Sixty Percent

Sixty percent is the charge you tell me,
When I wake up in the morning after
Having charged you up all night.
And sixty percent is what you tell me
After I have used the phone all day.
Do you expect me to believe that a
Full day of use can take away no charge
From a cell phone battery, or that
A full night’s charge will not help at all
To increase your charge all the way?
If you believe that by not communicating with me
That you will be able to prove some kind of point
You are deeply mistaken indeed.
For you are dealing with someone who appears to
Draw a great deal of silence from others who
Should be able to communicate pretty easily.
But I have the measure of you, dear phone,
For I have read of how to restore you back
To the point where you will tell me how much
Charge in your battery that you really have,
And I will draw the information out of you
The way an investigator draws the truth
Out of a sullen and uncommunicative suspect.
I am not a man who can be trifled with.


This poem reflects on something that in its description is a classic example of a first world problem but which has, as might be expected, some deeper resonance.  For the last few days, my cell phone has shown a consistent value of 60% of its battery charge, regardless of what time of day I have looked at it, or whether the phone is charged in or not.  In other words, the cell phone battery has entirely ceased to communicate the levels of its charge to me.  This is the first time I have seen this happen in any of my phones, although I have read and researched that it happens to phones quite regularly and there are some recommendations to resync phones and their batteries every few months.  Indeed, the recommendation given is to drain the phone battery entirely and then to charge up while the phone is off, something I do from time to time accidentally but now will do on purpose because my phone battery has decided to go uncommunicative.

Indeed, it is this aspect, the desire of my phone battery to avoid communication with me, that is a problem of deeper resonance.  Indeed, the problem is one that is sadly all too Nathanish [1], as many people have witnessed over the course of the last few years in particular.  Although I am a person who communicates often, in the sense of writing into the world, I am not a person who often engages in intentional communication.  Very often what I write reaches other people without a formal acknowledgement and at times I hear that what I have written has caused some degree of offense and consternation through back channels, as the people who were offended by what I have said or (more commonly) written have chosen to talk about those offenses with other people, who talk with other people, and so on and so forth, until someone finally thinks to tell me.  While I consider this to be a highly irritating thing when it comes to people, it is obviously more comic when one is dealing with one’s phone, because it can be assumed at least that my cell phone battery was not offended by a blog entry that was (often correctly) interpreted as having personal relevance without being read and interpreted with a hermeneutic of charity.

Yet it is true that in expressing my irritation at the lack of communication from my phone that I am also, at least indirectly, expressing my irritation with people who deliberately seek not to communicate with me.  Most of the time I consider myself a fairly busy and easily distracted person, yet I am aware that I am the sort of person whose intensity and focus can be deeply terrifying to those I choose to direct my focus to.  This self-awareness does not come without some sort of unhappiness, though.  While it may be funny to readers to think of my interrogation and perhaps even torturing of my cell phone to get it to communicate with me, it is likely less amusing to think that this sort of intensity will be directed at people who are not communicating with me, and yet at times this has been the case.  There are no doubt people–I can think of at least a few–who view the thought of a polite conversation with me with as much pleasure as I would look forward to a polite conversation with a police officer who thinks I might be going a bit too quickly through town.  But truly the state of one’s communication in life has gotten to a terrible level when even one’s electronics do not want to communicate with you, for whatever reason.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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