Cartoons are starting to spring up about people and their smartphones.

I love the one showing adults with phones in one hand and leashes (for seeing eye dogs) in the other, or the one showing a caregiver guiding the texter (who has his eyes on the phone) across a busy street.

I particularly like the one with the hand of an unseen person on a steering wheel while the driver reads phone email.

I confess, I am becoming one of those people.

On road trips I sneak a peek at my phone every ten or fifteen minutes. I check baseball scores, weather, Facebook, Twitter, emails. If a question arises, I whip out my phone and go to Safari and look it up.

I check my phone in the night to see what time it is. I play solitaire in the doctor’s office. I keep my phone in the grocery cart, checking things off my list (I have an app for that). I’ve even been known to read books on my tiny phone screen.

I haven’t yet succumbed to games, although pop ups for Internet games seem to infiltrate some of my serious attempts to solve solitaire puzzles. I suspect money is involved when all those slot machines whirl in an attempt to get you hooked.

I take endless pictures. My phone camera is better than the digital camera that takes twice as long to get out of its bag and to set up.

And then I ask myself…what did we do before smartphones? Did we wait for our bills to come in the mail? Did we physically deposit our checks at the bank? Did we go to the library or bookstore to get books? Did we look things up in card catalogues when writing papers or reports ? Did we actually talk to people on telephones?

I’m not much of a texter. I do it, but I don’t have flying fingers. I still like to hear the tone of voice, the hesitations, the bursts of excitement on the other end of a call. On the other hand, having spent many years in city government, it would have been far less stressful to look at a screen and read someone’s rant, rather than getting my ears blistered by an irate citizen. I would have smiled as I pushed the delete button.

It’s the Internet’s fault. No Internet, no smartphone. But I have to wonder how long it will be until we no longer call a phone a phone. So what shall we call it? Wizard, Brain, Genius, Hal? Uh, maybe not Hal.

I know, let’s ask the phone!











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