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Day by Day: Isn’t having a blue tooth a bad thing?

Up until recently I thought to have a large, discolored tooth would be a very bad thing – worse than double chins, gray eyebrows and copious amounts of facial hair. But I was wrong as I am so often when it comes to this brave new world of technology.

It all started with my new “smart-ass” phone.

I have already detailed the issues around my launch into that part of device world. I’m still getting used to calling things devices rather than by names. I mean it used to be reading meant you had a book in your hand. Now it is all about your “Kindle” or even cuter, your “Nook.” And a tablet was, well frankly, a tablet – something with paper and lines on it you used with another ancient tool – the pencil or the pen. And the “pads,” I or mini, I don’t think there is a woman anywhere who ever envisioned buying one off Amazon or using one to catch up on the latest episode of the “Good Wife.”

Now it seems to me to be a world gone mad sometimes which brings me to my latest device acquisition – my new blue tooth. First off it isn’t blue and it is not shaped like any tooth I’ve ever seen and it doesn’t go in your mouth but rather is at home close by in your ear.

The whole thing is apparently necessary because the atom-bomb-proof case Kevin insisted I get with my phone keeps the device safe from everything including my mistakenly carrying it while diving to the bottom of St. Croix River or dropping it from Washington Monument. Unfortunately that has meant that most people can’t hear me when I call them.

The other issue with my smart-ass phone is its heft. I went with the big one so it would be easier for me to read texts and apps and stuff and that’s great. The only problem – it is pretty heavy and I have developed tendonitis in my shoulder which put me in physical therapy, a series of appointments I could easily now keep track of with the nagging feature on my new device.

Kevin and my son Cory had a solution. “Mom needs a blue tooth” and I got it on my birthday. When I first saw it, I was concerned that it looked a little fragile – not a good thing to an inherently clumsy woman. The instructions looked overwhelming until I realized that they came in ten different languages, at least three I had never heard of.

I was a tad intimidated by having to “activate” the feature on the phone but I just started pushing and swiping things and I found it. It was a nice moment. I wasn’t sure it would stay put in my ear but that’s been OK as well. And those tiny buttons – just off, on and answer. I can do that.

And the best part – people can actually hear me and I can hear them and it has removed all that anxiety about spending more money on something that doesn’t work as well as the cheap “device” it replaced. But there is that whole thing about appearing like you are talking to yourself. I didn’t mind it in the car – I could be singing or something. And I love to use it at home where I can sit and the only thing in my hand is a glass of wine. But I caught myself answering a call at the grocery store and wondered what people would think.

But it is fine. The truth is if people think there is something strange about me talking to myself while picking up garlic and lettuce, it’s not such a bad thing. It may be my imagination but I think I am getting a wider berth in public places these days when I’m talking with my tooth. And after living with a Star Trek geek all these years, I kind of think of it as my own personal force field and who wouldn’t want that?

It seemed coincidental then that when the Heaton bible arrived, the current issue of “Consumer Report,” that the topic for the month was “running your home from your phone.”

Fortunately for me it is unlikely that we will be locking our doors remotely or checking the temperature in the refrigerator or turning off lights. All that would be counterproductive to Kevin’s infamous check list before we leave the house or even leave a room. And even though it promises fiscal responsibility and fresher air, there will never come a day when the Heatons will flush remotely – device or no device.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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