This year on the major agricultural survey I'm doing, there's a unique question asking farmers if they have a smartphone or a Blackberry. It's interesting to find out who answers yes or no, and so far, about 16 out of 20 I have asked have said yes.
I'll never have one. I won't buy one. If you buy me one for Christmas I'll say thank you and see if I can turn it in at Best Buy and instead get Mrs H the next season of I Dream of Jeannie as an exchange.
This could easily turn into one of my standard rants about how such technology affects the brain, so let me turn it right away to something of related nature. It's not just the brain effects that are the problem. Nor is it just that people end up driving and texting and end up in accidents. There's also a certain degree of social rudeness that comes of such devices. We all know some examples of this: The jerk who doesn't turn off his phone in the movie theater, or who keeps talking loudly on it in public.
But there's also the sort of thing that happened today as I was leaving a certain business. In the parking lot, I was parked next to a fellow who had just come out before me, busily texting away on his iPhone. As he plugged away at whatever earth-shaking message he was working on, he was (with a certain limited awareness) opening his own vehicle door. In the process, he blocked my access to my own drivers-side door.
I could have said "excuse me" or some such, but I was curious, so I just waited at the back end of my car, waiting to see how long it would take for this doofus to look up from his texting and notice he was keeping someone waiting. It was an interesting test of the degree of obliviousness these things can cause.
As it happened, it took about 15 seconds before he looked up, saw me standing there, and quickly apologized. Then he got into his vehicle and continued texting as he started his vehicle. Finally, he (thankfully) put the device aside and drove away.
I don't want to become like that. Not that I'm saying the purchase of an iPhone makes you more apt to become rude and devoid of concentration, of course. And I'm such an introvert that I'd never be so enamored of texting that I'd be having long conversations with people on it.
Furthermore, there's no one for me to text TO anyway. Mrs H still works in the prison system here, and they're not permitted to have personal electronic devices inside. Just as well, I'd rather just call her there for a chat anyway. But regardless of whether I would have a use for such a device -- I still wouldn't want one. (Full disclosure: We did purchase a cell phone for our New England trip a couple of years back -- one you could just buy 30 minutes for and dispose of in a drawer until you needed it again. It had but two purposes: 1) Use in case of an emergency. 2) Contacting the gentleman who was watching Cocoa for us. We used it again for another trip some months ago. Since then it has resided in a drawer. The end.)
Though it's obviously not as serious as killing someone with your car because you were too busy with WILL U BE MY BFF, the doofus who kept me waiting today is just another example of how we're serving technology rather than the other way around. And I won't be a servant to my technology.
Maybe for Christmas you can get me season one of Daniel Boone instead.