Attached at the technological hip

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rockwoodfiles2-205x300When my alarm went off this morning, I groaned, rolled over and reached under my pillow to give it a good shake to shut it up.

My alarm clock is on my smartphone, you see, and when you shake the phone, the alarm is silenced into five more minutes of precious snooze time. After a couple more snoozes and shakes, I finally sat up on the side of the bed and fished the phone out from under the pillow so I could find out how well I’d slept.

That’s when it hit me – just how attached I’ve become to a piece of technology that didn’t even exist seven years ago. I’m sleeping with it, for Pete’s sake!

sleep cycle appWe all know smartphones are, first and foremost, phones. But lately phone calls seem secondary to all the other ways I use this little technological buddy. Not only does mine wake me up, a sleep app called Sleep Cycle also measures my movements during the night and tells me how long and how soundly I slept. You see what I mean? I don’t even know if I slept well or not unless I check with the phone first.

weather channelAfter noting my sleep quality percentage, I trudged off to the bathroom, checking the Weather Channel app along the way. I needed to know if the morning temperature required a t-shirt or a sweatshirt for dropping the kids off at school. In the olden days (less than a decade ago) I’d just stick my head out the door and see how it felt. Now the phone tells me if I need a sweater.

While the kids ate breakfast, I checked the phone again because there’s a link to the school’s website where the daily lunch menu is posted. “The cafeteria is serving hamburgers today. So do you want to eat that or do you want to take a lunchbox?” I asked the kids.

calengoo appAfter school drop-off, I checked the phone again because the calendar app knows my schedule better than I do. It even has a built-in “nag” feature that texts me 15 minutes before my appointments so I won’t forget. If I ever lose my calendar app, you’ll find me wandering the streets in a daze wondering when and where to go.

During lunch, I used the phone to check the calorie count of a slice of pizza (and then immediately wished I hadn’t) and also figured the waiter’s tip on the phone’s ccandy crush appalculator. Later I read the newspaper on my phone and took a picture of Kate’s new smile, minus her two front teeth which were recently claimed by the Tooth Fairy.

I used the map app to find an office building across town. Then I texted Tom to ask him to pick up bread on his way home from work. And yes, if you must know, I crushed some candy during a few minutes of down time. Even a busy mom needs a few mindless arcade game apps now and then.

kindle-app1Tonight I’ll snuggle up with a good electronic book dimly lit on the smartphone’s screen. And when my eyes get heavy, I’ll use the white noise machine app to send gentle waves crashing into my bedroom. After one more click on the alarm clock app, I’m off to dreamland once again while my phone sleeps next to me, counting digital sheep.

How is it possible that a pocket-sized gadget could be a phone, alarm clock, weatherman, computer, secretary, camera, calculator, roadmap, recipe book, newspaper, library, video arcade and white noise machine? And more importantly, how in the world did I ever get along without it?
gwen rockwood

Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s new book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Photo credit: Lisa Mac Photography

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