Everyone knows by now that you should never accidentally switch your phone camera to selfie mode while you’re having a shit. Because then you see your head in its natural state, and that is not what you want. All your double chins, the bags under your eyes, the inside of your nose, the entire drip candle.
You should always try, even outside the toilet, never to switch on the camera to selfie mode at an unattended moment. It’s pretty similar to what used to happen, in the pre-telephone era, when you suddenly saw yourself in a shop window on a gray day. Who is that angry person with the bent back, you thought, and that was you.
A related telephone problem that I never hear anyone talk about, but which bothers me a lot, is not being recognized by your own phone. My kids, who thought it was ridiculous that I had no security code and no facial recognition on my phone, set that up. So now I could basically put my head in front of my phone, or my phone in front of my head, and it would decrypt itself for me. That’s nice, because it’s mine too.
But recognizing that doesn’t happen half the time, and I then come up with reasons for that. This past week I had a bad case of the flu, so that’s why my phone didn’t recognize me, I thought. I didn’t mind that; I saw it as an acknowledgment of my flu. But it happens much more often. If my phone tells me I’m wearing the wrong glasses. When I wear a hat. When I cycled in the wind. When my nose is red from the cold. At least, I come up with all those explanations for all the times that facial recognition does not work and my phone very pedanticly refuses me access.
It feels like a personal attack, like being silly, because phones can do an extreme amount of things. He listens in on my conversations and then sends me targeted ads. Sometimes he even sends me ads for things I didn’t know I wanted (a pointed, flat leather shoe, a bookcase made from a sardine can). He sees that I buy a concert ticket and writes the date in my diary without asking. He collects memories from my own photos, puts some music on them and makes me cry.
But recognizing my face when I have a cold, no problem.
Just as you can project a lot onto family members and pets, you can also project a lot onto your own phone. ‘Do you think I’m ugly/tired/brightly red/windswept?’ I want to ask my phone. But I don’t. Even if he would answer, I’m sure.