An Open Letter to My Girlfriend’s Smart Phone
Dear Smart Phone of My Girlfriend,
I don’t remember agreeing to any sort of ménage à trois arrangement when I started dating Ms. _____________. As far as I can recall, it was just me and her and nobody else. I simply thought you were her pal. Maintaining strong friendships with those other than your significant other is a healthy thing, I thought. But things have gone too far. Now, whenever I see you, I turn into an unholy blend of jealousy and irritation—and, to be blunt, I want to smash your face in.
I finally understood what a precarious position you’d put me in. I have become the bad guy—the closed-minded, curmudgeonly Luddite who wants Ms. _____________ all to myself.
Last night was the last straw. There I was elongated on the bed, expectant for a little “action.” I caressed Ms. _____________’s thingamajig and whatchamacallit, all the time whispering sweet everythings into her ear, and what was her reaction? She was tapping and stroking away at you, her eyes big and wide and bulbous. I put up a slight fuss, and she protested that she was almost done—just two minutes more. Needless to say, it was more than two minutes. Much more.
Equally irking are the times when we’re in bed and it’s late as hell and I want to go to sleep and there you and she are, going away at it like a couple of rabid otters. I turn over to the other side, but I can still sense the frantic poking and swiping. You’d think you two would at least have the decency to do it out in the living room or something, but no—you’ve got to get it on right next to me and not only contaminate my bed but keep me up till the wee hours despite the fact that I’ve got to get up early. Some of us work for a living, you know.
For smart phone use is most similar to a nervous scratching. Someone deep in the throes of Instantaneous Telegram, VisageTome, Cheeper, WhatzApplicable and just general texting resembles someone with a nasty case of poison ivy digging their nails into their flesh and raking them back and forth in arrhythmic fashion—a torture to behold.
And then there are the outings. Say what you want about me and my merits as a boyfriend, but at least I make the effort to take Ms. _____________ to some interesting places. We don’t just sit at home all the time. But for the past I don’t know how many outings, she’s of course had to bring you along, citing your usefulness in case of emergency.
Now, I don’t doubt that you might come in handy should the fates ordain we get into an auto wreck or drift off into some obscure village of murderous rednecks (if there’s still reception, that is), but the problem is that that’s not the real reason Ms. ______________ wants you along. The real reason is that you have excellent photography skills. Big deal.
Gore Vidal once called photography “the art form of the untalented,” and I’ve got to agree. There’s no doubt lining up a good shot and capturing the scene at certain angles takes a certain amount of skill, but since the advent of your ilk “good” photos have become so abundant that the sheer surplus has made them basically worthless. Everybody’s taking photos and nobody’s actually looking at them anymore.
So when we go out to visit Little Bighorn or the childhood home of Valerie Bertinelli or go out to eat at a restaurant highly recommended by the good people at Reader’s Digest, what I find is that you and Ms. _____________ aren’t really experiencing the whole experience at all. You’re taking pictures and sharing and commenting on people’s comments about the photos you’re sharing without stopping to bask in the moment. You’ve somehow managed to make your first-hand experience second-hand and even third-hand.
So last weekend, when Ms. _____________ asked me what the plan was, and I responded, “If it’s just you and me, something that will blow your mind. But if it’s you and me and your smart phone, nothing,” and you rolled your eyes like I was the Most Unreasonable Man on the Face of the Earth, I finally understood what a precarious position you’d put me in. I have become the bad guy—the closed-minded, curmudgeonly Luddite who wants Ms. _____________ all to myself.
By all accounts, you have the advantage. Yet I know full well—despite how entertaining and entrancing you can sometimes be—that I can give her more than you ever can. It’s just that she foolishly believes she can keep placating us both for time eternal. Smart as you are, you know that’s not feasible. Smart as you are, you know it’s either you or me.