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.

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I love my phone. I just hate talking on it.

I hate talking on the phone.

Those of you who know me are sitting there with a very puzzled look on your face. I know. I always have my phone in my hand. Picturing me without my phone would be like picturing my dad without coffee. Like Linus without his blanket. Like Harry Potter without his glasses. Like Cher without an inappropriate outfit. Like Britney Spears without a baby bump and bare feet. It just doesn’t work.

I’m completely and utterly addicted to my phone. But I hate TALKING on it.

I think the reason for this is because I’m so ADD. I have trouble focusing on a conversation with no visuals to go with it. For example, I don’t mind talking on Skype. (Although, to be fair, if I’m talking to you on Skype, I’m probably looking at MYSELF while talking to you. Because I’m just that vain. But you really can’t tell. So it’s okay.) But JUST the phone? I can’t do it for more than a minute or two.

So I go to extreme lengths to avoid having to talk on the phone. I don’t have a landline for this reason. A landline has NO purpose except for talking on the phone, therefore I won’t have one in my house. Plus, the only people who ever called me on that phone when I had one were solicitors and my grandma. Pass. (Sorry Grandma. But you have my cell number, so I don’t feel TOO bad.)

I also NEVER answer my cell phone except when my dad calls. And I only answer his calls because they last for less than 30 seconds and if I DON’T answer when he calls, he immediately assumes I died and keeps calling every ten seconds until I do answer. I’m not quite sure how that logic works. If I’m dead, I’m clearly not going to answer ten seconds later, and if I’m alive, clearly I’ll call him back when I see the missed call. But I try to answer on the first call just so he doesn’t tell Facebook that I died and cancel my account because I missed his call while I was in the shower or something. THAT would be tragic.

The next step to avoiding using the phone is to never listen to voicemail messages. My outgoing message used to say not to leave a message because I wasn’t going to listen to it, but then people started leaving long rambling messages just to piss me off. It worked. But my friends know at this point that I’m not going to listen to their messages, so if they want to talk to me, they should text or email me.

In general, this eliminates all need to talk on the phone unless I have a story to tell that’s too long to text (which is, I think, EXACTLY what this blog is for).

Unfortunately, sometimes this doesn’t work out the way I’d like it to.

Like with my Grandma. Who I love dearly, don’t get me wrong. But she and technology are mortal enemies, and cell phones are no exception. She has a cell phone (the most basic phone possible. She says she wants all the technology that mine has. But I just can’t deal with that, so she has the type of cell phone that existed in 1986, just smaller), and she decided at one point that she wanted to learn how to send text messages. I thought this was great, because it meant there was one less person I would have to talk to on the phone.

I should have known better.

After an entire afternoon devoted to teaching her how to send, receive, and read text messages, I thought she had a pretty firm grasp on how to do it. So I showed her picture messaging.

Big mistake.

The next day, while I was at school, my phone kept vibrating. Finally I checked it during a planning period, assuming that there had to be some emergency because no one would so completely spam my phone while I was at school unless someone had died or at the very least was trapped down a well somewhere and I was the only number available to dial for help.

No.

It was 47 picture messages from my grandma, all of my grandfather sleeping in his easy chair. Then 286 text messages asking if I got her picture.

When I called her to ask her to please stop blowing up my phone, she told me that when I didn’t respond, she figured it meant that none of the messages actually sent, so she just kept resending them.

Luckily, by the following day, she had forgotten how to text and I never re-taught her. I answer her calls now, just in case she suddenly remembers how texting works.

So if you call me, and I don’t answer, try not to be offended. It’s not you, it’s me.

Unless I don’t like you. Then it’s you.

So if you TEXT me and I don’t respond, then it’s definitely you.

And please don’t send me picture messages of my sleeping grandfather. It’s seriously creepy and weird. And old people, like dogs, look dead when they sleep sometimes. No one wants to see that.