You know the feeling you get when a call from somebody you haven’t spoken to in a long time pops up on your cell phone screen? Clotilda? What? I haven’t talked to her in ages! You go to pick up and you’re all excited. “Hey, Girl! How’s it going?” Then: "Hello? ... Hello?”
You just got ass dialed!
Ass dialing is the fastest spreading epidemic of the 21st century. According to the Urban Dictionary, “ ‘Ass Dialing’ is something usually achieved by people with very large, very talented asses,” typically when some kind of BlackBerry or QWERTY device makes calls at you as it chills out in your back pocket. You know you keep it in the back pocket or a purse: that’s why all the keys are scratched up and why, unless you remember the exact order of the alphabet, you don’t know if that key is supposed to be a “J” or a comma, resulting in a text like: “I hate my, ob.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen a BlackBerry with an intact keyboard or without coin scratches on the front and back.
Lately, I’ve been getting ass dialed a lot more than usual. At least once a week. What’s going on, universe! My cousin Katrena ass dials me all the time, and when she does all I hear are random buttons getting pressed and it annoys me to death. Last night I get ass dialed by my bro Chris. When he calls me back I’m like, “Dude I so just listened to your ass,” which for some reason happens to sound like walking, wind and loose change.
So what’s with all the ass dialing? Now that everybody has a cell phone and nobody has a landline anymore, even though Time Warner Cable swears up and down that if I just switch to the Triple Play Cable+Landline+Internet package I’ll save a load of cash, the ass dial is the next step in the evolution of random calling. Remember when you used to prank call the girl you liked, or when you looked up numbers in the white pages and called “Timothy Davis” pretending to be Santa Claus? All you had to do was *69 that shit and you were fuckin’ invincible. Then came the drunk dial where on some debauched Saturday night you’d bust out your phone and call somebody, anybody, and say: “I love you, maaaannn.” Enter the drunk mass text where you feel compelled to type to every friend in your phonebook, “I’m so druopk hahaha.” And now, in 2010, the ass dial, which happens now more than ever before because everybody has a smart phone. I’m amazed when I see people who still have old school phones from 2004—remember when the RAZR was the shit?
I love a good phone conversation, so when I get a call from somebody’s ass I’m a little annoyed. The thing that fascinates and worries me is that in our culture of Texts From Last Night, “sexting” and Twitter, our daily lives have become more and more about our relationship to screens. Marshall McLuhan famously said, “The medium is the message, ” but today it’ more like “The screen is the message.” You’re not calling me, the screen on your telephone is. Ever since the iPhone came out, smart phone developers are throwing out buttons in favor of screens. Small screens, big screens. The thinner the screen, the better it’s supposed to be. Taxis in New York all have TV’s in them. I’m looking at a screen as I type this. Go to a music concert and all you see in the audience is a sea of screens. People have whole convos via text message, and in the middle of a conversation will stop and look down at their screens to send/read/reply to a text.
The screens themselves don’t bother me, because we’re just moving the way of technology. Although it is kind of frightening to think about what the next evolution of the screen will be in five-20 years. But I would really like it if you called me from time to time instead of your phone, m’kay?
Cue the music: “Stop callin’, stop callin’, I don’t want your ass anymore. Don’t leave your phone in the ass of your pock-et.”