Some government meetings require cell phones to be left outside the conference room. We are told it is for security reasons, but I’m convinced it is for our own safety. Smart phones are becoming too darned smart, and any machine that is smarter than its user is dangerous.
Case in point: I recently attended a serious presentation by military flag officers. The meeting wasn’t classified, but it was important. Of course, not wanting to be one of “those people” I had placed my new phone on “stun” – vibrate, before the meeting started. But I did not turn it off. Like most supposedly clever and important people at the meeting I intended to occasionally use the phone to access my email between briefings.
During one such lull between briefings, I noticed a Pandora splash screen briefly pop up; I must have inadvertently touched the on-screen icon with an errant finger. But I quickly shut the application down with the “Home” button. Or so I thought.
If you don’t know, Pandora.com is a site for Internet-accessible music. It’s a convenient way to keep yourself entertained when taking long walks. What I did not know at the time is that the Home button hides the application, but does not shut it down.
As the flag officer started his talk I could hear soft music – some Irish girl singing. Is that part of the talk, I wondered? Then I noticed those in the audience near me were now looking directly at me.
Oh my Gosh, it was coming from my pocket. PANDORA!
I jammed my hand into my pocket, hitting buttons wildly to shut the phone up, but no luck. She kept singing, softly at first but slightly louder with each passing second. Panicked, I left my seat clutching the phone against my body, trying to muffle the sound, and headed for the door, bumping knees and knocking papers off chairs, drawing even more attention.
I refused to look at the General trying to speak over the commotion — he used to like me.
By now I’m imagining the other Flag Officers signaling for my elimination.
Safely outside of the room, it took me at least 3 more minutes before I figured out how to shut that Irish chick up.
Sure enough, at the next break I heard someone asking who that guy was with the phone, and of course I cringed when I heard my name mentioned. In spite of my best efforts, I had become “… that guy!”
It is not an overstatement to say that I now have a well-earned love-hate relationship with my smart phone.
OK, I admit that those file photos above are taken slightly out of context. However, that’s what I thought was going on behind my back. (Photo credits: joyfulpublicspeaking.blogspot.com; stripes.com)