Did You Get an iPhone for Christmas?

Guest columnist and Venetia resident Faye Kennedy tells us about her experience as a novice iPhone user—and shares what the technology can't replace.

By Faye Kennedy

A lot of people did get an iPhone no doubt, and right now they are all busily tapping, swiping, calling, texting, clicking, viewing and downloading apps to the exclusion of all other earthly stimuli in the form of family, friends, the great outdoors and just about everything else we all did before its debut.

I never wanted an iPhone. I was perfectly content with my cheapo cell phone with its $19 subscription plan that slept in my car and was designated for emergency uses only. The only person who knew my cell phone number was my husband. I used it so rarely that when he did call me, I was so flummexed to hear it ringing, I nearly forgot I was driving a car in my startled reflex to answer it.

Nevertheless, after having his iPhone for as long as they have been out there, my husband—over of all things electronic, embracer of technology and early adopter of all things Mac–bought me one for my birthday this year. When I saw it, I was immediately frowning at my expensive gift over the costly monthly subscription plan I knew came with it. Oh, he thought of that and jumped right in to say he would pay for it "'cause I was gonna love this phone!" he boomed and beamed.

I've had it for about six months now, have not downloaded any music on it, and still have been very stingy about giving my number out because I'm most always available by regular phone and email. I'm quite the klutz with it, inexperienced novice that I am.

My husband will snatch it from my hands when I'm fumbling and off he flies with the touch of a skilled surgeon and the interpretation skills of an archaeologist reading hieroglyphics, he attempts to "show" me how to do what I was trying to do in a magical, myriad of moves that I believe only comes from hours of intense practice and probably a personal trainer.  

But it does have its charms. I have snapped a few clumsy, blurry photos of my dogs on our walks. Two dogs on leash in motion and I'm trying to shoot a photo of them with my phone. Yeah, that's easy.

I have checked my business email a few times while out of the office, which means I am not as worried about missing something important. And I've texted a few people when I learned that this was the only form of communication in which they will participate. I have had to divide my friends into distinct groups based on what form of communication they accept and respond to—phone calls, emails and texts—and am trying to commit this to memory since very few of them are willing to cross these hard-drawn lines.

Don't get me wrong. I do understand what a marvel this device truly is. But the more I know about it, the more convinced I am that the iPhone was designed BY boys FOR boys. After all, a lot of women's clothes don't have pockets. I refuse to reduce myself to a lifetime of jeans just to carry a phone. Must I really buy new clothes so that I can thrust this hard, glossy rectangle into some flap of fabric afterthought, creating one more artificial, but self-inflicted, unsightly bulge for pride of ownership?

Beyond the wardrobe reconsideration, it is my used-to-be-long-pretty, now-chipped-and-filed fingernails that have come between me and my phone, a clear indication that the guys who came up with this brilliant "touch screen" idea never considered how they might bring the manicure business to a universal end.

Say what you will, the iPhone almost replaces the wallet but it will never replace the purse. Yes, you can swipe it instead of your credit card, use it as a GPS and I hear it can even start some cars. For the guys, it is nirvana—obviating the need to wear a watch or carry money, keys, a notebook, pen, tape recorder or camera. It's entertainment, information, directions, connections, and porn in a man’s pocket. But it can't give you a stick of gum or a breath mint (when you need it). You can't blow your nose in an iPhone. It does not hold aspirin, a nail file or a tampon. 

I admit I am getting some kicks out of my iPhone, but it is never going to hold the same place in my heart that it does for a guy...until it can hold a lipstick.

Hope you all had a great holiday and got everything you wished for.


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