Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Disproving the "I can't remember anyone's phone number" drama

If you ever chill without earbuds you’ve probably heard the complainers, they say: “it’s so terrible isn’t it? I used to know everyone’s phone number by heart, but now because of my cell phone I can’t remember even one”. This shit is one of those dark-side of technology arguments, a tenet of the “tech innovations are melting our brains and ruining the way we live” school of thought. But it’s important that we start deny-deny-denying this opinion – as the inability to recall someone’s phone number does not represent the malevolent technological takeover of a brain process but rather a reversion to our natural condition in which humans send and receive communications from real-ass people: aka things with names.

Last week my phone fritzed the fuck out and deleted all of the contact names off of the numbers. All the numbers are still as they were, they just don’t have the names attached anymore, so instead of getting calls from real live people, my telephone is now buzzing with old fashioned 415s and 914s like I’m a modern day Ludacris featuring Nate Dogg.

I’m down with the switch though: it’s like a small puzzle every time someone calls me. “a 510 number? That’s gotta be vic; 206 texting about the giants game? Most likely my dad; a text from a 310 number in which I’m referred to as nephew?? Father Snoop, without a doubt.”

After solving enough puzzles, I’ve started to recognize the numbers again. I see a number and know whose voice I’m expecting to hear when I pick up. I’m back in the land of understanding strange strings of numbers to represent human beings, the loss of which is mourned so loudly by the aforementioned complainers.

So: ahhh, this is just how it’s supposed to be right? The glory days of the 20th century that cell phone number-storing/hiding fucked up….

But to that we’ve gotta be like Angelina in the Jersey Shore intro:: “ummm…HELLO?!?!” I’m looking at my phone full of numbers and it’s like: “this is that dehumanized future; this is the Brave New World/1984 predecessor.”

Little did we know that the advancement in cell phone number-storing would actually re-humanize our communications.

What do you think? And who wants Snoop’s number?


Jonothan Q said...

look at the girls swimsuits in the picture... hahaha, area codes!

Game Set Mattsch! said...

But the problem comes when your phone dies, or when you lose it, or when you just don't have it on you. I need to call my pal and tell him to come pick me up... what's his number? Well, I remember my friend Billy's number from when I was fourteen and didnt have a cell, and he met my friend Sandy once and might have her number and I can probably get him to get Sandy's number, and I think her mother is an event planner in the same city that my friend lives in and might have his number in a rolodex.

When that happens, i feel pathetic.

prez said...

yea you're totally right.
So I guess here is a point to be made:
a lot of people think of technological progress as a double edged sword - the tech advancement might improve our lives (e.g. we love texting), but it also fucks us up a little more sociologically (human to human personal contact suffers).

but in the case of number storing, the double-edged sword cuts the other way. sometimes it makes our lives worse (when you lose your phone and can't remember anyone's numbers) but has a positive cultural effect - it restores a human fingerprint to telephone calls