Automobiles and Apps

The traffic on Interstate 35 is enough to make you download crazy phone apps.

I may have experienced a miracle the other morning. I was northbound on Interstate 35 near downtown, and I actually reached the speed limit. Many of you probably don’t believe that, but it’s true. Sure, it was only for a few seconds, but still. Anyway, once I was back sailing along at the customary 3 miles per hour along that road, I decided I best phone ahead and confirm a lunch meeting with some guys in Denton, as long as they didn’t mind eating lunch the following morning.

Now, as you probably know, when you’re stuck in traffic for a long period of time, you become much more aware of your surroundings. All you see are angry faces in every car around you, which is understandable, but really just a waste of energy. There are better ways to handle anger. That’s because it takes 48 muscles to frown, but only four to extend your middle finger. However, be careful not to overdo it. I wound up tearing a ligament in mine just driving back and forth from Dallas.

As the hours drift away, you also become more contemplative. You begin asking yourself questions that no one’s bothered to answer, such as What is the second rule of Fight Club? or Shouldn’t there only be one First Baptist Church?

And of course you’re checking your cell phone every 15 seconds or so to see if anybody liked your new Facebook post. But during this particular logjam on I-35, I noticed that my battery was almost dead, even though I’d only used it to make one phone call. I needed some answers. Quick. After a few heated exchanges with Siri, she finally suggested that the problem may be due to one of my apps that could be draining an excess amount of battery life. Siri was wrong. It was a number of apps, none of which I recalled downloading. I deleted all the culprits except one. I just had to keep it. The app is called “Yo,” and that’s the only thing it says when you tap the screen. It’s perfect for people like me who are too socially awkward to initiate a conversation or have difficulty pronouncing it and similar tongue twisters like “Hey,” “Hi” or “Sup?” 

I’m not tech savvy enough to know how those applications suddenly pop up, but with over 20 million software developers across the world, I’m sure several of them figured out how to maneuver their apps into a bunch of smartphones. There are now millions of mobile apps in the Apple store alone, and they’re adding 20,000 new ones each month. Hard to believe, seeing how Apple only had 500 apps available when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone back in 2008.

But anyway, while I was spending the afternoon doing a slow crawl past Alliance Airport, I decided to ask Siri to search her massive database for other practical apps like "Yo," and the little lady didn’t disappoint. Here are a few that I feel are indispensable.

Carrr Matey - All of us forget where we park our car at one time or another. Right? Well, there’s now an app that will tell you where it is in a pirate’s voice. After you pay the ransom.

Bristlr - This app connects bearded guys with people who love hairy faces. True. Perfect for ZZ Top lookalikes and lonely werewolves.

Siri’s favorite is one that tracks all the places you’ve ever used the restroom. It’s ideal for those times you just want to sit back and reminisce about the fancy hotels, nice homes, expensive restaurants or Olympic swimming pools you’ve ever frequented.

With all the valuable information I acquired, I feel like my two-day road trip was a positive learning experience. I’m positive I’ll never get on I-35 again.

illustration by Charles Marsh