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The 50-year-old perspective: smartphones

I broke down and did it. Joined Middle America and got a "smartphone." At least the people who made it are smart, since they took me for $199 and some data plan I barely understand. On top of that I had to get some sort of bullet-proof case because the face of the phone is made of, get this, glass. How smart is that?

My 12-year-old put some kind of "app" on this new contraption so I can use my iPad to make a buzzing sound in the house when I lose the doggone thing (which will happen).

"Mom," he said, "don't worry even if you have it in vibrate mode, it will buzz as loud as it can," somehow indicting my hearing as well.

He put his own mug on my screensaver, presumably to reiterate who really "owns" the thing. And, to boot, Quinn somehow rigged it so the phone (OK, the voice known as Siri) refers to me as "O Beautiful One." His is rather anciently endearing, except for the fact that somehow an email copied "O Beautiful One," completely flummoxing my boss who thought she had unwittingly included Cleopatra in her email string.

But I’m lost without Quinn. He’s my programmer and app downloader and coach. I finally asked him, “How did you learn all this stuff?” since he doesn’t have a smartphone. Mr. Nerd nonchalantly replied, “I downloaded the 350-page instruction booklet and read it the day after the iPhone 5 came out.” You what? Who does that and admits it? I am not an instruction book person. Hate fine print. Happy if it just works, no shortcuts needed. But I somehow birthed a son who read a booklet for a device he did not own? No wonder he does one-hour tutorials with the ladies in church and they are happy to pony up the 20 bucks.

Not only do I have to put up with Quinn on this thing, I’m stuck with Siri too. How weird is it that your phone thanks you for saying "thank you?" And gets slightly snippy if you s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and repeat loudly, as with a mother-in-law, if she misses your question. Poor girl, she doesn't know how to work the thing either.

Today in REI, I lost my husband, got the bright idea to call him on his phone, and was pushing what I thought was the right button, sternly telling Siri to "Call husband! Siri, call H-U-S-B-A-N-D!" I got so loud my husband heard me over in fanny packs and came marching over with a "You’re embarrassing me" look I rarely get (we’ve been married 16 years and he’s well conditioned). I bet Siri would argue she found him.

And did you know the thing makes sounds? Only they aren’t typically named sounds, they are like eggplant-named sounds when you really mean "purple." They range from Tiptoes to Sherwood Forest to Time Passing. I shall be doing the Calypso just calling my mother — if Siri can find her number.

O Beautiful One can be seen wandering Hillsdale, head down, concentrating on "settings" and wondering if "Bloom" is appropriate for her text tone. If you want to borrow her coach, email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Mr. Nerd will tweet you back.