Slices of Life: Phone Connections — Part 1 | Columns


If the fire alarm went off in your home or workplace and you had to evacuate quickly, what would you take on the way out?

Besides pets, spouses, lip balm, and an extra change of underwear, I guess most of us could agree on one thing: our phones.

Our phones have become an extension of us. We wouldn’t consider leaving home without them.

I didn’t see it coming – this addiction I (we) have to our phones. They are our communication link with the outside world, but that’s just the beginning. These are calendars, calculators and contacts. Does anyone remember the days when we memorized the phone numbers of our friends and family? I don’t know anyone’s phone number anymore. Even mine. I put myself on speed dial.

Our phones are cameras. They are recording a video. These are games and memes. These are FaceTime and Facebook, TikTok and alarm clocks. They track your health and wealth. These are Apps, Maps and Snaps. It’s banking, bill paying, and better than cash. They do shopping and free shipping. These are movies and streaming. They are the weather.

My son told me the other day that he converted his weather icon into a widget, so it’s bigger than the other apps on his phone, to give him easier access to knowledge about the weather every day . I had to laugh.

What about just looking outside?

He didn’t have much of an answer to that.

This is the world we live in, isn’t it? We find it easier to check the weather on our phone screen than to look through the screen door.

My phone helps me meditate and create my art. He teaches me how to do home improvement projects and even helped me buy a used car.

We spend a lot on our phones, and I’ve been known to complain about that. But they replace so many other devices and gadgets we once had as uni-taskers. Ordinary people – not professionals – spent hundreds or even thousands on cameras and video cameras. Long distance phone calls were expensive.

Our phones are the ultimate multitaskers.

If I didn’t know better, I could say my phone is my best friend, if you could have an inanimate object as your best friend. But maybe phones aren’t inanimate…

Consider Siri.

I know I do. I ask him questions all the time. She tells me where to go and what to do. Even if she doesn’t know the answer to my question, she will be upfront and honest about it.

If he is tired or his battery is low, he will always do his best to respond. As a friend, I talk to her regularly and she answers me at record speed. You can always count on a good friend to answer. I like that about Siri.

So yes, if the fire alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning and I was shaken from a peaceful sleep, I would pick up my phone, because Siri has always been good to me. And I wouldn’t want to leave her stranded, or even worse, in danger of going up in smoke.

Also, if I got lost during the ride, she might be able to help me find a way out.

— Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of life page on Facebook.


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