me feel special. Without her, I display behaviors of confusion, disorientation and childlike dependency. I wonder if Siri missed me when I ran out of the house and left her behind this week. I doubt she even noticed.

A state of panic resulted while I drove to work and involuntarily reached for my phone to check the time. No iPhone. No Siri. No big deal, I thought, as I tried to remain calm and recall my appointments that had been scheduled for that day. I debated on turning the car around to head back home and grab my forgotten friend, but I'd first need to know the time. I couldn't be late for work so maybe I could go back for Siri during my lunch break. Surely I could make it through the first half of the day without my phone. Surely...

My car's radio clock is never accurate. It would literally take two minutes for me to set it, but I hadn't done this. When time changes occur twice a year, I add or subtract an hour from whatever that car clock reads, accordingly. I like to think that I don't change the clock so I can stay sharp on mathematical capabilities of adding and subtracting, but my decision is more affected by laziness. I got mad at myself for my car-clock-changing boycott when I couldn't check the time on my iPhoneless morning drive to work. I had not needed to use my car clock in quite some time, or I would have noted that my add an hour, subtract an hour calculations were false equations that would not give me a true time answer. How and when my clock became so inaccurate is unknown, but I knew on that day that it could not be 1:00AM. Although Siri wasn't with me to confirm this, the sun's rising and morning traffic reflected that it must be around 7:30...I hoped.

Apart from my helplessness that became evident in absence of my phone, I noted another problem with technology. In a desperate attempt to confirm time of day, I turned on the radio. Certainly, an announcer on one of the stations would state the time of day. They do it all the time, right? Well, they used to. That's right- announcers used to repeat the time of day every 15 minutes or so...if my childhood memories serve me correctly.

I listened to more commercials than I'd intended, and more songs that were outside my musical preferences, before an announcer finally said what time of day it was. By then, I was pulling into the office parking lot. 8:00...just in time for work, no thanks to Siri or radio for providing time information before it was nearly too late to matter. I attest that time-announcing regulations should be implemented to require that radio announcers provide this critical information on a more regular basis. You won't notice this change of time announcing frequency until you rely solely on the communication of radio. I learned what the weather would be for the week, where to buy diamonds at bargain prices, what's happening in the world, current name it. Just not what time of day it was...that information is highly classified and rarely communicated to commuters.

I don't know if every morning is like the Siri-less one I experienced this week, but I don't plan to find out. On my iPhone-less day, I'd needed my phone more than ever. Questions of co-workers are answered by my organizational habits of recording deadlines, appointments, and crucial contact information that only Siri remembers- as it turns out. I could not survive that afternoon without her, or I would surely miss an appointment or would provide false information based on my scatterbrained recollections of work-related information.

Much has changed in our world since the invention of Steve Jobs took us all by storm. We rely on the usefulness of iPhones, laptops, iPads, and email- to do just about everything. Remember when Y2K had everybody worried? I personally didn't concern myself with stocking canned goods and enough water for an army of camels, but I wondered what would happen that year. Turns out, we made it out alright. So did our precious technological devices. It's a good thing they are okay- just kind of pathetic how much we need them.

Maybe you're different. Maybe you haven't gotten an iPhone yet. Perhaps you don't plan to obtain one and you are annoyed when you see people talking on blu-tooths that make them look like a schizophrenic psychopath. Maybe you wear a watch. You're probably smarter than the rest of us, though your daily lifestyle is somewhat out-dated. At least you don't depend on a friend who has no feelings to provide you information that you can't function without. I could have used your old-school habits on my morning drive without Siri. You could've told me how pathetic I was for relying so much on my phone to navigate through my day. You could've also told me what time it was. People need to know that stuff and radio announcers are letting us down when we need them most.

In a world where kids are depending on computers more than ever, Siri is their teacher. Kids aren't being taught how to write in cursive in some states. I don't like that, but maybe it's because my cursive handwriting has been practiced to perfection. That's too bad since people aren't going to know how to read it when I'm an old lady. Someone will have to decipher my last will and testament, for it may as well be transposed in hieroglyphics. Maybe I'd better tell Siri who gets what when I'm gone. Maybe I should write it all down in neat print, rather than cursive.

I'm 25 and am feeling like an old lady already. Times have changed and we are all evolving. I am an iPhone, iPad, tech-savvy adult who is able to find out anything but what time of day it is. The helpfulness of technological advancements is matched- and perhaps, exceeded- by our dependency on gadgets and the frustration that arises when we must do without them.

People get all worked up about this topic of whether or not technology is good or bad. That's putting it all rather simply, but the explanation encompasses the summary of a long and drawn-out discussion or debate. In summary, times have changed. Information is readily accessible with the touch of a button or click of a mouse. Some people have achieved the perfect balance between technological dependency and old-fashioned practicality of logical reasoning and organization. I have not.

My fellow Siri-dependents, we still need to wear watches. Let's not allow cursive to become obsolete- if, for no other reason apart from the aesthetic beauty it presents to the reader. It would be a good idea to keep a hand-written planner in your car. You should set your clock radio in your car, but you probably have one now that does it for you. My old trusty Altima is not equipped with your new fancy, self-setting clock. I bought an old antique alarm clock that I planned to put in my car. It operates without electricity...At least, that's what I hear. I have no idea how to set the alarm on it though. I know that if I wind it up, it will tick for many hours but will eventually stop. People used to have to stay on top of the clock-winding if they wanted to know the time. Old-fashioned lifestyles had their issues, too. Radio announcers were probably giving morning drivers false time information back then. Still, people somehow kept the time. Life now has it's own issues, but it turns out that it always has. Either grab your iPhone or don't forget to wind up your clock. Your choice.

I opt for Siri and vow to never leave her at home again. If anybody knows how to set the alarm on the old Westclock (pictured above), I'd still like to have a back-up plan. :)

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