A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
I have a history of being something of a contrarian. I was one of the last of my friends to get a cell phone, clinging to my incredibly misguided conviction that they “would never catch on.” Then I was the last to get a phone that had capabilities beyond text messaging. I continue to adamantly refuse to read The Da Vinci Code in spite of hearty endorsements followed by increasingly heated admonishments from friends. In all of these cases, my holding out seemed to inspire genuine aggravation in others, and the more they assaulted me with threats of “missing out,” the less I wanted to join them.
Currently, I am refusing to switch over to an iPhone or an iPad or an Android or whatever else they’ve got out there now. Almost everyone I know is already a convert. I lose BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) buddies by the dozens these days. All my friends are playing online Scrabble and using terms I don’t understand like “FaceTime.” When someone poses a random question (“Does anyone know how many days it would take to walk from here to the Yukon?”), everyone whips out their shiny, slim devices and has the answer in a flash while my poor little phone grunts and strains to load up Google. It’s slightly tempting, I’ll admit. But this time, I’m really going to stick to my guns. First of all, I am about as adept with a touch screen as my grandmother would be. Things go terribly, terribly wrong when I attempt to use one. The last time I borrowed my husband’s Android phone when my phone was dead, I dropped the call I was on three times and accidentally dialed my mother-in-law while reconnecting. I type like I’ve just switched over from a Cyrillic system. I lose my windows, press wrong buttons, and just generally spend an embarrassing amount of time being paralyzingly confused. I know, I know, “you get used to it.” Trust me, I won’t.
But there’s one real reason why I can’t ever allow myself 24-hour access to a touch screen device, and that isn’t it. It all comes down to two words: Angry Birds. Even without my own means of playing, it’s already beginning to ruin my life. I was introduced to it on my husband’s phone, and I was not immediately hooked. My attention span was limited. I’ve never been drawn to video games of any kind, perhaps also due to the digital dexterity problems which touch screens present to me. But little by little, I started to get the urge to play more often. And the more I played, the better I got at flinging those nasty little birds at those smug bastard pig monster thingies. So the better I got, the longer I played. Now I’ve gotten to the point where I am draining my husband’s battery on a regular basis and am playing well past the point of utter misery all because I don’t understand how a red guy and two blue guys can possibly kill eight pigs and they keep teetering on the edge without actually falling, and they just won’t die WHY WON’T YOU DIE! FALL, DAMN IT! EXPLODE!
I receive almost no pleasure from playing anymore, but my fingers itch when I see the phone lying unattended. I put it down only to pick it back up three seconds later to give that last board one more try. I see enraged cartoon fowl flying around erratically when I close my eyes, like some Looney Toons character who has been conked on the head with an oversized mallet. They must be stopped. I must be stopped.
Anyway, it seems as though we’re all about to lose our jobs and our cash. Soon everyone will be selling their i-stuff for parts and using the bits they can’t sell to rig up makeshift, rudimentary robotic pets to keep them company through the long, hard winter of the Apocalypse. Our iPodpeople will prove to be invaluable in combating loneliness and boredom. We’ll program them to dance and play clapping games when there’s nothing to do but sit around the campfire and stare at each other, eating ketchup soup and silently ruing the day the Republicans and the Democrats officially threw up their hands.
And when that day comes, I still won’t read The Da Vinci Code.
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