Is it just me or is your cell phone creeping you out also? Don’t get me wrong. I would never get rid of it. It’s funny to think about the first arguments years ago with my ex about getting a cell phone. As a child of the 60’s it seemed inconceivable to me that a home phone and an answering machine wasn’t high tech enough. The only “cell phone” I had ever had was when I was in the Navy and we were required to carry a 30-pound suitcase with a phone attached when transporting all Top Secret messages on base. Growing up, our home had 1 phone, with an amazingly long cord that would allow me to stretch all the way into my room, so I could lay down on my bed while talking to my friends. Perfect!
When my family moved to Kansas in the 90’s I became fast friends with my husband’s childhood friend, Val. It is mind-boggling to think about all the hours spent talking with her on the phone, when I should have been cleaning the house – or some other constructive activity. Our lives were so much more productive when we were introduced to the cordless home phone. We carried our conversations to every room of the house. There were drawbacks. We were sure that anyone could listen in to our private calls if they wanted to. We had both experienced the crazy phenomenon of hearing another family through our baby monitors.
Needless to say, I relented and gave in to owning my own cell phone. Clearly, I had no idea that this extravagance would turn into an item that is always right in my hand, every waking hour of the day. I rely on it to navigate my work day in the car and link me to my children whenever I just want to hear their voices. But, let me get back to that creepy, “Big Brother” aspect of this necessary luxury. It is tracking our every move. Advertisements for stores that I like find me on Facebook. “Suggestions” appear out of the blue, that are tailored to me. I understand that “Siri” is just a click away, but I can’t be the only one who questions these new home assistant products like Google Home that are prepared to answer any question, as long as we begin our questioning with “her” name. I can’t help but think that “Alexa” might be hearing everything that happens in our homes.
The other evening I suggested that my daughter meet me for dinner at IHOP, to have there never ending pancakes. I knew where the closest IHOP was, so I did not need to ask my phone for driving instructions. It was also a really inexpensive supper, which I paid for in cash. So, as I was driving home, why did my phone send me a message asking me to rate my IHOP experience.