"Woken by the Reboot of a Phone" -- a short story
He was unexpected woken by a soft glow emanating from the area of his nightstand. Shortly thereafter he heard thunder. It was 5:37 and 13 seconds in the morning. The light and sound had came from his phone. He was not due to wake up for another 22 minutes and 47 seconds later when he phone would typically chime a ring tone that he had downloaded called "New Day".
Upon glancing at the phone, he saw that the phone had just performed at automatic software update and had to reboot. With the Android phone model named "Thunderbolt", thunder was the sound it made ever time it rebooted. Who was the genius who came up with this "cute" idea? Oh well, too close to morning to go back to sleep now. With the exception of missing 22 minutes of sleep. This morning was otherwise a typical morning for him. Life is fine.
His specs for the month are 43.2 MB of data usage, 17 minutes of talk time, 10 received text messages, and 4 sent text.
At about 15 city blocks away towards the southeast, she woke at exactly 6:15 am to the tune of music coming out of the speakers of her phone by her nightstand. The coffee maker was set to automatically brew coffee with the process completed at 6:27. By the time she enters the kitchen, a hot cup of coffee is ready for her. Tapping her iPhone, she commands news podcast to broadcast while she ate her oatmeal and sip her coffee. For her, this too was a typical morning. Life is fine.
Her specs were 37.8 MB of data usage, 9 minutes of talk time, 23 received text messages and 14 sent text.
Running on a treadmill at 6.8 miles per hour at a 3.2% grade with his phone streaming jazz into his ear via the black-earpiece, he stops when he sees the digital readout showed 2 miles ran.
He takes the eastbound train to work. It always arrives on the platform at 12 past 7 except when it is late. But it is never early. The phones on this train were 33% Android, 29% Blackberries, and 25% iPhones, and 13% others. The number of humans on this train was slightly less than the number of phones as some humans carry two phones. It was safe to assume that everyone on board had a phone including a blind person who is accompanied by an seeing-eye dog. The dog being the only sentience being onboard without an phone -- yet.
She leaves her house at 6:55 tapping her phone to start the pedometer counting as she walked in the brisk air to the station of the eastbound train. She arrives at the platform 4 minutes before 12 past 7 -- right on time. Tapping her phone stops the pedometer counting. She likes to track how much walking she does. If it is not sufficient, she walks around the block a few times after work to achieve her requisite step count.
On this train, 17% of the phone were playing music. While 6% were playing an audible book downloaded on the phone. 15% were retreiveing and sending emails. While 14% were receiving and sending texting. 18% were busy rendering some website. 11% were displaying the text of an ebook. 5% were playing funny videos from YouTube like "Charlie bit my finger". 8% utilizing the full capacity of their CPUs running games like "Angry Birds". And 1% of the phones were actually transmitting voice.
The remaining 5% of the phones were doing who-knows-what as commanded by their human operators. It is safe to assume that there was not a single idle phone aboard.
Upon arrival at his cubicle at work, he connects his phone to his computer via a USB cable. This miraculously invigorates his phone giving it the juice that it needs to do all the things that is demanded of it for the rest of the day. He clickity-clackity types on his computer for about 4 hours or so. Until he has to queue up at the cafeteria lines to pay for his lunch. At the register, he taps a few keys on his phone and the register reads "Payment received. Thank you."
He types another four hours into his computer with an occasional scratch of his head. And then takes the 5:43 westbound train which heads in the direction away from his computer that he was just typing on. Life is acceptable.
Upon arrival at her cubicle at work, she connects her phone to her computer via a USB cable. This too miraculously invigorates her phone giving it the juice that it needs to do all the thing that is demanded of it for the rest of the day.
She types into her computer and every so often her phone would give out a chime whereupon she gets out of her seat, stretches, and then she resumes typing.
The pattern continues hours upon hours, and days upon days, occasionally interrupted by her placing earpieces into her ears so that her phone can stream free internet radio while she types. Life is acceptable.
On the 5:43 westbound train home, the phones were doing essentially the same things during the morning commute. Except fewer phones were processing emails and more phones were running "Angry Birds". There were actually one or two phones that went idle as their operators passed out from weariness before the train was able to deliver them at their homes.
With her phone's display not in view, it was difficult to ascertain exactly what her phone was doing at the moment. But based on her lack of an earpiece, minimal tapping, and focused concentration, he can only assume that she reading an eBook. In the old days, no assumption was necessary, it would have been obvious and it would have easy to say "Is that book any good?"
Having already seen the top 10 funny videos on YouTube and already passed level 10 of Angry Birds, he ventured to say "How is that book that you are reading?"
"Oh, I'm not reading a book" she replied. Seeing his disappointment, she quickly added, "But I am planning on getting the audio book of the newly release biography of the creator of this thing," -- waving her iPhone.
"Want to chat more about it over coffee?", he asked.
"Here, let me tell your virtual assistant." he responded.
She tapped her phone, bringing up Siri the virtual assistant. He spoke the address into herphone. The two phones did a blue-tooth synched and exchanged vCards.
As she pulls her car out of the driveway, her phone starting giving her turn-by-turn instructions to the coffee house.
As he pulls his car out of the driveway, his phone connected wirelessly to the speakers of his car and starting playing his MP3 playlist.
They talked over coffee. Not through their phones. They walked along the river, with no earpiece in their ears. They listened to music, produced by real musicians in front of them instead of through the view screens of their communication devices.
Life is still fine, and still sometimes acceptable. But now perhaps it is just a tad bit better.