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My iPhone and I aren’t speaking to each other. We try to stay civil to each other as best we can because we’re both adults, but we’re definitely not friends anymore.

Here’s my side of the story: My iPhone is playing little mind games with me just to drive me over the edge. Oh, it knows exactly what it’s doing. It’s just bored and hormonal. I got it in 2008, so I guess it’s going through its terrible twos. Every day it’s something new with this petulant adolescent of a smart phone.

“I don’t feel like working today. I’m gonna run out of battery in an hour because I need a personal day.”

“I’m just gonna stop. Goodbye. I quit. Don’t try pressing any buttons because I’m out for the day. No, I’m not out of battery, but I am out of inspiration. If you really need me, then try charging me, but for now I’m done. What? Why were you so scared? It was a JOKE, I’m not dead forever. Learn to take a JOKE!”

“I’m gonna make my screen all white. What, white is a summer color, and it’s July! See how much button pressing it takes for me to reload. I hope it hurts your fingers, by the way.”

“Oooh, guess what I just thought of?! I’m gonna make my screen keep re-appearing even when you’ve shut me off so you’ll think someone’s texting you and get all excited. Psych! You’re not that popular.”

“I’m gonna make the volume signal keep flashing over and over again. Why? I don’t need to give you a reason. Because I want to, that’s why.”

I’ve tried reasoning with it. I’ve tried restarting it. And admittedly, sometimes I swear at it and then drop it on the floor accidentally/on-purpose. But it’s still rebelling against me. Tonight my iPhone and I are going to couples counseling – a.k.a. the Genius Bar at the Mac Store. It’s worth a shot, I guess, to revive what was once a beautiful, meaningful friendship.

It was everything I wanted in a phone. It was intelligent – they don’t call it a smart phone for nothing. It made me laugh by playing funny YouTube videos. And before it got the smudges and scratches that come with aging, boy, was it a good-looking piece of machinery.

We also did everything together, and we never left each other’s sides. But maybe that was the problem. Maybe I smothered my iPhone, and now it’s rebelling. It’s only natural, I suppose, to want to break free of a controlling, neurotic friend and form your own identity. Still, it doesn’t have to play all these tricks on me. If there’s a problem, iPhone, just tell it to me straight. You’ll find a way – you have millions of apps at your disposal.

So I think that I’m going to spend a week without my iPhone. During that week we’ll both do some real soul-searching – or, in the case of my iPhone, hard-drive searching – about where our relationship is headed. Maybe I’ll meet other phones – I always thought the Android was kind of cute. The iPhone will get some breathing space to work out all its little kinks. It can spend hours recharging its battery, which I know it enjoys – it’s like a spa treatment. Maybe, as a part of its midlife crisis, it will get itself a fancy new case and a free software update. And it won’t have to cater to my every eccentric whim – it resented that.

So I’m not using my iPhone for a week. How could something that has caused me so much grief and anxiety be so hard to get rid of? A U2 song that I’m sure my iPhone is sick of playing says it best: “I can’t live with or without you.” So for a week I’m not going to make calls, I’m not going to text, or listen to music, or…wow. That’s a lot of stuff I can’t do. A Joni Mitchell song my iPhone is also sick of playing aptly explains how I’m already beginning to feel: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…”

Can I do it? I really don’t know. My hands will definitely be twitchy. I’ll reach into my pocket a lot to find that nothing’s there. I’ll take my notebook and absent-mindedly try to use it text someone. It will not be easy – no one said it would. But I think that if I can make it through this week, I will be a better person, my iPhone will be a better iPhone, and we’ll all be in a healthier place. As an ABBA song I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have on my iPhone said, “Breaking up is never easy, I know, but I have to go. Knowing me, knowing you, it’s the best I can do.”

 

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