What did we do without our smartphones? They entertain us in doctor’s offices, while waiting for car service, and while waiting for food in restaurants. I’m not even talking about talking on the phone, since that is considered rude in those places. But we can text (and snarky texting mid-meeting is extremely entertaining) and play all those games, and access dozens of apps. On my phone I have Kindle (and I read novels on there all the time – right now it’s Pride and Predjudice), Etsy (so I can check my online store and make sure nothing has sold or expired), Listia (so I can check those online auctions), Pharmacopoeia (so I can check medications and dosages for my patients, Wix (which is a free site where you can display your photography and I can check my pictures), Facebook (goes without saying), Twitter (so I can check on all three of my followers), and, of course, WordPress, so I can see how many reads and reposts and comments and likes I have had. What did I ever do without this gadget? And this does not even mention the main functions of the phone, which are to carry on conversations, and naturally, check emails. And I check my emails constantly. Like every hour, because there are the notifications from Etsy, Listia, Twitter, and WordPress and this is my big link with the world when I cannot access a computer. I have a weather app that even has Doppler of weather in the area, and a GPS in case I am out of town and get lost.
The phone is as good as cigarettes used to be. It provides a redirect in social situations where you are not really being included, and something to do with your hands when you are bored. I almost wonder if there has been a decrease in smoking since smartphones have been around. I log on to that thing if I feel ignored, or overlooked, or bored, or just have a few minutes to kill. Just like cigarettes. Since I can’t smoke anymore you have no idea how handy this phone thing is.
And of course, we actually communicate. A friend of mine last night texted me a list of things she hates and things she loves and asked me to reciprocate. Later that night she sent me an outraged text – she had gone to bed early with cramps and awoke around eleven to find her teenaged son completely missing from the house and walking around the neighborhood with a girl “friend”. Since he had just gotten a previous girlfriend pregnant, needless to say, she was not pleased to find him catting about. So she promptly added that to her “hate” list.
As an Ob/Gyn, I use my phone as my paging service. I receive texts from my paging service from various patients who need medications called in, are having problems, or who just plain need to be seen. I also get calls from the Emergency Room. I can call the answering service back and get any missing information from my texts or get them to ring a call through to the patient trying to reach me.
I play games on my phone from time to time. I really enjoy Words With Friends and for a while had about five games going at a time. I confess to liking a game called Jewels, where you line up matching items to make them disappear and earn points. I used to play Tetris. Anything you want to play is available as an app.
In case you are wondering, I have an Android Bionic. It’s a little large, but I really love it. I have never had an iPhone, so I can’t compare them, but I really do love this phone compared to the crappy Blackberry Storm I had before that. There were no apps for that phone (or very few) and I believe Blackberry has knocked itself out of the smartphone market.
At any rate, I love my smartphone and cannot even imagine what we did without our phones. I ask my patients, who are invariably playing with their phones while they are waiting for me to come into their rooms, and they cannot imagine what we did without them either. I don’t mind my patients having cells in the room as long as they get off them long enough to communicate with me. Some even text or play games to take their minds off the exams they are having. I know some would find that bizarre, but hey, if it makes them feel better. At any rate, the information age has engulfed us and we are now completely dependent on these crazy things. I love my phone and would die of boredom and isolation without it.