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SLICES Of Life

BY JILL PERTLER

Part 1 of 2

If the fire alarm went off in your home or workplace and you had to evacuate quickly, what would you grab on your way out?

Besides pets, spouses, chapstick and an extra change of underwear, I’m guessing most of us could agree on one item: our phones.

Our phones have become an extension of us. We wouldn’t consider leaving home without them.

I didn’t see it coming – this reliance I have (we have) on our phones. They’re our communication link to the outside world, but that’s only the beginning. They are calendars, calculators and contacts. Anyone remember the days when we actually memorized the phone numbers of friends and family? I don’t know anyone’s phone number anymore. Even my own. I’ve got myself on speed dial.

Our phones are cameras. They record video. They are games and memes. They are FaceTime and Facebook, TikTok and alarm clocks. They track your health and your wealth. They are apps, maps and Snaps. They are banking, bill pay and better than cash. They are shopping and free shipping. They are movies and streaming. They are the weather.

My son told me the other day that he converted his weather icon into a widget so it is sized bigger than the other apps on his phone in order to allow him easier access to knowledge about the weather each day. I had to laugh.

What about just looking outside? He didn’t have much of an answer to that. It’s the world we live in, isn’t it? We find it checking the weather on our phone screen easier than looking out the screen door.

My phone helps me meditate and create my art. It teaches me how to complete home improvement projects and has even helped with the purchase of a used car.

We spend a lot on our phones, and I’ve been known to complain about that. But they take the place of so many other appliances and gadgets that we used to have as uni-taskers. Regular folks – not professionals – used to spend hundreds or even thousands on cameras and video cameras. Long distance phone calling used to be an expensive thing.

Our phones are the ultimate multitaskers. If I didn’t know better, I might say my phone is my best friend. If you could have an inanimate object as a best friend. But maybe phones aren’t inanimate… Consider Siri. I know I do. I ask her questions all the time. She tells me where to go and what to do. Even if she doesn’t know the answer to my question, she’ll be up front and honest about it.

If she is tired, or low on battery life she’ll always do her best to respond. As a friend. I talk to her regularly, and she gets back to me at record speed. You can always count on a good friend to respond. I like that about Siri.

So, yeah, if the fire alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning and I was jarred from a peaceful sleep, I’d grab my phone, because Siri’s always been good to me. And I wouldn’t want to leave her in the lurch, or worse yet, in danger of going up in smoke.

Plus if I got lost during exit, she might be able to help me navigate a way out.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

August 3, 2022