"You're a smart guy," said a member of the motorcycle gang I belong to. "You should have a smart phone."
My dear sister-in-law also became impatient with my explanation about why I hesitate to trade in my World War I coal-burning cell phone, for a smart phone, or however you spell it.
I told her I don't want to be tempted to check my email at the park with my kid, on the golf course, in a restaurant, in a bookstore, in the tavern.
I paraphrase her, but closely: "What's the matter with you? Why can't you just be like every other normal person and check your email when you want to and ignore it when you want to?"
I interpreted her message as having two subtexts: 1. What makes me so special that I can't be bothered to keep track of my email obsessively like everybody else? 2. And, if I'm so fucking special, why don't I demonstrate some of that specialness by resisting the urge to check my email obsesslively like everybody else.
I'll take these reasonable questions in order:
1. I'm a writer. Since I don't acutally know anything about anything, what I do for a living is organize common experience and regurgitate it to others in ways that make life make a little more sense to all of us. To organize common experience, I must first organize my own experience. And I can hardly organize my experience if my daily existence is akin to that of a proprietor at hot dog stand in Midtown Manhattan. (Witness the wee number of great novels from hot dog stand proprietors.)
2. My specialness as a writer doesn't make me less susceptible to all the sad people-pleasing, conflict-avoiding, hope-hungry instincts that drive everyone to madly rub their phones like genie lamps with a billion wishes. I have wishes too!
But I got a SmartPhone anyway, because the DumbPhone was just too dumb. (Or I was. I couldn't even get pictures or videos off of it.)
And when my writing falls off, I know my sister-in-law will be the first to let me know.