Don’t Look

I had just finished rinsing the shampoo out of my hair when my cell phone rang. I grabbed a towel. Who was calling?

My sister.

“Cover your eyes,” I said, draping myself with the towel. Water ran down my face.

She hung up.

Story_squareShould I call her back? Should I dry myself off first?

The phone rang again. It was my sister again. Oh, good, she’d accidentally hung up.

As I pushed the accept button, I noticed that she had used FaceTime this time.

Facetime is a video phone call.

Well, it was my sister and she only had to see my dripping hair.

“Why are you FaceTiming me?”  I have a knack for insightful questions.

“I wanted you to see my new tooth.” She’d just gotten an implant and so she stretched her mouth to reveal the bright tooth.

And then she started giggling. “Where are you?”

She tried to be polite. She really did. But her tale about the trip to the dentist and her report on her plans for her day were interrupted by snorts and chuckles.

When the techies worked on the chips and circuits that would allow us to combine phone calls with video, I think they had images of salesmen using charts to illustrate quarterly earnings. Or giggling babies reaching out to touch their grandmother who lived across the country. Or a soldier connecting with his wife and kids from a foreign country.

And I’ll bet all those things happen.

But I wonder if their vision ever included new teeth and dripping hair.

An easy writer’s tool

A smartphone is a gift to writers and here’s another reason why.

We had just finished a guitar-led round of folk songs for the local nursing home when Mary turned to me. “Remember the old cassette tape recorders? That sure would be helpful when we learn new songs. We could listen to them over and over.”

I pulled my phone out of my pocket. “I always have a recorder with me.”

iphone1She stared at it. “I have a phone like that.”

“Then you don’t need a tape recorder.”

It’s easy to forget the tools we already carry with us. Not all writers use smartphones – and a few refuse to carry a cell phone. But most of us carry our cell phone all the time. And if you do, check out the voice recorder on your phone.

My iPhone 4s will transcribe messages as I speak into the microphone. I have collected story and article ideas while on a walk, allowing the phone to write down what I’m thinking. It will convert spoken words into text messages or grocery lists.

Obviously, I can record interviews for articles. Once at a workshop, the speaker announced he would do a special poetic reading. Although I didn’t record the entire workshop, I did record his poem. And I’m glad I did, for he did an eloquent interpretation.

There is a bit of a learning curve but it’s worth experimenting with the feature. Very few of us carry a cassette tape recorder with us all the time but most of us have a cell phone.

Have you checked into your cell phone’s features? Do you have favorites?