A new kind of relationship dynamic may be coming soon to a Smart phone near you: e-divorce. But it’s not about getting a divorce online; it’s about having to get a divorce because you’re online—constantly checking e-mails, sending texts, updating your Facebook account—and, in the process, losing any kind of meaningful connection with your partner. You don’t even have to be married or in a relationship to suffer from this pervasive affliction; you can just as easily find yourself divorced from the life you used to live, distanced from friends and spending most of your free time on the endlessly seductive Internet.
Not to worry. There are lots of advantages to being e-single—free to be electronically connected at all times, without any annoying interruptions or recriminations from actual living, breathing humans:
• endless time to chat/text/e-mail, guilt-free;
• having your Smart phone beside you always, so you miss nothing in your non-stop electronic world—at dinners/birthday parties, in meetings, at family reunions, on your pillow, in the bathroom…
• the freedom to share your priceless wisdom, 140 characters at a time, umpteen times a day;
• having hundreds of online ‘friends’, even if you don’t know who the heck they are;
• lots of online games to play and movies to watch when you’re feeling bored/lonely; and
• time to attend webinars telling you how to create the perfect relationship.
Of course, there are a few possible downsides, too:
• A love affair with your electronic devices tends to be less fulfilling and ‘hands on’ than the human version.
• The only cure for e-onitis [e-on-itis] (being electronically on all the time) is sustained human contact, which can be a scary prospect, for some, as you run the risk of being rejected, laughed at or criticized—something your Smart phone would never do to you.
• Your DNA is being re-arranged, even as you read this on your Smart phone—but, hey, who’s to say that’s a bad thing…
• Your sexual organs are being irradiated by the Smart phone in your pocket, although that won’t matter if you’re not in a relationship with a loving human being who might want to have sex with you. (Carrying your Smart phone in the back pocket of your jeans, on the other hand, makes you a genuine Smartass.)
• If you’re a guy who carries his phone in his breast pocket, your heart is getting some tough competition from the signals and impulses being transmitted by your phone; with time, though, a remote pacemaker app will surely be developed so, again, no biggie.
• Use of cell phones is known to cause tumours that grow on the auditory nerve, often causing permanent/total hearing loss—although that may not matter either, since you can still text/e-mail without your hearing.
• Those tumours also affect your balance, but you can text/e-mail lying down, if it comes to that.
• You’re likely to miss out on the beauty around you—nature, spring blossoms, changing skyline, sunsets, the chattering of a child beside you who’s hungry for your attention, a wave from a passing friend, a moment of tender connection, or maybe a meaningful look from that nice guy/girl who just passed you on the street, wishing for a relationship with some nice girl/guy…
It makes you wonder how we managed, pre-EC (electronic connectivity). Life was certainly a lot messier, back then. If you wanted to end a relationship, for example, you often had to do the dreaded face-to-face thing. Now, you can just text someone bye-bye or block their messages/calls, without getting caught up in all that unpleasant emotional stuff.
People also wrote each other letters with, like, full sentences and good grammar an’ stuff—to impress people. Now, you can impress them with all your e-gadgets and social media smarts, so who cares if you don’t know how to spell. They had to do a lot of stuff unaided, then, too—such as shopping without being able to call home to see if there were any eggs left in the fridge or whether to buy white bread or brown. In fact, they sometimes had to go for hours at a time without calling or checking in with anyone.
Fewer appy people = more happy people?
Are you appy? Francophones might not get the subtlety of that, if they’re not very appy, although we know that appiness begins—or ends—with you. But would you trade appiness for happiness (the more heartfelt, human kind)? Of course not, which is what makes these phones so ‘smart’. They seduce, captivate and e-addict, luring us into multi-tasking, which is proven to reduce memory and productivity (although you won’t remember that, next time you’re struggling to get things done).
You can see where things are heading, can’t you? These savvy little smart-partners are progressively taking over your brain. They’ll soon be reduced down to a tiny programmable, remotely controlled chip that you can insert into your ear and it will take control of your life. It will tell you when to get up; it will put you to sleep at a pre-programmed time; it will keep your heart beating, even if you eat junk food and take drugs; it will whisper an intuitive answer to any important questions you might have (such as: Should I wear these red socks with my white jeans?); it will tell you what smart things to say to get someone’s money; it will get you turned on, playing sexy images on a tiny screen inside your head, so it won’t matter if you actually have a human partner or not; it will download French, Italian or whatever other language you might need while on holiday, simultaneously translating what’s being said and telling you how to respond; and, if you’re feeling isolated, it will trigger the release of feel-good hormones to make you feel happy—even if you’re not. Hey, what’s not to like?
It’s the e-bod of the future—sophisticated technology that removes all the pressure of figuring out how to be a functional, decent, successful human being. And if you’re a bit of a shady character, wanting to make money in nefarious ways, you could always purchase the black-market gangster version—the e-bad—which will coach you in lock-picking, code-breaking, manipulation and lots of other creative ways of getting what you want.
The only thing this nifty technology might not be able to do is give you a nice big bear hug, hold your hand when you’re upset, or cuddle you in bed on a cold winter’s night. With time, though, those minor details will surely be addressed by some enterprising, human-centric electronics company committed to ensuring that your life is as phoney as possible.
In the meantime, I hope you and your phone will be very appy together.