The Smarter Phony
Someone needs to put a leash on the smartphones before things get completely out of control. I, for one, am not amused by the way things are going. Call me arrogant, but I take pride on being intellectually superior to my inanimate objects. I’ve never lost a debate with my shoes yet. From time to time, when no one’s looking, I like to bully my chair, or maybe even the calculator by going “Hey, you. I’m smarter than you. Oh yeah, you know it.“, and in my own mind, I can imagine them bowing their heads in shame. I have to admit I get some sadistic pleasure listening to their whimpers, even though I’m only imagining it.
Judging by the way the smartphones are gearing up, I am not sure I’ll be able to compete much longer.
Me: “I am smarter than you. Yes. ME. Smarter. Than you.”
SmartPhone: “Oh, really? Then why are you on the wrong route?”
Me: “The wrong r… what are you talking about?”
SP: “F.Y.I., you’re currently on Sheikh Zayed Road, heading south. (silence)… You’re lost again, aren’t you?”
Me: “No, I am NOT. Maybe I WANT to be here on Shake Side… err… Said Road… you ever think about that, smartypants? You are just a dumb machine. I WANTED to be on this… this Shaking Whatever road.
SP: “Highly unlikely. According to your events planner, you have an appointment in Al Wasit Street in about 5 minutes.”
ME: “AlWaswat? What are yo…? Oh, my God, the client meeting! Maybe… maybe I can still make it.”
SP: “I wouldn’t bet on it. The GPS satellite imaging tells me there’s a huge traffic bottleneck on Al Ithihad road. And you’ve already ignored 5 reminders to get the car serviced. And your internet banking facility tells me that you’re not gonna be able to do that for a while. Plus… I also notice from your Sent folder that you mailed the presentation to the wrong client.”
ME: “Stop that! Stop… Stop showing off! You’re just a dumb machine. I’m smarter than you. I’m the smart one, ME!! Ok?
SP: “If you say so. You know… for a smart guy, you don’t seem to know much.”
ME: “Like what?”
SP: “Do you know, for instance, that your fly is open?”
MP: “WHAT??? How could you possi…”
SP: “Ha!! Made you look…”
You see? Not exactly the kind of environment I’d want to be around in. This is why I have been steering clear of smartphones until now. But I still knew about them thanks to my colleague, Murli.
Now, Murli is what many people would consider a gadget freak – in particular, a cellphone freak. I wouldn’t be surprised if major phone manufacturers kept people on their payroll just to observe this one consumer. If you took all the phones he ever owned, and started placing them end to end in the middle of the highway, you might get run over by passing trucks. It pays to be careful.
It’s not like he used to carry ten phones in his pocket at all times. At any given time, he usually has no more than two. And that’s largely because he kept losing phones like Michael Jackson used to lose noses. For every new phone he bought, he lost two… which may not make sense to a statistician, but I’m not teaching math, dammit. Pay attention.
Suffice to say that Murli has lost phones all across India, primarily in upscale Cafe Coffee Day outlets. He used to do this fairly regularly… so much so that it feels reselling lost mobile phones became an integral part of Cafe Coffee Day’s revenue model. And if you think about it, it kinda explains why their service and product quality has dropped over the last few years.
But Murli now has the iPhone 4 AND the Samsung i9000 Galaxy S, and he has graciously let me borrow his Samsung Galaxy S until I get my own smartphone. And I also keep twiddling with his iPhone a lot. So I regularly interact with two of the smartest phones on the planet right now. You have no idea how intimidating my imaginary conversations with these smart alecs go. They seem to be capable of absolutely anything. There seems to be an app for everything… simulating fart noises, pretending to drink beer, werewolf locator; they even have a ghost hunting gear that measure paranormal activities and electrical disturbances to reveal the presence of ghosts (Ghost Hunter M2)… Unfortunately, there are no apps for what I need right now… a nail clipper.
As some of you know, I have recently moved from Bangalore to Sharjah, UAE. I thought I was ready for my big relocation. Bags, shirts, pants, books, hangers, towels, books, coats, shaving kit, medicines, books, comb, pens, wallet, books, handkerchiefs, shorts, books, tissues, passport copies, credit cards, coat hangers, socks, books and some bedsheets… oh, and I almost forgot – books. I thought I was prepared. I thought I was ready. But it’s always the little things that get you. Nail clippers are important, but not so important you’d go out specifically to buy one. I’d always lump it in with some other agenda… maybe with groceries or snacks or movies, and invariably, it would be the forgotten item.
As a result, I have been walking around with fingernails that would have made Edward Scissorhands gasp. I had to restrain myself from pointing at people; not just to maintain good manners, but more importantly, to avoid stabbing them. I was afraid to shake hands with people for fear of accidentally cutting a vein. In restaurants, waiters stopped offering me forks; they assumed I’d just harpoon my food without silverware. When I tapped my fingers on the table, people thought I was carving a statue. If I were in the army, I could have killed myself with a single salute. It finally got to a point that one day, I challenged a colleague to a nail-fight. That was the last straw. I had to put my foot down, but gently, because I was sure the state of my toenails weren’t any better. The fingernails had to go. I HAD to surrender those weapons, but weirdly enough, despite feeling like Freddy Krueger during the rest of the day, in the evenings, when I walked around stores where I may have had a chance of actually buying a pair of clippers, I kept on forgetting.
This is why I insist that the smartphones take care of this. An app to clip my nails that I can download right to the phone. And after that, the smart alec smartphone will know better than to show me up. One more wisecrack, and it’s toenail clipping time.