Maya Angelou and My First Smartphone

Welcome to several years ago! I have my first smartphone!

During naptime on the day of Maya Angelou’s death, which also happened to be the first day of me having my first smartphone, I settled in to reread some of her works. My brain went haywire:

“I believe most plain girls are virtuous because of the scarcity of opportunity to be otherwise.”

[*ding*] Delia’s misses you! Are we still friends? Free shipping until midnight!

“To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and the threat of eternal indecision.”

[*ding*] You now have your 2,037th follower on your blog.

“The caged bird sings with…”

[*ding*] Your aunt and your Gramma liked your photo.

“The intensity with which young people live demands that they ‘blank out’ as often as possible.”

Word, Maya Angelou. WORD.

After having my smartphone for four days now, I have a few observations:

  • I feel a little boring and standard now. We are not used to doing anything the normal way. We liked having the albino guinea pig with red eyes that no one loved because he was ugly. We like that we have had three children with only one pregnancy. We like that we listen to vinyl records. We are used to being the odd ducks in a group, and now we’re just so… normal.
  • Touch screens? Dang. Am I living in the future? I was born in the 1970s- just barely, but I was- and I actually remember a life before cable and even remotes and air conditioning. I got up to change the channel, and I tossed and turned in sweaty Virginia summer sheets all night long. I remember getting our first Beta VCR and, later, CD player. I didn’t go on the internet until college, and I didn’t have a cell phone until I was married. I feel like I will have much more in common with my parents than my children will have with me. The scariest part of holding all this convenience in my hand? It’s that my children will never know how truly amazing it is.
  • That sucker is slippery! How do you people not drop those things? I need a case. And a cover. And a screen protector. And some grippy tape. And a string to thread through it. (Might as well rope it to my neck, cuz it’s gonna be an albatross.)
  • I missed my first phone call because I couldn’t figure out how to answer it. Yep, when Mr. Okayest showed me all the amazing features on this amazing phone, I guess he forgot to show me, you know, the phone.
  • I feel like I am one of my one-year-old twins when I make a call. I feel like I am just picking up some random black rectangle and putting it my ear and saying, “He-yo. Bye bye.” It doesn’t seem like a phone. I mean, why I don’t just put the remote control to my ear? Or that ear of corn?
  • CAMERA!!!! What mom doesn’t want a tiny camera in her pocket all day long to capture all of the wonderful and disgusting and horrible things her children do? I am not being sarcastic here. I don’t think I am being sarcastic. Maybe I am. I actually don’t know. I confused myself.
  • My friends on Facebook are gonna be soooo sorry that I got my first smartphone. How will I restrict myself? It is so easy to post photos of my cute kids (i.e., my kids having a tantrum/ being covered in an unspeakable mess) and my delicious food-porn dinners (i.e., animal crackers and string cheese again). No more taking photos on the camera, taking out the memory card, and sticking it in my computer. Phew. That was so hard and all. *
  • I’m in love with it. It’s one of those things that you probably can’t return from, like call-waiting, caller ID, and DVR. You’re totally good without them, until, well, you have them.

So, self, welcome to several years ago. You’ve always been a late-bloomer, and you weren’t about to change now. And, to Maya Angelou, I apologize. I will learn how to turn my notifications off so I can stop “blanking out” and actually relearn why that caged bird sings.



*There is a joke in here somewhere about how I got to know Mr. Okayest in the high school darkroom, where in order to see the photos we took, we had to: thread the film on the reel in the pitch black, then turn on the red safety (i.e., romance) light, then dilute and mix the chemicals in three trays, then wait for them to reach the correct temperature, then pour three different chemicals into the film reel, then hang it to dry on a clothesline, then come back the next day and cut the negatives, then load your favorite negative into the enlarger, then focus it, then focus it again, then do a test print, then insert the photo paper into the enlarger, then expose the photo paper, then put the photo in the developer tray, then rinse it, then put it in the stop bath, then rinse it, then put the paper in the fixer tray, then squeegee it, then hang it to dry, then realize you did a sucky job, then do it all over again, then repeat the whole process for each photo on your reel. Yeah. Yeah, you young whipper-snappers, that’s how it’s done.

That’s also how you fall in love.


Allow me to add that Maya Angelou’s poem, Phenomenal Woman, helped me through those high school years. I wish I could post it here, but it’s copyrighted, and I don’t know all the rules for that yet. So just click on the link and enjoy. But turn your phone off first. Better yet, listen to her read it herself, since she was the ultimate storyteller and orator.


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