iLife: The Struggle to NOT order the new iPhone continues…

It’s no secret that I’m an Apple addict. When they write my life story, in fact, they might just call it iLife.  

Okay, not really. I just really love my iPhone. And my Apple TV. And my Macbook Air. Not the iPad so much (although the hubby uses that. For a guy who hates technology, he really likes that iPad) though. And, full disclosure, I do my reading on a shamefully un-Apple Kindle, track my fitness with an Apple-friendly Fitbit, listen to music (from my Apple device) with Bose headphones, and drive a non-Apple car (but only because the iCar doesn’t exist yet).

So obviously, I want an iWatch, even though it may replace my Fitbit.

In olden days, I was the first one in line at the Apple Store for the new phones. Yes, I was a later convert to iReligion, not joining the iRevolution until I got my iPhone 4S. But once I had it, I was hooked. I was up at 3am to order that first one at midnight Pacific time (which, honestly, is only a little earlier than the ungodly hour at which I wake up on school days to get a morning iCardio session in anyway). And I did the same with my current iPhone, the 5S, because, hello, they offered a new iColor for that one! And even though the back is always covered in a super cute case, everyone could tell from the front that my phone was far superior to theirs based on that little gold ring. And after all, that gold ring is what every little girl dreams of!

(I mean the ring around the button on my iPhone. NOT a wedding ring. Although I like having that ring too. Gollum would be so jealous that I have BOTH kinds of gold rings! Suck it, Smeagol!)

However, because I got that gold iphone 5S last year, my contract isn’t up with Verizon for another year. And yes, I’ve thought about breaking my contract and going to AT&T for the new phone, but I’m on a family plan now. And there are other people’s phones at stake (namely my darling husband, who has my old iPhone 4S because he had a nasty habit of buying Samsung phones with keyboards and then breaking them. Not because they were pieces of crap—which they were—but because he would get angry when the technology on them didn’t work exactly how he wanted it to and throw them on the ground. After the third time he told me his phone “broke,” which is code for “I had a temper tantrum and threw it,” he was assigned my old phone. Which, despite his assertions to the contrary, he adores. Because it’s an Apple product. And I won’t hear any iProtestations he makes.). So terminating my plan isn’t a feasible option.

Nor is paying out of pocket for the phone without the contractual upgrade, because I seem to have somehow unwittingly turned into an adult with financial responsibilities.

I know. It’s terrifying to me too.

But the husband and I bought our dream house in February, which, while still being our dream house, is also a money pit. And when it comes down to having hot water to shower with or the iPhone 6, I’m afraid the hot water wins.

Let me rephrase that: hot water is the bigger priority, but only because I’m not that impressed with the iPhone 6.

Sacrilege? Yes. But before you excommunicate me from the iChurch of Apple iSaints, hear me out.

I, like many Americans, struggle with shopping addiction. We’re living in a material world and I am a material girl. On a teacher’s salary.

Shh. Did you hear that? It was the sound of debt mounting.

I’m not as bad with it as some of my shop-a-holic brethren, but I’ve been known to assert my control over a bad situation by binge shopping. And this iPay thing sounds like a recipe for disaster when you can simply wave your phone at a cash register and take home anything you want.

I actually like the act of waiting in line (okay, not that part) and pulling out my wallet, then carefully selecting which credit card can handle the purchase I’m about to make. It forces me to ask myself if I really want what I’m buying.

Waving a phone to pay is like getting frozen yogurt. It sounds so innocent—until you load your cup with all of the candy toppings and are suddenly eating six times your daily recommended caloric intake in one delicious sitting.

No bueno.

But I could learn to exert a level of self-control over my purchases, even with the freedom to pay with the device that is already always in my hand.

My bigger gripe with the new phone is the size. I know that older people (cough my dad cough) think the iPhone is too small as it is. Their receding vision necessitates a font size that can be seen from space (seriously, you can literally read my dad’s phone from space. He uses 12 trillion point font. Yet he claims he can see perfectly and doesn’t need glasses. iDenial much?), and a larger phone will allow more than one letter to be displayed on the phone’s screen at a time. So I actually think that the iPhone 6+ is a great option for the older generation and people who don’t mind having the equivalent of an iPad mini as their phone.

I, on the other hand, have 20-20 vision and don’t WANT a bigger phone. I actually wish the iPhone was about half its current size. I don’t use it as a reading device or a video watching device or a gaming device. I prefer to use my Kindle, my television, and social life for all of those purposes. Tabletizing phones doesn’t help the fact that an iPhone is already too big to fit in a fashionable woman’s pocket. So I’m actually really disappointed that the iPhone 6 is ALSO bigger than the current models.

So, I’ll wait, hoping in vain that when the iPhone 6S comes out, the S will stand for smaller.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll probably be on the corner panhandling for money for the new iPhone by the end of the week.

iLife forever!

The NSA wants my cell phone data? Meh. Most of it is on Facebook anyway!

So this whole “the government is going all Big Brother on us” thing is everywhere right now, and I’ve come to an important conclusion about it all.

I don’t really care.

Like I know that, as an American, I should care that my Fourth Amendment rights are potentially being violated. But honestly, I had to Google what the Fourth Amendment even was. And considering that we’re talking about an amendment written so far before the existence of cell phones that it was fifteen whole amendments before women were allowed to vote, I’m not sure that it’s actually being violated here.

In talking to a lot of my friends, I found many of them (except for the extreme righties, who are still protesting the amendment that gave my kind and people of other races the right to vote and who claim creationism is the only thing that should be taught in schools) don’t care either.


