Thursday, May 15, 2014

Listen to the sound of silence. (Paul Simon)

A while back my smartphone went insane.

It was an android phone that I got because it was cheap and waterproof. (Waterproof is really a handy feature when you ride a bike in Miami during the summer rainy season.) It was just a basic smartphone. No bling. Nothing special.

Until it started talking.

This wasn't like Siri or that kind of talking. This was Smartphone For The Blind. It read aloud my messages and emails.  If I touched the clock icon, it told me the time. (Inexplicably, it was western mountain time rather than Miami's eastern time.) It made constant announcements about battery status. If I touched any icon, it named the icon out loud. It spoke every action it was taking ("dialing", "shutting down", "keyboard open", "sending message"). Using apps was a whole new experience.

And there was no way to make it stop. (Believe me, we tried everything.)

I knew I had to replace the phone. But I didn't for a good while. I realized I had become secretly attached to its craziness. The phone was embarrassing at times, to be sure. I frequently had to switch it off or plug in my headset. (Just for fun, try to imagine the most embarrassing thing your phone could say out loud in public.)

This week I got a new phone. It doesn't talk except when it should. It does what it should in its boring but efficient smartphone way. Life is not so noisy or so exciting.

I'm missing that crazy phone already.