This Phone Will Change Your Life
A work of informed speculative fiction
It was 2019, and after three solid years with my phone, I dropped it one night at a bar, cracking its bottom-right edge. As I gazed into its blank screen, I noticed a haggard, aging face staring back at me. What was I, if not the newness of my device? Who would want me if I looked as ragged as my phone?
Luckily it was the fall, when all the device manufacturers released their latest models. The hottest thing that year was a phone whose camera had seven lenses, or “chakras” as they were called, since the camera is the spiritual body of the phone. As I stared at the phone’s marketing photos — pictures of dogs with bowties, multiracial friend groups, and couples frolicking in autumn leaves — I realized that phones were basically cloud storage for happiness. I needed this phone. Plus, wouldn’t the chakras help me take a better Tinder profile pic?
I bought the phone in Sunshine Yellow, which I thought was a great way to make a statement about finding hope during dark times. By dark times, I mean the fact that our president was pushing our country to the brink of social collapse. And also, that I hadn’t had a boyfriend in two years. But I expected the new camera would soon fix that.
Instead, over the coming months, my matches on Tinder went down not up. Were my chakra lenses turning on me, emitting only negative energy and ugly-face filters?
I was puzzled until I realized that Tinder had started automatically listing people’s phone version underneath their profile pics. By then my “new” phone was already eight months old. Aha — that was the problem. Men thought I was obsolete.
I returned to the store and asked the sales guy to show me the latest models. He pulled out the most expensive device in the store, a phone whose Auto-Delete feature would automatically delete any bad or duplicate photos one might take.
“It can also delete any memories it knows you want to forget, as well as erase the presence of anyone you don’t want in your pictures,” said the sales guy. “We call it the Stalin Filter.”
“I only take selfies,” I said, unimpressed.