You know you live in San Francisco when you have a thousand apps to organize your life, and you’ve never felt more harried and electrified by technology.
Here’s how it works on a typical day for me in San Francisco.
Because the alarm of my eighties’ digital clock sounds like a fog horn, I opt for a softer wake-up in my first app of the day with melodies that chime, twinkle or ripple.
En route to turning on my electric Bialetti coffee maker, I open up my WhatsApp account to check on my European family and friends. Texting is free with most United States’ phone plans so few Americans use Whatsapp. If you want a quick response from a European living in America, text via Whatsapp. Europeans covet it because it’s free with Wifi. I surf through my two family chats, and a group chat of neighbors ranting about pesty mosquitos and crooked antennas in the building of our rented-out-apartment in Rome.
Once I’ve taken care of the Europeans, I switch over to the Americans on my I-Messages. By 7am, I have usually had rapid text warfare (on average about 15 messages exchanged) with my carpooling cohorts to orchestrate which child will eventually flee to a soccer field and which one will flock to a dojo. My Teamsnapp sports-app helps, indicating times of soccer practice (plus eventual games). It then conveniently links me to either Waze or Google Maps to figure out if I should travel North, South, East, West or check into the local hospital for an IV of sugared water to keep me hydrated and at full battery power.
Driving to school around 7:30am (after pressing a button on my car key that self-starts the car’s ammunition), I sync in Spotify and a playlist blares in the background. We feel old school in our gas-guzzling Fiat as we sit in gridlock traffic next to numerous, electric Priuses, Teslas, and self-driving Google sedans.
The kids ask me how they will be getting home that day. Will it be the local bus (using their transportation app, Moovit, to figure out bus schedules), a Kango (Kiddie Uber, complete with reliable drivers with background checks who are presumably not serial killers) or will I pick them up? (Apple Maps says walking home from school would take an hour. The kids veto that. I continue to refuel my gas tank.)
Driving back home, I stop off at the dog park so my Labrador can romp around with her favorite bulldog. While she plays, I schedule a trip to the beach for her later that day with either Rover or Wag!, a dog-walking app.
I pull up Evernote, and write down all the things I need to do that day, and I’m quickly reminded of everything I didn’t do yesterday. I switch to Day One, a journaling app which enables me to write down thoughts and observations wherever I am in a chronicling archive of material which I tap-into for future blog posts or essays.
My I-Calendar app shows me it will be a busy day of blue work appointments color-contrasted against yellow personal appointments. I won’t have time to make it to the supermarket in person so I order all my groceries through my Instacart app and schedule them for delivery later that day.
I make it home, open the wobbly front door, whose door knob needs adjusting, and I groan at the mirror that has been leaning up against the bookcase, calling out to be hung on the wall for the past three months. Tired of waiting for my unavailable handyman, I log into my Task Rabbit app, and locate a picture-hanging lumberjack with a toolbox who is free to pop over tomorrow and drill a hole into the wall to secure the mirror.
I try to write a paragraph and glare at the cursor obnoxiously blinking at me on the glaringly blank page that stares at me.
Police car sirens shriek outside and a few helicopters hover over the Bay. I pull up my Nextdoor app to find out what is happening in my neighborhood. Nearby tenants are already texting about the visiting out-of-town Senator who is being escorted in a motorcade to a nearby government building. In a separate feed, Nextdoor also reports that mailboxes have been vandalized and Amazon packages stolen on our street (the SimpliSafe Home Security app video-records intruders, reports the lady who lives next to the dry cleaner that she chastises for not using the ecological products advertised in its storefront).
In a week, I will have to attend a black-tie gala, and my closet and I are not getting along. I debate whether I should rent a ballgown from my Rent-the-Runway app or splurge on a strapless, satin Alice&Olivia jumpsuit from the Outnet app, the outlet app of my Net-a-Porter app. I get distracted and consider renting an entire new wardrobe for the month.
I eat lunch and read my book – on Libby, my library app which loans me e-books for free. I log in my meals to Noom, a dieting app which encourages me to make healthy food choices but instead makes me hungry.
A couple of hours later, my Life360 app sends me a message indicating that my son has left school. I click on the map of the app to find his location, and the navigational software shows him somewhere in the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. Hoping it’s a glitch, I open my other navigational app, Find Friends, and I’m reassured to find him at the bus stop around the corner from school. Later that night, I will be able to bust him as having been to Starbucks, when he tells me he no longer has bus money. Big Mamma was watching him.
I return to my writing, with a detour on my Facebook and Instagram apps where I’m quickly reminded that all my friends are much more interesting than I am. I log into my budgeting app, Mint, which confirms that San Francisco is an unaffordable city. I switch to my banking app, and wonder if there is any way I can add a zero to my checking account by pushing a button.
I open my Health app, and discover that I have not fully reached my daily 10,000 steps. I text a friend, and share an exhaustive summary of my day with her that is no longer than a tweet.
She suggests that I order some cannabis or edibles on Chill, a concierge service app that delivers right to the doorstep. Nope, can’t do it. Phone’s dead.