One of my most treasured Hanukkah presents as a young girl was my very own princess phone. Imagine that; a simple pink phone with a rotary dial and I was in heaven.
It wasn't even my own private number, but the same one shared by the entire family. It had a long extension cord so that I was able to move around my room, but that was as far as I could go with it. Not into the kitchen. Not into the backyard. Not into my car. And certainly not to the mall.
But, nonetheless, it was a symbol of independence. I could stay in my room now and talk, without anyone listening to my conversations. Or so I thought.
My sister soon learned that if she unscrewed the mouthpiece on her new princess phone, she could listen in on my conversations without me hearing her breathing.
Minutes after my conversation ended, she'd appear in my doorway and start teasing me. "So you were kissing the back of your hand (smack, smack) for practice with Johnny. He has to ask you out first, you know." She'd say all this with a look in her eye that justified getting a sock thrown at her face. Then she'd run down the hall with me on her heels.
These arguments always ended up with us hugging and kissing and promising never to listen in again. Until the next time. And of course, there was always a next time.
The other day, when I showed my daughter this prized princess phone, she looked at me like I was totally and completely crazy.
After which, she whipped out her new smart phone, claiming here was something worth beaming over. It did just about everything. And as we all know, she wasn't kidding.
These new phones are way more than Alexander Graham Bell ever imagined.
Lost? Touch the GPS mapping icon. Want a favorite song? Press the iPod. Bored? Play iBowl. Having a hot flash? Check WeatherBug for the temperature in Iceland. Want to capture the moment? Use the camera. Running late? Email the office. Want to get pregnant? Download the fertility app.
It goes on and on. I'm sure there is an app to list all the available apps.
And then there is the Cloud. Some space out there in cyberland where all our data can be stored.
In my mind, I see a blue sky with white, whispy clouds drifing overhead. And I'd kind of like to keep it that way. But sometimes, it's impossible. When I look up I see all this information fighting for space. And I wonder when it's going to come raining down on us.
How far is technology going to go before that occurs?
Maybe one day, we will simply touch our thumbs to the screen and our phones will be able to read our moods and know what we'd like for dinner. This information will then be transmitted to our kitchens where R2D2 (or your robot of choice) would make the meal and have it on the table for you when you get home.
That is, if we've even left the house. Seeing as how these new phones do just about everything, there is often no need for face-to-face contact. That is, unless you want to actually be touched by someone other than yourself.
"You want to put this old thing on ebay?" My daughter asked, pulling me out of my futuristic dreams. "I can do it for you right now."S he positioned her smart phone to take a photo of my Princess phone.
"Absolutely not!" I pressed the old phone to my chest. I knew that somewhere inside this phone were all those conversations, both mine and my sister's, from long ago.
We don't need a memory stick to keep memories alive.