Keep In Touch With Friends

I have two apps, both on the homescreen of my iPhone, that I use to make sure I do everything I’m supposed to do in the course of a day. Apparently it takes two to keep my life together.

There are reminders to take my medication (despite the fact that my cocktail of pills keeps me sane and functional, you’d be surprised how often I forget them), to meditate, to write a daily blog post (ahem), to drink more water, to reach Inbox Zero (this one hardly ever gets checked off my list), to practice Spanish, and even to floss.

I don’t particular feel anything about these tasks — perhaps annoyance (Duolinguo, do I have to?) or relief (oh yes, I am so turning off all my screens after 10PM), but those are fleeting and inconsequential, really. The one exception, which is listed on both apps, is “Keep In Touch With Friends” — and I didn’t notice it until just today.

My best friend of twelve years texted me to tell me about a guy she had been seeing for a little while (circa 4-5 dates), and how he ended up being a huge jerk who criticized muffins she baked him — this is actual truth; I wouldn’t even know how to make up such a thing. The troublesome bit is that I can’t remember whether I responded or I checked off that daily goal first.

I do remember checking the boxes, while my mind fell straight down into my lap — these days, there’s not much difference between heart and mind, nor do I much trust either, but I knew this wasn’t a chemical trick. This was my best friend —

— and I choose that verb tense wisely. Can you still call someone a best friend when you don’t call? When you don’t Skype? When every time she brings up a friend or a guy, you have to ask, “Which one is that, again?”

We live too far away to visit, but I don’t see friends of mine anyway. It’s an anxiety/depression thing. People take it minimally personally. I don’t Facebook like I used to — my business life exists on Twitter, so that’s my landing page for the majority of the day. I would hate to say that I don’t interact with people who don’t have Twitter accounts, but I would say it anyway.

Keep in touch with friends — apparently a reminder I need? Shouldn’t there be something in my nature that compels me to reach out to others for companionship outside my marriage? Humans are said to be social creatures; does this reflect on my humanity?

I feel melodramatic.

Nevertheless, there is a part of myself that is either missing or comatose. I used to be a party girl, you know. I would take shots of Everclear, really lose at strip poker, and text the entirety of my local address book every Thursday. What’s going on this weekend?

An invitation out feels like a chore now. I can’t drink without becoming filthy drunk after one beer, so I avoid alcohol altogether, which is another kind of sadness; I once was also the girl who trolled the town looking for the best Manhattans. What instead? Board games? Dinner parties? Coffee dates?

Droll.

I have things to do — editing, writing, occasionally relaxing when my schedule permits. The touch of ‘keeping in touch’ has begun to feel itchier, wool-sweatery and it used to be cashmere.

And everyday, the reminder pops up to Keep In Touch With Friends, and I hope someone contacts me, or that I can make a suitable excuse to contact them — you see, just now I got a text asking “How’re things?” Today I’ve succeeded — because apparently that’s what people do, and I, somewhat sadly, have forgotten that part of being a person.

Managed

My life is being managed by apps.

I have one to give me morning energy, and one to track and analyze my sleep. There is one that reminds me to take my medications, to say my daily affirmations, to floss, learn Spanish, and talk to my friends.

I have another to actually teach me Spanish.

Three keep me writing. One manages my finances, tells how much I can spend this month, this week, today ($28.21). There are three for Facebook alone. One lets me swipe left or right to apply for available jobs.

There is one to find me movies to watch, two that help me procure food, and two more that in theory could help me work out if I ever felt inclined to do such a thing. I have one to provide me with guided meditations based on my mood.


I’m embarrassed to be so managed.

I am a 26-year-old woman. I should remember to take my crazy pills. I should remember to say my affirmations — they’re on a Post-It on my desk, after all. I should remember to speak with my friends. I should remember to write my articles, to blog daily, and to keep track of my money.

My therapist would prompt me to say “I could” instead of “I should.”

Three apps are too many for Facebook, and I use YouTube yoga videos to work out — then again, I have the YouTube app, too.


I don’t remember things, though. It’s a side-effect of the medications.

More than that, I’m lethargic. I need occasional prodding to continue to remember the things I must do to exist the way I want to exist.

One app has a reminder to eat only until I’m not hungry. I gain points every time I don’t binge on doughnut holes.


If I don’t attend to them, though, the apps become landmines. I step upon one and guilt explodes in all directions.

I’ve never used the Pomodoro app, in spite of its many recommendations by writers. I just can’t commit to four writing sprints in a row.

Too much productivity scares me. Even the thought.


Especially the thought.

Goddamnit, I wanted to write about apps.