essay projects

Gum on my Shoe

I recently learned that my cell phone provider gets terrible reception out west. Therefore, my mom decided to switch our family provider, with a throw-in of new phones.
Out of the box, mine looked pretty cool. It flips open—my last phone was just a bar—allowing me to emulate the cinematic phone pick-up. It feels thinner and more modern, and the black exterior creates a mysterious aura. It matches the design of this generation.
I ruffled through the box and found the quick-start guide. Since I didn’t keep up with the technology, I wanted to know what fantastic features it had. Maybe the camera also worked as an optical scanner to read in phone numbers and text. Maybe its GPS could automatically sense locations and situations where it should switch to silent. Maybe it could fight crime while I slept, flying back when I got a call.
The pages were laid out exactly as I wanted; each had a different feature to show off. Instant messaging? I believe I can also phone them with this. MP3 player? Don’t have one because I don’t need it. Internet browser? Thank goodness I have a computer. Send video, picture, and sound messages? I don’t even send text messages. The camera swivels around? I guess I can satisfy my narcissistic urges now.
Well, it’s not all bad. The contact list is slightly more intuitively designed. The font is cute. And I can flip open my phone and look cool doing it.
It would be unfair to say that it isn’t a better phone. I don’t know if the sound quality is better, or if it gets better reception yet. Maybe it has great in-call features. But the trend to improve it is to make it more than just a phone. It’s also an MP3 player, camera, camcorder, and web browser.
Technology seems to be chasing me. I can’t tell if my next act of insanity will become an internet sensation, if a phone gets a good video clip. Software and devices beg me to check my email more frequently. I can’t get away from constant influx of forwarded emails. And we’re constantly connected. I can think of eight ways I contact my friends if I need them.
But I can’t fight it. I love certain aspects. The internet now links me to an array of news sources and knowledge databases for me to explore. If I don’t know something, I know where I can find out almost instantly. I can put my writing in a blog for everyone to read and consider.
We have many choices today for how to do things, because everything is always at hand. We’re never limited by not having access. Paradoxically, we have fewer choices, because we can’t choose to not have them. I wish my phone would just be a phone.

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