A Whole New World

The other day I was watching The Today Show while getting ready for work and one of the anchors mentioned that Apple is thinking about changing the voicemail system of the iPhone. Under the potential new system, the message would be transcribed and delivered via text message so that rather than listen to it, a recipient of a voice message would read it. I’m stating for the record that I’m opposed to this change and if it comes to fruition, I hope it’s something the customer can opt out of in favor of the “old school” way.

Although I would be fine with reading messages from restaurants/doctors calling to confirm a reservation/appointment etc., I like hearing the actual voices of the people close to my heart. Call me morbid (others do), but I save at least one voicemail from everyone I love because if God forbid something happens to them, I want to have their voices preserved. I save almost every single one of my mother’s messages and nearly had a nervous breakdown when my company switched phone systems because it meant I would lose the messages of my late best friend Alan. (Thankfully, I figured out a way to save them and therefore the sound of his voice). And also, what if someone is calling to deliver wonderful news—“I got engaged!”? Or on the flip side, bad news—“so and so is at the hospital.” Some messages should not be read!! A text does not replace the sound of someone’s voice and while sometimes it’s preferable that way, sometimes it’s not.

Anyway, the entire segment got me thinking about how reliant our society has become on reading things on our phone. I’m guilty of it myself, although I try very hard to keep my addiction in check. I got on the elevator this morning and the three people inside had their eyes glued to their phones and didn’t register my entrance. In fact, every single person who entered the elevator after me walked in while staring at her phone. And it disgusted me that at seven in the morning, these people were already wired in. What bothered me more was that my own phone was in my hand rather than in my purse because I had every intention of checking email/social media in the elevator and on my way to work too. I threw the phone in my purse and vowed not to look at it during my fifteen minute walk to work, even when I was stuck at a traffic light. I managed, but it took some effort and it really bothered me that I had difficulty going less than a half hour without checking my phone. I have to keep my phone in a different room at night while I’m watching television or else I will be tempted to check things every few minutes. I don’t even know to what “things” I’m referring, but one glance at my phone inevitably turns into my eyes glazing over and my mouth going slack as I get lost in the world of Facebook or Twitter and I’m not okay with it.

I also admit to being less than thrilled that many of my friends keep their phones out and check/respond to (non-urgent) messages when we’re out. I tend to follow the lead of whoever I’m with. I have some friends who are less attached to their phones and when I’m out with those people, I keep my phone in my purse and check it only when I go to the bathroom. But when I’m around other friends and their noses are deep in their phones, I find myself reaching for my phone too because “when in Rome.” My preference is to focus on the people I’m with when I’m with them and catch up with anyone who texted/emailed me during that time later. But as I look around, I’m clearly in the minority. I get peeking at your phone every so often, especially if you’re expecting a message, but is it really necessary to keep it out? For me, the answer is no. And what I find interesting is that it’s still (as far as I know) uncool to keep your phone out when on a date, so basically we are showing virtual strangers more consideration than we share our friends/family. I don’t hold it against my friends/family members. They are wonderful people who aren’t doing anything “wrong.” I just think most of us are  so accustomed to it that it’s not considered unusual when around familiar people; it’s just what we do now.

I am a Generation Xer. My generation is old enough to remember what the world was like without text messages and constant access to the Internet/social media but young enough to fully embrace and utilize these advances in technology. There are so many things I love about the modern world and, yes, the ability to text message and obtain answers to virtually everything through Google is amazing. I love binge-watching television and streaming my favorite shows. And I credit almost all of my book sales to the invention of the e-book. That being said, there’s a part of me who misses the way it used to be: When kids played outside instead of on their phones; when I had to wait to see if someone left me a message on my answering machine; when couples/friends/family focused on each other instead of whoever was texting their phones; when folks acknowledged each other in the elevator; when people didn’t walk into me on the street because they were too engrossed in their phones to watch where they were going; when single people couldn’t simply “swipe” their interest in someone based on a photo and had to actually put in some effort; and where there was accountability for blowing someone off and expectations of being treated like a human being by a potential partner. I’m afraid this world is just a bit too modern for my liking.

Unfortunately, technology is not going anywhere, I haven’t figured out how to time travel, and I cannot control/change the behavior of others. The best I can do is try to hold onto a little bit of the “old” me in this “new” world and remain true to myself. I try. It takes a great deal of effort since it’s easier to simply join the masses and things are just so convenient, but I don’t need to embrace every single one of these “conveniences” 100% of the time if I’m not comfortable with it.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-aug-2015

gonna have to face it, you’re addicted…

I currently have several windows open on my computer.  While working in Outlook, I can easily click to Pandora Radio if the co-workers behind me get chatty and I need to drown out the sounds of their giggling.  If I see that I’ve received a new email in my Hotmail account, I can quickly click to see who it’s from.  Since I am constantly making changes to my trademark docketing system, I have the system open for ease of access. 

Just a few moments ago, I also had my Twitter account open, but the number of new tweets being sent by the people I followed continued to tally at a crazy fast speed and I realized I was becoming compulsive about reading each new tweet as it arrived. Not only was I obsessed with reading the tweets of others, but my brain was busy churning out new tweets for me to send – some to promote my book, others to support other authors I follow and whose books I’ve read and enjoyed, others to thank people for following me and others to simply express myself creatively in 140 characters or less.  I found my mouth open in awe at the number of creative tweets sent by my fellow authors, the multitude of conversations being carried on between various twitters, the links attached to tweets advising of new reviews, guest posts etc.  And all I could think about was that I couldn’t possibly keep up.  Not if I wanted to keep my day job, maintain a social life, burn the highly caloric meals I consume every day, keep up on my favorite television shows and, last but not least, write another book.  But I could probably keep my eyes fixed to my Twitter page 24/seven with little effort.  No lie! I can almost feel my eyes glossing over from reading one tweet after another. It’s so damn addictive and I, Meredith Gail Schorr, fear I am on the road to Twitter addiction.  I’m a very addictive person, thankfully not to drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, shopping, overeating or any of the other ____’s anonymous for which meetings are held.  I *dabble* in some, but am not addicted!  But here are some of the things to which I am addicted:

Sushi – My name is Meredith and I am a sush-aholic.  If I go more than a week without it, I get the shakes.   

Hats – they are just so cute and I feel like Mary Tyler Moore whenever I wear one. I buy them.  Often.

Playing with my hair – I can’t stop.  Ask my mom.  Ask my boss.  Ask anyone who has spent significant amounts of time with me. 

Wondering if my ass is too big for the rest of my body.  I’ve been told it’s kind of nice but I think it’s just kind of big. 

Reading chick-lit books.  It would be nice to expand my horizons into another genre, for instance, mystery, crime, romance, literary fiction, graphic novels, erotica.  But each time I go for my Kindle, yup, chick-lit. 

Drinking – oops, didn’t I mention above that I was not addicted to alcohol?  Oops.

Men – You penis-bearing people consume my every thought.  I hate you.  I love you!  I hate you.  I love you.

Television – To those of you who limit the amount of television you watch to one hour a day, why??

Exercise – Like sushi, if I go more than a week without it, I get the shakes.  Except substitute a “week” with a day.

Sleep – I keep hearing from my fellow authors that they get up extra early in the morning to write.  Or they go to sleep super late to write.  No can do.

Music – Everything is better with music.

Between sleeping, wondering if my ass is too big while exercising with my iPod, watching television, eating sushi (with a beer), reading chick-lit books and men, it might explain why it takes me at least a year to write the first draft of a novel!   

I’m off to battle another addiction.  Guess which one.  And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @meredithschorr 🙂