I’m No Phone-y!

By Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS

Alerts, notifications, WhatsApps, flyers, emails, texts, calls! I’m inundated with incoming information!
I don’t know about you but sometimes I just can’t figure out who I will be in trouble with next.
What notifications did I miss now?! I kind of feel like I either have time to live or to follow my technology – not both.
Listen, I’m aware that for the tech generation being in constant contact with their phones is not challenging. In fact, for them, taking a photo of their every moment, replete with a duck face is living! But I didn’t grow up that way. First of all, we didn’t document our every second as our own personal paparazzi. Second of all, we only puckered up our lips when something was sour or when we were revving up for a kiss for Grandma.
I’m not saying I’m immune to this photo-taking obsession. It’s hard to be because even if I’m not taking my own picture, some selfie stick owner or long arm is angling for a group photo. In fact, I’ve been in so many group selfies that now when I observe myself in the mirror, straight on, I don’t recognize myself. I’m too used to seeing myself only on an angle.
Even so, the constant in-flow of communication, messages, and updates from everyone and everything reaching out, along with the pressure to respond immediately and continuously, is a bit intrusive to some activities of daily living.
For instance, maybe the person you are actually physically with deserves your attention more than the one on the screen. Or maybe walking could still be an uninterrupted activity to arrive somewhere. Or maybe sometimes your time should be allowed to be – exclusively – your time!
Snapchatting, Instagramming, skyping, etc. (which I hope have not been replaced by some new apps, already, just since I started writing this sentence) are as natural to adolescents and young adults as face-to-face human interaction was a generation or two ago. But I still prefer going to a real concrete and mortar store, seeing people in person, and not documenting my every move. And, as good as I am at multitasking, I just can’t get as much done if I need to be sure you see me, and I see you, on a screen, while I’m trying to get things accomplished.
It seems that every minute there’s another app produced to help your phone run your life. Did you know that now you can replace your house key or house code by locking or unlocking your home, remotely, through your phone? All day long you can let people in or out of your house to get things done, or delivered, and then change the code.
My luck, I’ll show up at home and the water delivery person, the plumber, and the oven repairman will have moved in with their families and changed the code on me through their phone apps!
Or if I get through the week still the sole owner of my residence, I’m nervous that on Shabbos I’ll be locked out completely. I guess then you are all invited to join me for chulent on my front lawn till after Havdalah.
The phone has a way of taking over our lives…and when we see those battery bars starting to diminish, we know we are in trouble. We no longer know anyone’s phone number, not even our own. Our to-do list or daily schedule is, of course, on our phone too! We are so nervous our phone may go dead that we carry around or attach a charger to charge it should it get depleted. It could add ten pounds to our load, but we must be sure it has its juice. We don’t even take such good care of ourselves!
These days, there are more charger wires crisscrossing everyone in a car than seatbelts. The first sentence anyone says when they get into a car is: do you have a spare charger? Certainly, an Uber driver gets a higher rating if he has at least one iPhone and Android charger. Who cares if he gets us where we are going? We just want to be sure that wherever he lets us out our phone is working.
So, the question is: are we a bunch of phone-ys? Overly dependent on our phones? Maybe some of us more or less? For me, I see benefits and drawbacks.
I don’t want my phone running my life. On the other hand, if we could teach it to cook a Shabbos meal and go to the gym for me then I’m sure I would like it a lot better! In the meantime, if it could just consolidate all my messages and alerts for me and give me a synopsis at the end of the day that would be really helpful!
The good news is it hasn’t kicked me out of my house yet, so I’m going to zip my lip and appreciate the benefits it offers.
Anyone know where my charger is?


Rivki Rosenwald is a certified relationship counselor, and career and life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004 or [email protected]