Fifty Shades of Hand-Held Device Envy

Apr 26, 2014 | 2 comments

Two Hands Busy

OMG!  Two Hands Busy?

Everywhere I go these days, someone is focusing full attention on one or another kind of hand-held device.  They tap and swipe and do the pinch-and-spread finger motion, totally oblivious of their surroundings.  Too, we have friends and loved ones who are on the techno-edge, device-wise.  They arrive at our house with the latest and greatest in new-fangled equipment and wow us with what it can do, what they can do, what we can learn, how fast we can be at one with the world.  There are Kindles and i-pads and notebooks and tablets.  They get smaller and smaller and do more and more.

We know that it is all very twenty-first century and, on the one hand, have felt compelled to be a part of the gang.  We even treated ourselves to i-phones a few years back with the idea of staying in touch with my mother’s caregivers even when we were on the road.

Now What Again

Tap? Swipe? Whaaat?

It seemed ridiculous to pay for the spiffy AT&T phone service while continuing to have a land line, so we dropped our long-distance capabilities.  In retrospect, it should have been absolutely predictable that AT&T coverage from Oysterville would go from “iffy” to “not at all” at about the same time.

The sequence that followed was something like 1)get rid of the i-phones; 2)go back to long-distance on our land line; decide to try a Verizon phone device – with which we are tentatively satisfied but we’re not totally committed, as in we share one device and we’re hanging on to our land line long distance.

And then… on a recent trip to Seattle I succumbed to yet another device.  I’m not sure if it’s a tablet or a notebook or what Dell is calling it but, presumably, it is “fully loaded” and “does everything.”  Even though I have a laptop that I adore, I was wooed by this device’s ‘extreme portability’ – it’ll fit into my purse (and never mind that I have trouble reading some of the teeny-tiny print when it’s in certain functions or apps or whatever they call them.)  I naively thought (and the salesperson assured me) that I could travel and post my daily blog without missing a beat.

Tethered for Recharging (1)

Tethered for Recharging

I should have had a premonition about the learning curve when I was told that I would get twenty free lessons at my nearby Microsoft store.  (For us, “nearby” in this case is Portland or Seattle and getting there and back would eat up a day and a tank of gas, to say nothing of the extreme opportunity for personal memory loss on the way back home.) “Oh,” said my friends, “don’t worry about the lessons; just fool around with it.  Experiment.  You’ll get the hang of it in no time.”

So it is that I’ve been closeted with my device for days and days.  Sometimes I actually figure out how to do something and can even repeat the process.  Mostly, though, it’s hit, miss, and forget.  Plus the print doesn’t always get bigger and I wonder if eventually I’ll go blind.

And what have I learned so far?  I’ve learned that Device Envy is probably better than Device Addiction and I feel pretty sure that I will not be one of those folks making a spectacle of myself in public.  I’m also moderately sure that I’ll be keeping my device in my purse except in the privacy of my own home.  For one thing, I don’t want to risk feeling compelled to latch on to the nearest twelve-year-old for advice.  Seems unseemly.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    My leg up when I got my “smart phone” was having Linda along with me. A nine year old can go a long ways toward teaching you the ins and outs of technology. Your friends were right. Fooling around with it is probably better than spending a whole day going to Portland or Seattle unless you’ve another reason to go. I KNOW my phone and laptop have all sorts of capabilities I don’t know about yet and my student keeps telling me to bring the laptop to school so he can show me. I’m quite proud of myself because the other day I fiddled around and erased all but one game that Gabriel had downloaded! Yay, Grammy!

  2. sandra stonebreaker

    I totally relate with your various issues concerning computers and “mobile” devices.
    Mostly, I have conquered the desktop..until each time I have to get a new one.
    I had a “flip” phone for years but knew I needed an I-Phone. Bad decision! I can make calls, after an effort text and that is pretty much it. Like you I have almost no service at my house so “playing” with it means going elsewhere and sitting in the car. As soon as the contract runs out I shall go back to a more simple phone.
    And, yes, I envy the I-Pads, Nooks, etc.etc. which is the reason I ended up with the I-Phone.


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