I used the telephone today.
Back in 2008, I was directing Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at DVC, and as my stage manager and I were discussing updates and communications, I realized that without a reliable laptop, a computer, or internet at home, my enlisting in the smartphone army was inevitable. The Blackberry became my new friend, emailing my happy little butt off all over the East Bay Area. Madame Berry and I had a little falling out a while later, but we had been reunited when I started at Long Beach State. Email became such a staple of communications (personal and professional) and the portable keyboard across the bottom of my minicomputerphonemessenger was one of my best friends.
In January of this year, with a promotion at work that deemed a more prominent social media presence, I made the jump to the Apple-flavored “dark side.” Oddly enough, said iPhone was the cheapest technological gizmo I had ever purchased, but my quick acquaintance with the touch screen and one-button handset sent my Blackberry typing fingers into deep, dark void. Obviously, autocorrect is the nemesis of many a textversation, but that didn’t stop my descent into touch screen-driven iMania. Pictures, videos, voice memos, and apps (oh my!)—and I could still email to my heart’s content? Oh, the apps: games, references, photo effects, sports highlights, Senorita 3GS was my iMami, and she is good to me. So good (or should I say, "so bueno"?).
Today, her and I had a little talk. A couple actually. Literally. Earlier this evening, as I popped open my friend Marshall (my MacBook) to start writing my blog for today…I was sidetracked by a sound I normally only hear in the morning when it’s time to wake up…my phone rang. My confusion of “why is my alarm going off right now?” was settled when I looked at my iMami and saw the name of a friend I had not heard from since the BSE (Before Smartphone Era). For almost the next 90 minutes, my actor-friend Danny and I talked on the phone.
Using my telephone, I spoke in real time with another person. Really.
Not two hours later, my dear friend Lainey (or “Elena” as a journalist re-named her in a recent review she was in) texted me with the simple message, “Skype?”, to which my initial reaction was, “dang it! I’m not at home by my laptop!” I quickly realized…wait, I can talk to you too, just as I did with Danny! Shortly after I shared this epiphany with her, there was that jingly tone (which was not so confusing this time), and all of a sudden, I was hearing a voice I hadn’t heard in…way too long.
Towards the end of our conversation I had mentioned that our conversation was more than we’ve literally talked all year—and it’s already July (if you hadn’t noticed). Not that we don’t keep in touch, far from, we text and wall post and message—but we rarely talk on the phone.
Now, I’m nowhere near as green as some of today’s children are, emerging from the womb with a Bluetooth and an XBOX Live membership, and I’m not so old that I was friends with the local switchboard operator, but my mild shock at the (sadly) uncommon act of using my iPhone to actually talk to someone in real time is a little disturbing. Am I the only one who uses their smartphone for just about everything besides what a phone was originally invented for? How do you think Alexander Graham Bell would react if someone told him that his name would be all over bicycle helmets in the 21st century, and that people used telephones for typing, recording pictures, and playing music like some possessed phonograph? He’d probably laugh in your face (quite heartily, because a man with a beard that size should only have a hearty, belly-shaking laugh).
The Telephone. Not just a catchy song by Lady Gaga, or a message-passing game played in a circle by grade school children (and actors), but an actual device where two beings can listen to each other in real time as if they were right in front of each other. I say two beings, because I’ve seen and heard plenty of people talk to their animals on the phone. Whether said pet is on the other line, filing their nails and cooking breakfast with a baby on their hip and the phone pinned between their ear and shoulder is another story…
Yesterday’s entry was about talking to people you don’t know. Today’s is coincidentally about talking to people you do know. I guess somewhere in the back of my brain (well, it was in the back earlier, now it’s definitely in the forefront) is the moral that we should all talk with each other more. Writing this in a blog is somewhat hypocritical, since it’s predominantly a one-way form of communication, but comments are appreciated, encouraged, and wanted. Talk to me, folks, whether I know you or not, and if you know someone who may want to talk…send em on over!