After three years of keeping close company with my iPhone 4, I traded it in for an iPhone 5S in August. Despite the obvious benefits of my upgrade, it was not easy to let go of my old BFF iPhone 4. After all, other than charging it overnight, it was my constant companion. Whenever I misplaced it, panic set in. Good Lord! How could I go on without it? However, I have to confess that it did not take long to develop a close bond with my iPhone 5S. It likes me and I like it, especially when my new phone talks to me. It’s so nice to have somebody, anybody, ask me several times a day, “What can I help you with?” My grammar-obsessed Grandma would be horrified by that question. NEVER end a sentence with a preposition! The proper grammar is “With what can I help you?” But really, who cares? Proper grammar is a dinosaur. All that is required now is that recipients can decipher our abbreviated text messages. But I digress: the point is that the bells and whistles of my new phone and the fact that the soul of my iPhone 4 was downloaded to my new iPhone 5S quickly enabled me to say gently to my old BFF iPhone 4, “Rest in peace.”
Now, however, Apple has done a number on me. Last week, they released the new, exciting, advanced, “you-can’t-live-without-it” iPhone 6. All of this is very enticing. I am tempted to go stand in line at the Apple store, listen to my new, free U2 album in iTunes and trade in my iPhone 5s for an iPhone 6, EXCEPT THAT I CAN’T! It’s one thing to trade in a three-year-old iPhone for a new one. That’s kind of like a benevolent retirement, as if my old cell phone was eligible for Social Security and Medicare. But to turn in my faithful iPhone 5S after only a three-month relationship is like cheating on your partner. I cannot in good conscience perpetrate such infidelity. After all, my iPhone 5S has been completely faithful to me. I simply cannot dump it, especially since it asks me every day, “What can I help you with?” I cannot and will not be unfaithful to my new BFF. Not yet anyway.
On a more serious note, I walked into a Pizza/Mexican restaurant for lunch last week. It’s a good place to get a reasonably priced lunch with uncommonly good food. It attracts a large clientele for lunch, especially during the summer, since it is only a few blocks from a Cape Cod beach. It also appeals to the disappearing middle class that work in the trades, landscaping, or on a Geek Squad. When I walked in for lunch last week, the place was packed, but it was also dead quiet. Everybody had their heads down, staring at their mobile devices and doing whatever important, “can’t-wait-until-later” stuff was crucial to maintaining civilization as we know it. The only time anybody looked up was to order their food or to pay their bill. I suspect that it will not be long before we can get rid of the distracting waitstaff and just text our taco order directly to the cooks and our debit card payment to a “non-person” cashier who will thank us in a generic manufactured voice for our payment, just like my new BFF iPhone asks me, “What can I help you with?”
Call me old school, out-of-date, too-old-to-understand or simply nostalgic for the old days when we went out to lunch to connect with friends, tell some jokes or stories, listen to someone who needed a friendly ear or pass on just a little gossip. Why can’t, at least once awhile, a friend or even somebody I work with call me on my iPhone 5S so I can hear their voice? When my family, friends and co-workers call me, I can tell from the sound of their voice how they really are and I can ask them, “What can I help you with?” Isn’t that better than a manufactured voice asking me that question? Text messages and emails are devoid of emotion and I think we need more emotion, more passion and a lot more connecting “ear-to-ear” and “face-to-face.”
I may be technologically challenged, but one thing I do know is that connecting to our Higher Power, or spiritually relating to the Divine, is most likely not going to happen via a text message. Since God is God and I am not, I cannot rule out that a Divine connection can be made iPhone to iPhone. But the Divine Power in our universe does not often miraculously appear to us and ask, “What can I help you with?” More often than not, we connect with God because somebody embodies God’s love for us and becomes the conduit through which God’s grace, hope and shalom is given to us.
FYI: I’m neither giving up my iPhone 5S nor am I going to cheat on it by succumbing to the flirtation of an iPhone 6 (LOL!). I will still connect with people near and far by every means available. Better to connect by text, than not to connect at all! Nevertheless, I refuse to give up connecting with people ear-to-ear and face-to-face, for it is in this connection that I sense the presence of my Higher Power and catch a whiff of the Divine. So…I really hope to talk 2 U ASAP. I really hope to C U soon!