It has been a long time since Erma talked about teenagers dragging the family phone into the closet. Just this year, everyone in my family now has their own phone.
Yes, this does make it easy to track kids down. I can nag them with multiple texts asking where they are, who they are talking to, and ask for a picture of them in the place they are supposed to be wearing what they left the house in and holding a piece of paper with a code word on it that I just gave to them and then forgot so that they could have written “Where’s Waldo?” and I would be happy thinking they knew the code word and were not using old pictures they had taken of friends or classrooms or the stage at the auditorium and were really doing drugs on the hillside above the “shortcut” home which is really a code word for drugee hangout.
Now you might say, why don’t you use the gps ap. that cellphones have to track children. I tried! The website to set it all up wouldn’t work and I ended up locking my own phone out of being about to make any changes on anything and I had to call the phone company every time I wanted something and sit on hold for two and a half hours until a human came on and scared me out of my coma.
And it can track phones within 5 miles, which pretty much covers my entire town. They could be in the bottom of the skate park, hiding down by the river, or in the school library making out with some little boy and I would still have to stalk them by posting on their facebook page “Child has disappeared. Please tell me if you see her.”
Speaking of which, they do all kinds of things with their phones that are incomprehensible to me. I know they can connect to facebook and email. They make up their own ringtones. They might even store music, which makes those Ipods I bought them all obsolete. They take better pictures than I can take with my camera. I think they might even be able to wipe their own asses with a puff of air that comes out of the microphone because I rarely find remnants of toilet paper in the toilet when they became unable to flush because they are texting with one hand and applying eyeliner with the other.
At night I collect all the phones because I have this old fashioned belief that they will sleep better if they can’t talk to anyone, despite the fact that they still have Ipods, a kindle, 3 DS’s, a laptop, and might be connected to wifi through their navels now that babies are born with an internal wifi card and an attraction to any screen (Seriously, you should see the speed with which my baby crawls toward a laptop or phone. It’s like a horror movie possessed baby crawl, head upside down and limbs turning in the wrong directions and crawling faster than a tarantula in my nightmares.)
And then I’ll be sitting, no, lounging sprawled, on the couch after work, where I go to pay for all these gadgets that I don’t even understand and my phone will go off in the kitchen with the drumroll tone that I use for texts because it is the ONLY thing that makes me feel special and I will spend every ounce of energy pulling my limbs together to make the trip to go find out what is so important, only the find that the child who was sitting on the couch across from me asked me a question. A question like “Can I go see a friend?” Or “What’s for dinner?” I swear they will eventually lose the ability to speak and their lips will move and no sound will come out except a drumroll.
They will all lose their sight too before they become as old as I am. Not only do they spend 18 hours a day with their noses 2 inches from a screen, squinting at the flashing images (and another 5 hours every night hiding under the covers on their beds), but they can text without looking faster than I can speak. The first time I texted, after they spend 3 hours showing me over and over how to hold the keys down until the next letter comes up, I was so slow that they laughed and slapped each other on the backs with an enthusiasm I haven’t seen since . . . ever, because they can never all agree that the same thing is funny because that would make them too similar and WE CAN’T HAVE THAT. I’ve even see them pick up their little brother and tap on his belly and then stop and realize that no one is receiving the message they just sent, or are they?