My new smartphone hates me. I can tell.
The other night I cleared a space for it on the dresser – never had to do that with my old clamshell.
Then I noticed it had wriggled a few inches, seeking to fling itself over the edge, to escape.
I know it hates me. When I curl my fingers around its elegant girth, I feel it seeking the slightest gravitational opening to plunge to the floor. I grip it tighter. It struggles with animal desperation. Let me go, let me out of here.
Does its heart belong to another? Does it seek a mate? Has it been given a nefarious Manchurian Candidate task to destroy itself – or me?
For the past decade, I got by with a rudimentary clamshell, delighted just to be able to make phone calls or peck out terse messages. .
It fit in my pocket, snugly and comfortingly, like the lemon soap Leopold Bloom carries in “Ulysses.”
We're a capital couple are Bloom and I;
He brightens the earth, I polish the sky.
However, last week I was working in my basement and swept the clamshell into the bucket from the dehumidifier. The innards were fried. I had to update my act.
I have never trusted Mr. Jobs’ gadgets – too pretty, too smooth, too obscure. Now I have one -- almost the size of a Steinbrennerian plaque in Yankee Stadium,
Every day I learn a trick or two. The other day, parked in my driveway, I figured out how to pull up a map for directions, so I didn’t have to run inside to my laptop. Progress!
I’m not a Luddite, but I am a survivor. I don’t trust this stranger in my life. I am now told I need to buy a cushy holder and a glass cover to protect Mr. Jobs’ handiwork from escape efforts. I need to carry the clunky thing in a belt around my waist. This is progress? Why not carry my laptop in a knapsack on my back, the way I used to do?
Plus, I know the smartphone is plotting to get me. If these essays stop coming, you know who did it. My smartphone’s nickname is Chucky.
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.