B finally got a smartphone yesterday. She spent about an hour on the (land line) phone with Verizon setting it up. This exercise made me appreciate two things about my lovely partner. First, I wasn't aware that she commanded such an extensive vocabulary of four letter words.
However, I'm not so sure of her aptitude in biology. I'm pretty sure that a few of the things she was suggesting, quite urgently and vociferously, are illegal in some states. Others are just downright anatomically impossible. For example, a head is way to large to fit ... up there.
However, she persevered and is now a member of the smartphone-carrying public. I have to admire her persistence. I also have to give credit to the woman on the other end of the phone. Whatever you say about Verizon, it has good, level-headed, patient phone representatives.
I don't want to brag, but I've had a smartphone for several years now. My only problem is that I thought a smartphone would make me smart. Instead, it seems, you have to be smart to use a smartphone. And I'm not so smart.
For example, I do use my smartphone to make telephone calls. But I have to admit, I like our land line better. You get a better connection and can actually understand what the other person is saying. I hope that, whoever is elected president this year, they keep that red phone connected to a land line, rather than switching to over to a smartphone. Otherwise, the new president might call up Putin and say, "Obama is gone!" And Putin will think he or she said, "We're dropping the bomb!"
I also sometimes use my smartphone to take pictures. But I much prefer my Canon digital camera. True, it's yet another thing to carry around. But I find it's easier to use, has more features, and takes clearer, brighter photographs.
Of course, the big benefit of a smartphone is that you can access the internet. So you're in the car, or out to dinner, and someone mentions Muldova, and quick ... you can look up and see exactly what and where Muldova is. But again, I personally find that behavior kind of superfluous ... people constantly interrupting a pleasant conversation to check their smartphone to answer a trivia question. When I access the internet, it's usually in the service of an article or email or something like that and I use my desktop or my laptop to google whatever it is I need to know.
I have used my smartphone to download and listen to podcasts. But I just don't have the time to do a lot of that. I do use the smartphone to text -- not because I'm particularly fond of texting, but because it's pretty much the only way my Millennial children will talk to me. But, actually, B could text on her old phone. You don't need a smartphone to text.
I also have a problem keeping my phone charged; and I don't always carry it with me. I simply have not developed the lifestyle where a smartphone is attached to my body all the time. As I tell my kids: if they text me or leave me a message on my smartphone, I guarantee a 48-hour turnaround.
They smile at me indulgently when I say this, confirming in their minds that they are cool, hip Millennials and I'm just an old fogey baby boomer. That's okay with me. It makes them feel good, and as their father I like to help my kids feel good.
Anyway, B and I went to dinner last night. We both ordered a salad. I asked her, casually, peering over my menu, "What's the difference between ice cream and gelato?" A minute later I looked up again. There she was on her smartphone ... ready with the answer.