Every time I get in my car, my phone lights up and tells me how far I am from home. I first noticed this little trick several months ago after I downloaded the new update for my device. Of course, like any iPhone owner after a new update, I experienced several emotional reactions to this interesting habit my phone had developed.
First, I was amused—delighted, even—to discover how smart my phone had become overnight.
Way to go, phone, for knowing how long it takes to get somewhere and for telling me this information entirely unsolicited.
Then, I noticed that it only pulled this little stunt when I got inside my car. I was unnerved by the fact that somehow, this device knew my location and often guessed where I was going based on the time of day. Immediately following my discomfort at being so well known by a cell phone, I became infuriated when it would light up with an “8 minutes to home” message. It developed into a challenge, which is no real surprise considering my uncanny ability to make everything into a competition.
Eight minutes, huh? I’ll be home in five. Just you wait, you stupid electronic. I’ll prove you wrong. YOU’LL SEE!
Now, however, there is a new emotion that catches in my throat every time I see that little screen light up with my geographical location. “One hundred and thirty minutes to home,” it tells me. Every time, I blink back a few tears, and I wonder when the system will adjust—when I will adjust. When it will notice that I’m not going home anymore. Part of me hopes it never catches on.
If you didn’t know already, I have moved to a new city to start a new job and live in a new house. All kinds of new.
As I was telling folks about my big move, I heard so many precious and kind words of affirmation.
“You’re going to do great!”
“That’s so exciting!”
“We’ll miss you around here!”
“I’m so proud for you!”
“Things won’t be the same when you’re gone.”
All those things were nice, and I soaked every bit of it right up. But, I have to say there was one phrase I heard that really, really touched me. It came from my precious friend Madeline. As I was lamenting about the limited Sunday afternoons we had left to spend at Ricebox or Bluecoast, she said to me, in the kindest and sweetest of tones, “Oh please, Elizabeth! Don’t be dramatic!” Doesn’t that just tear your heart out? So precious. The eye roll that followed really sent this sentiment out of the park.
But she was right. There’s no real need to be dramatic.
(Though, I have certainly been about twelve different shades of it throughout this whole process.)
After all, I’m only one hundred and thirty minutes from home. And it doesn’t matter much if my phone updates the geographical location of my living arrangements. Because the truth is, wherever I am, Florence, Alabama will always be home for me.