rage, rage against the buying of the phone
- Gilmore Girls; Luke/Lorelai; 2,000 words. In which Lorelai finally convinces Luke to get an iPhone, and banter ensues.
It comes as a surprise to exactly no one that Luke Danes is not a fan of the smart phone. To put it lightly.
This doesn’t stop Lorelai from talking him into getting one. After a long, hard road of needling, nagging, and (when all else fails) flagrant seduction.
When he grudgingly agrees after years of clinging to an ancient Samsung flip phone, it’s mostly because he figures it will be nice to text April, since she won’t stop talking about how it’s the best way to communicate and actual phone calls are ‘so 2005.’
(“... Whatever that means,” Luke says one evening after getting off the phone with April.
“It means you’re acting like you’re in the year 2005,” Lorelai says. “Come on, grandpa. You can’t really be that out of the slang loop. Basic much? So off point. Seriously weaksauce—”
“Please shut up,” says Luke.
“Uh, actually,” Lorelai says, with great academic loftiness, “I think what you meant to say is ‘bye, Felicia.’”
“Hopeless,” says Lorelai, shaking her head, and kisses him.)
When they pull up in front of the diner, back from the long and weary journey to the AT&T store at a Hartford shopping mall, Luke is looking a little dazed. For a man surrounded by the tranquil sunshine of a delicately snowy winter afternoon, he’s seriously gloomy.
“See?” Lorelai says from the passenger’s seat, holding the new phone out to Luke. “Don’t you feel better now that you’ve joined the modern age?”
Luke doesn’t take it. Just stares at it like he thinks it might bite him, or force him to finally understand what apps are. “It doesn’t flip.”
“We’re beyond the flip.”
“I liked the flip.”
“Now when I send you a text message more than a sentence long,” Lorelai persists, “it won’t divide itself up into six different messages and only send half of them. Just think of how much sense I’ll make.”
“It’s a cell phone, not Rosetta Stone for hyper-caffeinated rambling,” Luke deadpans.
Lorelai lets that one slide. She’s a woman on a mission. “Now when you send me a text message, it can say more than ‘OK.’ Two letters. ‘O-K.’ Every text message. I swear, I could tell you dog Paul Anka ate human Paul Anka, and that’s what you’d send back. ‘OK.’ Like, hey, Hemingway: try a big word for once.”
“What’s human Paul Anka doing in Stars Hollow?”
“Not the point here, buddy.” Luke stares at her expectantly. Lorelai caves. “And obviously, he heard about the legendary dog who bears his name and just had to meet him in person. With their powers combined, they become unstoppable. Pauls Anka. Anka Squared. Until dog Paul Anka, in an ill-fated twist, stumbles across some catnip from Babette and Morey’s next door and really goes to town on the stuff. I’m telling you, a real Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds situation. And, in his hallucinatory state, he mistakes human Paul Anka’s face for a head of fresh delicious broccoli, and—”
“Does catnip work on dogs?”
“Are you really fact-checking my hypothetical scenario?”
“Yeah, because that’s the weirdest thing going on in this conversation.”
“The point is: just think of the unstoppable, eloquent texter you’ll become once that pesky keypad isn’t holding you down. You already have the fingerless gloves. Way to predict a trend, by the way.”
“If I need to tell you something more than ‘ok,’ I’ll call you.”
“And be so 2005? I don’t think so. We have a reputation to uphold as Stars Hollow’s It Couple.”
“I’ll call you,” Luke insists. “If I can figure out how to call someone on there. Where the hell is the phone part?”
“Totally irrelevant,” says Lorelai. “But remember how much you hated the keypad? Now there’s no more keypad. Just pure touch screen goodness. Won’t that be nice?”
“I guess,” Luke grumbles.
“Not to mention,” Lorelai says grandly, “you are now but one swipe – one text – away from yours truly, 24/7. All Lorelai, all the time. A Lorelai lifeline, if you will.”
“I’m pretty sure the last – oh, I dunno, eight years – have already been all Lorelai, all the time,” Luke reminds her.
“Oh no no, my friend. It’s been mostly Lorelai, most of the time. but this–” She wiggles the phone. “This right here is true, unfettered access. A real ‘ain’t no party like a Lorelai party ‘cause a Lorelai party don’t stop’ situation.” She puts a hand to her heart and rhapsodizes in a manner downright Nicholas Sparksian, “You’ll always be with me.”
