one upgrade at a time

Apps Flow Crop

Hello, my name is Mike and I stand here today and admit to being an addict. Not sure why this happened. I’ve never had issues like this before. My Life Coach Desmond suggested this support group. He said Twitter or Instagram or something recommended you.

I don’t smoke. Never been a drug user. Drink casually but not obsessively. I think claiming sex addition is BS. We’re all addicted to that. My problem is a little unusual and I hope you folks can help me. I’m addicted to apps.

I’ve never been much of a personal phone guy. The first one I ever actually touched was my son’s. He got one years ago complete with a heavy battery in a bag, for buying a car. Didn’t realize he had to make payments each month. His mother felt sorry for him and took it over. I never called a soul. Didn’t know anyone else who owned one.

During the time cell phones became popular I was working for the pay phone department at Bell South. Cell phones were the enemy. I got my first cell phone years after everyone else. It came with a belt-attached carrier. My son and I were about to leave for Key West the day the package arrived.

Swearing I’d never become addicted to those things like so many of my friends I left the holster nailed to the rafters of an open air bar in Tavernier. Last time I drove by that place had been demolished to make room for a high rise.

Fast forward to last April. I was still using a flip phone and only receiving calls and an occasional text. The battery died so I went to the phone store and talked to this darlin’ lady with a starter set of dreadlocks and deep dimples.

She told me a new smart phone would allow me to still only call and text if I chose, but I would have a better phone and a much easier text platform. I knew she was right. Hitting the number pad three times to send a message is a pain in the ass, especially when using “s”. You have to hit the key four times. I use “s” a lot.

So I got one. Almost immediately, the trouble started. I wanted to save a trip to the bank every month to deposit my paltry writer’s check. (I know that’s redundant. All writers’ checks are paltry.) I loaded the app for my bank into my phone but it wouldn’t work. Wrong operating system.

So I waited patiently for an upgrade and exchanged that one for an android platform. That’s when I first noticed the behavioral changes. I started finding apps for all kinds of things. I have one that tells me how far I walk; one that allows me to record my innermost thoughts; one for looking at the stars and another for finding internet hot spots. I have three for music.

I even have one that tells me how to get where I’m going. I imagined a voice like Scarlett Johansen’s in Her but mine sounds irritated and aloof with a hint of condescension; kinda like my ex. Then last week, I actually sent an emoticon to someone in a professional text message; emoji to those in the know.

The scary part is I like apps. They make life easier. But I know that’s just the addiction talking. I’m a grown man for God’s sake. I can do things like I once did. So thanks for listening. I’ll try anything to stop this.

I feel so dirty.

Image: Apps Flow by Jeffrey via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.
Mike Cox

Mike Cox

Mike Cox currently writes a weekly column in South Carolina for the Columbia Star called "It's Not a Criticism, It's an Observation." He is trying to grow old as gracefully as possible without condemning the current generation in charge to doom. Each day this task gets harder as the overwhelming evidence mounts. He currently has two published books; Finding Daddy Cox, and October Saturdays. His columns have won three South Carolina Press Association awards since 2003. Mike has three sons and two grandchildren and lives in Irmo, Sc, just outside of Columbia.