iHeart iPhones

3-2181-iphone 5c pink back.png-Basic-size-300x400Every month or so I get the bill for my iPhone (i.e., for the data that I use when I am using my iPhone). It comes via an email from my dad, who kindly and justly divides and controls our family phone plan. He’s very dad-like that way. I look at the bill and sometimes it is larger than my monthly utilities (especially in the summer months when there is no need for heat or AC in my part of the world). Sometimes it is twice the cost of the wifi that connects my little Oakland apartment to the great big world through the magic of the Internet. Sometimes it is three times the amount I spend on coffee in a month (I drink a lot of coffee). Sometimes I think that maybe I don’t need my iPhone all that much. Maybe I should give it up for a while, be more stringent with my money, rely only on my laptop. Sometimes I begin to blame the iPhone for being a “time sucker” rather than blaming myself for being a “time waster.” Sometimes I think it was all a mistake.

But then I think of all that my iPhone has allowed me to do. Of all that it has made possible in the ten months that I’ve owned it. As someone who was previously pretty opposed to technology, showing not just hesitation but sheer aversion to things that I didn’t understand, it is good (albeit humbling) to remember why I converted. To realize the versatility of technology’s tools. To embrace much of what they make possible.

On that note, I give you the following list of Reasons why I Love my iPhone.

It allows me to:
1. Take my calendar with me EVERYWHERE
2. Add or alter my calendar at ANY TIME
3. Call my parents who live many miles away and miss me very much
4. FaceTime with my mother (most recently because there was a stain on an article of clothing and I didn’t know how to treat it and she needed to see it in order to help me)
5. Instantly send a photo to a friend in Kansas City when I am visiting the beach in California and thinking of her
6. Capture moments on the miniature golf course with my sister and her then-fiancé-now-husband
7. Watch a video of my two-year-old nephew mowing the lawn with his toy mower while my brother mows it with a real one
8. Record interviews for newspaper articles that capture the uniquely human lives of everyday people
9. Locate the nearest coffee shop ANYWHERE ANYTIME
10. NAVIGATE (Seriously, you have no idea how valuable this is. None.)
11. Shine a light under my garbage disposal when the motor is stuck and I’m trying to fix it with a hex tool
12. Google “hex tool” when I don’t know what one is and I am trying to find it in my plastic bin of “miscellaneous items”
13. Instant message with the man who is giving me instructions on how to use the hex tool to fix my disposal
14. Post my success to Facebook once I have gloriously fixed the garbage disposal
15. Find show times when a friend and I decide to see a movie at the last minute
16. Locate the nearest Whole Foods when I am hungry or bored or just want to look at beautiful produce
17. Look up addresses that were sent via e-mail
18. Find and share contact information
19. Scribble down the musings and inspirations that come at inconvenient times when there are no pens and no notebooks and no way of being sure that such things would make it back to my desk anyhow
20. Read long-form journalism from the elliptical machine
21. Play games with friends who are halfway across the country while I am waiting in line to pay for my groceries
22. Watch familiar sitcoms when I am curled in a ball on the floor of an airport wishing I were anywhere that felt more like home
23. Figure out public transportation times and schedules (So confusing. So very confusing)
24. Check the weather each morning, in seven different locations
25. Translate to and from English to French or Spanish
26. Find synonyms (Seriously. Writers need synonyms)
27.  Scan news headlines and save links to full-length articles
28. Keep a running list of “Books I Should Read”
29. Keep a running list of “Songs I Should Buy”
30. Keep a running list of “Blogs I Should Post”
31. Keep a running list of “Essays I Should Write”
32. Take my “To Do” list everywhere
33. Listen to 80s Dance Music at the gym
34. Listen to Indie Folk while walking along the beach
35. Listen to Ira Glass while walking around the lake
36. Listen to podcasts while driving in my car
37. Find recipes and substitutions for anything anytime
38. Set a timer for teenagers who are participating in Urban immersion activities that will change their worldview
39. Set “reminders” to pray and write and think and breathe
40. Tell time
41. Access instant coupons at Safeway (No clipping, no thinking. Sometimes no planning. Just immediate access to discounts)
42. Text with a friend halfway across the country while I am painting my toenails, watching a movie and feeling just a little less alone in the world
43. Access my daily Bible readings on the same screen where I access everything else that keeps me from them
44. Bring my blog along with me anywhere any time and read it to a friend who gives me honest feedback every time
45. Get a cab of some variety or another without calling a phone number or paying too much
46. Instantly calculate tax and tip
47. Play the sound of the ocean when my upstairs neighbors decide to vacuum after midnight
48. Discover new music I would never come across on my own
49. Look up conversations and re-read discussions

I write all of this knowing that my iPhone is capable of so much more, that in the hands of another person it could be used in completely different ways to do a thousand different things that I didn’t even know it could. That amazes me. What also amazes me is how well this little gadget helps me to do the one thing I want more than anything to do, the very thing that I once accused it of inhibiting–forming connections. Linking minds to ideas and need to abundance, people to people and heart to heart. All of this makes me rather grateful for those little monthly invoices. It almost makes me think I’m not paying enough. Almost.

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