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Mrs. Librarian (who keeps me Playful) recently pointed out that my last post's headline coupled with my longish hiatus generates a certain creep factor. Sorry if I worried anyone. Truth is, I've been busy. And when not busy, I've been obsessing over my mobile phone in a very unplayful way.

I hate talking on the phone. Always have. It made my love life difficult as a teenager and has made my work life difficult as an adult. I simply and truly loathe talking with another person and not seeing that person's facial expressions. Cell phones didn't improve the situation so I was a late and reluctant adopter, despite otherwise being a certified gadget head.

My current cell is only the second one I've owned, and it's a fairly discrete flip model. I still avoid talking on it every chance I get, and when I can't avoid it, I either end or "drop" the call as soon as possible.

Of late, though, I've been thinking of upgrading to a smart phone. I've played out a few personal episodes of Lost recently, so access to mobile online maps would be nice. And if I've got the Internet, I might as well get email. As we've already determined, I hate talking on phones, so a text-messaging package that charges less than 10 cents a word (ironically, what writers used to get paid) would be nice, as would a full keypad, because T9 behaves no better than a moderately retarded mind reader.

Like any good user-centered evangelist, I've had these thoughts while playing with my current cell phone to get a better handle on its own features that I've never used. And then I noticed something, I'm embarrassed to say, for the first time. Whenever I turn the phone on, it's small screen says, "Welcome."

What, exactly, is it welcoming me into?

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