Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Phones: they are just like us!


I have been a latecomer to the smart phone thing, partially due to the fact that it required carrying around a fragile expensive device in my clumsy and messy life. When we finally got smart phones over a year ago, I marveled at how slim and delicate they looked and immediately ordered a heavy-duty OtterBox for mine. I did not let kids touch my phone till the protector arrived and then I gingerly placed it inside, snapped it shut, and started using it.

It made perfect sense: why risk breaking something expensive when it can be covered up and protected? But then I forgot what my phone actually looked like, since all I ever saw, day in and day out, was a thick rubbery case of heavy-duty protection. The OtterBox was serving me well: my phone has been dropped and splashed on numerous times, but it still worked beautifully. 

Until last night.

I was in the middle of texting my husband at work when the phone just quit on me. It did not turn off, and it did not run out of charge. It simply would not respond to anything I was doing, showing a blank screen. I panicked, for a second, and then got onto Google. (I am not sure what people did before). I found out that I might need to remove the battery, let it sit out for a minute, and then replace it. Now I had to figure out HOW to remove the battery. Of course, there was a Youtube video showing how to do that, with removal of Otterbox thrown in as a bonus. As I followed the steps, unsnapping and coaxing the phone out of its case, I saw again what my phone actually looked like: a slim white exquisite device, more powerful than the computers used to send astronauts to the moon, sleekly fitting into the palm of my hand. The thickness, the rubbery feel, the grime was gone. I was holding the actual essence, not the outward layers.

I was successful in removing the back cover and the battery. After an anxious minute, the battery went back in and the phone came back to life. I wiped and cleaned the case, but I was a bit sad to package it back up, to hide such beauty.

Then I took a look at myself. I wear slightly frumpy clothes: it makes perfect sense not to ruin classy outfits when chasing after kids. I wear "sensible" shoes: I like for my feet to feel comfortable. I seldom put on jewelry: 1 yo has a nasty habit of yanking at the necklaces and earrings. I skip on everyday make-up: I choose to spend those few minutes serving kids breakfast or reading a good-morning story to 4 yo.

But behind all this "sensibility" there is still a person who likes to have an occasion to dress up, to look nice, to go out. My essence is still delicate, even if the outside is protected by a rough and casual attire. So I wonder how many other women feel this way: you are doing something practical, something that makes perfect sense, but it is covering (smothering?) what you really are. Then one day you are confronted with the removal of layers and suddenly you realize that you are not what you seem. Of course, you knew that all along, but others are surprised.

So yes, I would love to have tailored clothes. I am looking forward to my BIL's wedding and a chance to have a bridesmaid dress made. I am planning on getting professional make-up done for the first time in my life. I am even considering getting a fun sheitel for the occasion.

On a deeper level, though, even if currently I am not running at my intellectual highest (no doubt due to spending many hours in the company of a baby whose favorite conversational piece is a roar), I am still that girl who would like to keep sharp, who wants to read intellectually stimulating material, who wants to learn, and who is eager for some grown-up conversation which goes beyond the superficiality.

Which brings me to a dilemma: when you look dolled up, nobody takes you seriously. When you look comfortable, nobody takes you seriously. Only when you wear a power suit, have a few initials after your name and drop credentials right and left, people start taking you seriously. How much of a true essence is left after that?

A phone has it much easier.

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