Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Whose Pen Is It Anyway? (A/K/A, "You Complete Me")

Do you ever feel compelled to allow your cell phone to finish composing your thoughts the way it decides you wanted to? Even if that is not what you intended (it added "to do" but I thought that was superfluous and after a brief but heated discussion with my phone it was agreed I could leave out these two words. I thank my phone for being so understanding).

I just finished writing a birthday note to my cousin. It seemed I was consulting my phone with almost every word (it now told me to say "everything" but I don't think "everything" applies as well here, although I could be convinced otherwise. We are in ongoing conversation about that one. So when you finally get to read this, don't be surprised to see "everything" where "every word" presently exists. Although you would never know about that because you will not be getting drafts of this email but only the final version. So you would not be able to discern which of these thoughts were of my choosing and which came from a non-human source. Or whether this contemplation is even actually mine or its.)

I wish my phone would be more helpful in certain situations, like whether the punctuation goes inside or outside the quotes. And I really dislike when it finishes my word incorrectly and I fail to pick it up. Then, only after I hit "send" do I read my words and think to myself, "I just sounded like an idiot thanks to my phone". ("Is that period supposed to be before or after the quotation mark? Oh, now you have nothing to say?")

"You know, I was an English major in college, and I have had many pieces of my writing published over the years, so please give me some credit for my sentence structure and my deft phrasing. Oh, you think you can do better? When was the last time you were published in the New York Times? Oh really, that's pretty good." ("Now I put the period inside the quote. Do you like that better?")

It is not easy knowing where I end and my phone begins. Are we a partnership, and if so, who is the senior partner? Is it merely an employee who can be fired at will by me, or am I but extension of its will? Am I the appendage or is it? Is it my hand, my fingers, my mind or none of the above? Who is in control here?

I am writing this hoping I don't get my phone angry. For if that happens I fear the delete button inside its brain will be activated and you will be staring at nothing but an empty page. My stomach actually churned as I wrote this last sentence, as if what I put down was a real possibility. And, tell the truth, doesn't that seem like something that could happen?

I am going to end here. Mainly because I am waiting for my phone to give me some inspiration for a concluding sentence but it seems to be drawing a blank, or maybe it is just angry with me. (I had a typo with "drawing" and it wrote "dreaming" which I find to be an interesting, almost Freudian slip of the pen. Although it is clearly not a pen. And it well may not have been a slip).

Yours truly,

My phone or maybe me


Anonymous said...

so funny. If your phone becomes angry with you, you can always switch carriers.--RE

Alex said...

Your combined voices are very clever

Anonymous said...