But Sara, you freaked out over all of Bush’s Homeland Security stuff! You’re such a hypocrite! You’re only saying this stuff is okay because you support Obama.

Well, you’re right and you’re wrong.

I DO support Obama. I’m the freaking poster child for supporting Obama. I own a sparkly Obama tank top.

And wore said tank top on stage with Bruce Springsteen. Because that’s how I roll.

But there are several key factors that I feel aren’t being addressed here.

For starters, I’ll admit, when the idea of Homeland Security stuff was first introduced, it sounded scary. It felt like the Harold and Kumar 2 version, where the dumbest possible people were going to look for the worst in everyone and we’d all end up with Big Bob in Guantanamo if we even said the word “bomb” within thirty miles of an airport.

Want to know how much my daily life has changed since then?

Not a whole lot. Is it annoying that I have to check my luggage to go anywhere because I’m incapable of packing my toiletries in small enough containers to carry on? Yes. But I don’t travel that often. And if we’re being entirely honest, that is the full extent to which the NSA has overall interfered with the quality of my life.

So with that said, if the government has already been monitoring my phone records without my knowledge and it hasn’t been a problem, I’m fine with them continuing to do so. If they start sending the SWAT team in every time I text my best friend that I’m going to kill my mother (which I would NEVER say, mom, honest! Please don’t hurt me!) then okay, I feel my Fourth Amendment rights are being violated.

But, at least as far as we’re being told, they’re only monitoring who people are contacting, not the content of phone calls or text messages. So the government now knows that my dad calls me every three minutes for approximately nine seconds, that my best friends and I text a lot, and that my mother calls me every single afternoon at the very second that she leaves work/as soon as I start working out. Oooooooh. Seriously important stuff here people!

The truth is though that for law-abiding citizens, cell phone records aren’t exactly super incriminating. Sure, you don’t want your significant other getting ahold of them if you’re cheating. But the government doesn’t care if you cheat. The media does, if you’re famous, but the government practically condones cheating.Hell, so many people in the government itself cheat that they’d probably cover for you, if that’s what you’re worried about!

It’s also worth noting that anyone who thinks they have any privacy, yet uses a smart phone/has a Facebook or other social media account/uses a cell phone at all for that matter, is an idiot. Even if you DON’T walk around in public having excessively loud cell phone conversations about extremely personal matters (which most of us do), it’s super easy for people to hack cell phones. Not me, because A) I don’t have those skills and B) I don’t care, but people who DO care can hear your conversations if they want to regardless of who they are/if they work for the government. And if you’re updating your Facebook with what you ate for dinner every night, you’re broadcasting your every move to the world anyway. Why do you really care if the government knows WHO you’re talking to when you’re putting all that info out there on your own?

And to be totally honest again, even if the government actually WANTS to listen to my conversations and read my text messages, it would be a HUGE waste of their time, but I don’t care that much.

Want to know what they would learn?

Here’s the conversation that my mother and I have every day.

(Phone rings) Me (without even looking at the caller ID): Hi mom.

My mom: (Depressed Eyore voice) Hi Sara.

Me: What’s up?

My mom: Ugh, I’m just leaving work. (Pause) Are you at the gym?

Me: Yup.

My mom: I should go to the gym. But I had such a long day. Blah blah work blah blah feel fat blah blah work blah blah your father blah blah work blah blah blah you’re a horrible person and fail at life blah blah.

Me: I actually had something interesting happen today. I—

My mom: I’m pulling into the garage, gotta go, bye!

Me: Sigh.

EVERY SINGLE DAY. I pity the government agent whose job it is to listen to that EVERY DAY. Really. I do. But if they want to, cool. Good for them.

And if they want to read my text messages, they’ll see a lot of conversations with Ary about the zombie apocalypse (don’t ask), a lot of emoji combinations that are code for “I’m going to jump off a building” and “I super lesbian love you” between me and Darya, messages telling the boyfriend that I’m heading to the gym and asking what he wants for dinner, and ten billion pictures of Rosie. And a bunch of pictures of Rosie pooping, which I send to the boyfriend. Yes, I’m a weirdo. But he laughs every time I send those, so it’s really okay. And he even makes up little songs about her pooping. We really are the perfect couple.

But I’m getting off track. If the government wants to see all that, then yes, they too can see pictures of my dog defecating. In fact, I’m happy to send those pictures to them if they want (I even have a few politicians topping my list of people whom I’d like to send pictures of Rosie pooping to! John Boehner, be ready!) Now if they start coming after me to see if I scoop the poop based on those pictures, I’ll start yelling about my Fourth Amendment rights, but until then, I’m cool.

Yes, I would be much more freaked if we were still in the Bush years. NOT because I’m a diehard Democrat (see pictures above) and being a hypocrite, but because I trust the Obama administration to not misinterpret what they see in my messages. I’m half convinced that the Bush administration went into Iraq over a text acronym that someone intended to mean, “Where’s My Dinner?” or something along those lines. With Obama, at least I’m not worried that an army of NSA SWAT guerrillas will come swinging in through my windows screaming about “Weapons of Terrorist Functions” if I text my best friend and ask her WTF she’s talking about when she starts saying where we should hide when the zombies come for us.

Although, maybe the government SHOULD be reading our conversations. I’d rather be safe than sorry when the zombies DO rise up. Which, according to Ary, is happening any day now.

Which actually concerns me more than Verizon’s cooperation with the government.