My Smart Phone Might Be Too Smart

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As do many of us, I own a smart phone. Mine is beginning to act too smart, anticipating where I’m going, and when I’ll arrive. I got in my car to head to the CrossFit gym the other day, as I do most weekdays about lunchtime. My phone buzzed and announced that I would arrive at the gym in seven minutes and that traffic was light.

Who asked? Not me. For one thing, it’s Longview, Texas. Odds are overwhelming that traffic is going to be light, even at noon. Second, I do not schedule gym classes on my phone calendar. There’s no need. I know what time class starts and whether I am going to show up or not. Most days I do, but sometimes work is calling. But when I get into my car, the phone knows I’m headed to the gym.

That is just creepy.

I was coming back from Dallas last week after a doctor’s appointment. As always, coming and going, I stopped at Buc-ee’s in Terrell. I always fill up, use the impeccably clean restroom, and grab a 75-cent cup of unsweet iced tea. Sometimes I switch it up and get a Topo Chico, which is a Mexican sparkling mineral water. My daughter, Meredith, got me hooked on Topo Chico, which contains nothing bad for you. As soon as I start the car back up, my phone announces I’m 90 minutes from home. Thunderation! Maybe I’m going to Tyler. I’m not, of course, but I’m tempted to just to thwart the smart phone.

An aside for anyone who needs to head to Dallas this summer: T

ake Highway 80 west instead of Interstate 20. I have been stuck on that interstate for 30 minutes more than once due to summer road repairs. So I finally gave up and took the venerable highway, which meanders through pastureland, punctuated by small towns — Gladewater, Big Sandy, Mineola, Grand Saline, Wills Point and, finally, Terrell. That’s where I cut through to Buc-ee’s and a pit stop, before heading through Forney to I-635. I take I-20 back home, since the road crews knock off at 5 p.m.

I went online to find out why my phone is able to anticipate mos

t every move in the car. Best I can figure, the phone only figures out where I’m going — or at least thinks it does — if I have enabled Bluetooth, which allows for hand-free calls. I don’t actually use Bluetooth for calls, since nobody can understand what the devil I’m saying. But it comes in handy for playing music from the Spotify app on the phone. The tradeoff is that my phone apparently is spying on me. Of course, given my utterly ordinary life, I doubt Big Brother is much interested in the information. Oh, he’s at CrossFit. Now he’s at Buc-ees. Yawn.

Young people take it for granted, but folks of my generation appreciate how amazing it is to walk around with a computer in our pocket or purse, a device t

hat can remind me it’

s time to give the dogs their flea medicine, set the timer to remember to turn off the water filling pool or to read the New York Times while waiting for a haircut. I can find out who won the 2015 World Series in a jiffy, or answer emails. I use the phone for actual conversations much less than its other functions.


We listened to a young preacher on a recent Sunday, who began his sermon describing how reliant he was on his smart phone, to make lists, calendar reminders, looking stuff up on Google, etc. He reminded us that technology can be a great help if used properly. At least that is my take on that portion of his sermon.

When we left church, my phone buzzed and announced we were five minutes from home.

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