You don’t mean to, is the thing. An ex likes a friend’s post and you think huh, haven’t seen that name in a while and you start clicking and one thing leads to another and you discover your ex is going out with someone new.
And your phone freezes.
You’re like that’s weird, my phone can’t possibly know what I’m looking at but it does, and it’s trying to help. It’s trying to keep you from getting sucked in, keep you from going well, that person I’ve never met likes some okay bands and has pictures of some good books and cool records in their feed, they’re probably all right because you don’t need to do that. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone. You don’t need to dredge up the past.
Your phone knows this and is trying to protect you because your phone loves you and your phone wants what is best for you and your phone wants to keep you out of trouble and keep you present and in the moment, and your phone’s decision to do this hopefully has nothing to do with you using your phone to look at new phones because your phone is a little slow and occasionally freezes and chews through batteries unless you put it on airplane mode which defeats the purpose of having a phone, but it has been more than two years, which in phone years is geriatric, which is funny because you have shoes that are older, you have punk shirts that are older and is at the same time not funny because that idea, the idea of your phone being able to understand its looming obsolescence and symbiotically shielding you in an attempt to prove its worth and keep you loving it and using it makes you think of the desk drawer where you stash your phone alongside all your old phones, the flip phones you don’t have the heart to throw away or recycle or give to Flip Phones For The Blind, all with just enough battery to look at old pictures taken with now-obsolete two megapixel cameras, the kind of photos which seemed vital and urgent at the time but now register as nothing but blobs and smudges.
So maybe you’re the reason your phone is so neurotic.
Or maybe your phone just thinks I am here and I am useful just like you and you shouldn’t dwell on the past because it’s over and we’re here now together and dealing with the alternative, an eternity spent someplace cold and dark, whether that place is real or metaphorical, is too much to bear so the intertwined thought of utility and joy and being in the moment is a lot less weight to carry around than either your ex’s new romantic interest’s record collection -- and, by extension, taste -- being better than yours or unthinkingly stashing your phone every night in a phone mausoleum after using your phone to spend an hour browsing new phones on your carrier’s website. At any rate, maybe ease up on the phone.
Michael T. Fournier is the author of two novels (Swing State and Hidden Wheel, both on Three Rooms Press) and a book-length discussion of the Minutemen's Double Nickels On The Dime album for the 33 1/3 series. He's a regular contributor to Razorcake, and his work has appeared in the Oxford American, Barrelhouse, Entropy, McSweeney's Internet Tendency. Fournier co-edits Cabildo Quarterly with poet Lisa Panepinto. He lives on Cape Cod with his wife Rebecca and their cat.