Cell phone, friend or foe? Part II


Having a cell phone has definitely changed my life. Texting seems to be more efficient. It is fortunate that, as a writer, I have excellent typing skills. Of course, using that teeny tiny cell phone keyboard does not exactly fit my fingers on the home keys such as when typing, but at least the location of the letters is memorized. I am not sure when texting became my “go to” method of communication; possibly because using the phone all day is part of my regular occupation and it is a respite from having to hold that receiver up to my ear. Plus, with the onset of some hearing loss, I don’t always hear the conversation on that teeny tiny speaker on the cell phone. “Why would you buy a toy Yoda?” “What is the biggest turtle you have overcome?” “Why would he want me to buy grape ants at Walmart?” (These misunderstood sentences are courtesy of Audicus Hearing Aids.)

Having a cell phone is like having an encyclopedia. (Remember those?) If there is a question about side effects from a medication, what weather is coming our way, or which celebrity is the most generous during these COVID-19 times, the answer is neatly provided. (Bill and Melinda Gates donated $100 million, Rihanna $5 million, and $1 million each from Angelina Jolie, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kelly Ripa, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.)

A cell phone also functions like a personal bank. Not only can I pay bills and set up automatic bill payments, but I can also deposit checks. Additionally, I have access to all of the bank accounts from my three youngest children in case one of them has an emergency. My youngest son, Angel, seems to have the most issues, frequently being out of money, but needing money for gas and food.

It is very handy to have the date and time readily displayed. The calculator on my phone gets a lot of use, especially when my fingers worked like a wildfire while filling out our income tax form. There is an app to find my phone or my iPad, but it can only locate its general whereabouts. I know my phone is in my home, but where?

For those occasions when my car is in the shop or when my daughter, Marie, wants to go shopping, the Uber app is especially handy. The method of payment, tipping and leaving a rating are top notch, as is the ability to leave a text message with the driver. When my daughter goes, I will text, “rider is deaf, look for her with her bright blue hair.”

During this pandemic, Zoom and Google Teams are front and center and often used for virtual meetings during which my phone turns into a galley of participants. I place the phone in a spot to maximize my presence, including a cute wall hanging behind me that says, “Let’s just stay home.” Others do not seem to be aware of how they come across, with many cameras almost looking up a participant’s nose, enlarging a bust area way beyond reality, or portraying a ghost-like figure in a dark room. Remember when many of us wanted to be on television? I am “over” that dream now as I have seen what I look like and it is not pretty!

The camera on my phone far exceeds my photography skills. It allows for editing a photo, a skill that still eludes me. I joyfully used it last year for our Christmas photo, and elongated our bodies to make us look skinnier than in reality. In retrospect, it did not fool anyone as both of us looked stretched out, which, in essence, we were! Still, it is nice to have a camera available for those spur of the moment photos, such as when my granddaughter caught a fish, or when my daughter was having a magical moment with her baby. I have come to understand that, unlike the photos on paper, these photos will live a lifetime in “the cloud.” I hope it doesn’t rain. Oh! I can open the weather report app to check on that!


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