June 10th, 2014
iPhone Users: Enlightened Futurists or Antisocial Assholes?

Does having an iPhone make us better people, or does it just make us even lazier and less aware of our surroundings?

POINT: “I Hate My iPhone, But I’ll Die Without It”

I first realized that my iPhone turned me into a terrible person when I caught myself playing Angry Birds at my sister’s wedding last year. I couldn’t stop. I spent the previous night on a roll during the rehearsal dinner, and I was SO close to getting three stars on every level. I was the maid of honor, and I was supposed to hold her bouquet while she and her husband-to-be exchanged rings. Except, I got so caught up in the game that when she turned to give it to me, I missed the hand-off, and the bouquet bounced to the ground and kept rolling down the aisle, then got stepped on by an usher. So, her bouquet was pretty much ruined. Also, her wedding ceremony.

I do shitty stuff like that all the time because of my iPhone. I invite people out to dinner, then ignore them while I peruse through Instagram and Facebook. I run into people on the street because I’m reading on my Kindle app for iPhone, and by the time I register where I am and that I elbowed a 70-year-old man in the face, he’s already walking away and I’m tangled in my headphones and it’s too late. I even crashed my car because I was texting, building a new Spotify playlist, and googling “where is Gloria Estefan now” – all while doing a three point turn.I’ve also developed some weird antisocial tendencies. All the push notifications make me depressed when I don’t have at least two emails, one Facebook notification, and 2,000 Twitter notifications at any given second. I never call anyone anymore. I showed my mom how to text, and now I can barely remember the sound of her voice. I book reservations for restaurants with Opentable, I order a cab with Uber, I get directions from GoogleMaps, I scan pictures of my checks for Bank of America, I get laid using Tinder, and I order delivery through Foodler or Seamless. As a result, live interactions with humans make me uncomfortable and sweaty, so I spend most of my evenings asking Siri politically incorrect questions and giggling at her answers.

This is all iPhone’s fault. It just had to be super convenient and bank on human laziness to build this creation that has made me an addicted weirdo who sleeps with her iPhone in her bed with her every night and has a mental breakdown when the “20% battery” notification pops up (because soon it will only be 10%, and all I have is my Mophie battery case, and the extra external battery, and THEN WHAT?????). So thanks a lot, iPhone, for turning me into a terrible human with a Stockholm Syndrome-like addiction to you. As for the rest of you, I highly encourage you to never get an iPhone. If you never start, you will never know the pain of trying to stop.

COUNTERPOINT: “#Considerate”

I always thought of myself as a considerate person. I held doors for people, always gave up my seat on the bus for the pregnant and disabled, and I even helped elderly people cross the street. My thank you notes were always handwritten and offered detailed descriptions of all the towels I was going to buy with that lovely JC Penney’s gift certificate. My birthday presents were thoughtful and recalled the most fleetingly expressed desire for a lemon zester. I listened, I paused, I observed the people around me so that I could anticipate their needs, congratulate them on their successes, and comfort them through their failures. But, boy, was I wrong. This whole time I’ve been so caught up in the tactile world surrounding me that I was missing out on the world that really matters — the digital one. I was just bumbling along, with my pathetic little flip phone, too busy holding open doors and giving up my seat to even notice that, according to Facebook, it was my best friend’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s friend’s wedding yesterday. And I didn’t even send a congratulatory tweet! Or what about my old high school gym buddy’s aunt’s friend’s granddaughter’s communion? Did I really let the vast Instagram stream of her beautiful white dress go unliked? Just so I didn’t have to pay for a smartphone plan?! In the words of one Miss Stephanie Tanner: “How rude!”

But never again! My iPhone may be freshly removed from its wrapping, but the front is already smudged with the fingerprints of consideration! My commute, once spent reading and observing the silly habits of my fellow bus riders is now a daily devotional to my Twitter feed. Did you know that my co-worker’s roommate’s boyfriend finally made her kale chips? How could I let that pass without a favorite, a retweet, and a “@catzncuddlz Congrats on your bf’s cooking skills! #kale #love #eatclean #chefoftheyear #congratsagain” I mean, sure, that man on crutches didn’t have a seat for about 20 blocks, but it was really important that I get through the last 12 hours of my Twitter feed. I didn’t want to look like the jerk who didn’t retweet that link to my sorority sister’s little brother’s latest study abroad blog post, did I?

And you won’t believe how considerate I can be just walking down the street now! It’s a flood of Facebook “Happy birthdays!!!” followed by a quick read of the my News Feed. My downstairs neighbor’s girlfriend’s sister just had a baby? Better like the squishy faced first photo! And what about my kickball captain’s cousin’s best friend’s status about how she’s running so late for work? I better post a quick “You can do it, girl!” comment. Sure, I might have run into that nice man while I was doing it, but he was limber enough once he got back up off the pavement. Which I would have helped him do, but my brother’s best friend’s girlfriend just posted a picture of her breakfast and I needed to like it.

I can even be considerate at work! Before, I could never even go on Facebook for fear that my boss would notice and ask how my spreadsheet was coming. But she doesn’t bat an eyelash when I spent 30 minutes on Instagram. Or at least I don’t think she does. It’s hard to see what her eyelashes are up to when I’m too busy liking that beautifully filtered picture of the Thai food that my cousin’s boyfriend’s coworker is eating for lunch. With a quick comment: “Those spring rolls look amazing. #greatlunch #thaifood #yummmm #lunch #thosespringrollslookamazing #delicious #jealous #foodie.”

And that’s just the beginning! There are a ton of apps and features that I don’t even know about yet! I don’t have to steal company paper and ink printing out tickets anymore-I can just scan them on my phone. I never have to be that rude girl who awkwardly has spinach in her teeth, because there’s some kind of mirror I can use, I’ve heard (this is unconfirmed, but probably would have come in handy on my date last Friday). I don’t have to clog up bank lines waiting to cash a check, once I get my banking app set up. And I can even use Tinder to find more people to friend on Facebook and follow on Instagram! It’s not its original purpose, I understand, but you can’t just date people without liking that picture they posted of their best friend’s sister’s dog. That would be SO RUDE.

BALLPOINT: Lisa DeBenedictis (point), and Jessica Pierce (counterpoint)

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