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.
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.
"People have said to me, ‘You’re fully vaccinated. Why are you being so careful?’” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “I’m still in the camp of I don’t want to get Covid. I don’t want to get a breakthrough infection.”
---Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2021.