“I’m with you right now,” Luke points out, climbing out of the truck.
“But not always,” Lorelai says, getting out and following him around the frosty sidewalk. “Now when we’re at work, we can talk all day, stealthily, and no one will even know what slackers we’re being! That’s the beauty of the digital age.”
“I’m not texting you while I’m working,” Luke says sternly. “No cell phones in the diner, remember?”
“Nobody remembers, hon,” says Lorelai.
(Luke hasn’t taken down the ‘NO CELL PHONES’ sign, but nobody shows it any respect anymore. It is, at most, a quaint relic of a distant age.)
“Well, I do,” Luke says. “Think about it: I look at the dumb phone, I text you, I get distracted, the pan catches on fire on the stove, the diner burns down – probably with Kirk inside.”
Lorelai gasps. “I can’t believe you killed Kirk. The man has been nothing but good to you.” She makes a face. “Well, okay, also weird and feral and sometimes naked. But mostly good.”
“Oh, we’re not blaming this on me. I didn’t kill Kirk. This–” Luke points hatefully at the iPhone in Lorelai’s hand, “–killed Kirk.”
“Kirk is dead?” rasps Babette, coming down the sidewalk.
“Poor Lulu,” says Miss Patty ruefully alongside her. “I don’t know if she’ll have your single motherhood moxy, Lorelai.”
“It’s not right for a kid to never know his father,” Babette declares. “Even if his father is Kirk!”
“Kirk is not dead,” Luke huffs impatiently.
“Luke got an iPhone,” Lorelai explains. “Kirk being dead is just a hypothetical side effect of what will happen if he actually uses it, because Luke has decided to embrace his mantle of Stars Hollow’s Very Own Nostradamus today, apparently.”
“Oh my god!” Babette screeches. Miss Patty gasps theatrically.
“What??” Luke says, flinching.
“It’s just much more shocking news than Kirk being dead, that’s all,” Miss Patty explains.
“Really?” says Luke doubtfully. “Me buying a phone is more shocking than the death of Kirk?”
“Kirk does a lotta weird stuff,” Babette says. “Remember when he decided to be a performance artist and lived in a glass box overlooking the town and kept refusing to come down?”
“There’s no way that was safe,” Miss Patty says, and they both chuckle. “And what about the time he got that terrible cat?”
“Cat Kirk. Eesh! That wasn’t pretty. Or,” Babette says merrily, “the time he was almost murdered by the world’s largest pizza!”
“Those cheese burns,” Miss Patty says, shuddering.
“But this—!” Babette exclaims, waving her hand in Luke’s direction. “This is wild!”
“It’s just a phone,” Luke says. “It’s not a big deal. I’m probably not even gonna use it that much—”
“Oh, you say that now,” Miss Patty interjects. “But it's a slippery slope. You can find everything on the internet, honey.” She leans in and adds meaningfully, “Everything.”
“I’m not gonna ask what that means,” Luke says, grimacing.
“She means the sexy stuff!” Babette contributes.
“All right, move it inside,” Luke says, ushering them forward. Babette and Miss Patty step into the diner, laughing conspiratorially, and Luke and Lorelai follow them.
“This is already the worst day of my life,” Luke tells Lorelai as they head for the counter. “This thing is making people crazy.”
“You say that like they weren’t crazy already.”
Luke glares again at the phone in Lorelai’s hand. “Is there any scientific proof that these things don’t rot peoples’ brains?”
“Okay,” Lorelai says, “slow your roll, Debbie Downer. I don’t think you’re really comprehending the positive implications here: you can text me whenever you want. Constant access to each other. That’s fun, right?”
“I have constant access to you when I’m with you in person every day. I don’t need to talk to you through a stupid shiny overpriced square put together by people in China who make five cents a day. That’s sick! It’s all sick!” Luke waves a hand in the direction of the diner customers. “Have you ever noticed that nobody looks at each other anymore? You go out to dinner with somebody, you look at your phone. What, are you texting each other about the meal? ‘Subpar asparagus, Stan!’ I ask you: where does it end?”
“Who’s Stan?” Lorelai asks blankly.
“Who’s Felicia?” Luke counters.
“Really?” Lorelai says. “We’re still on that?”
“Stan is a victim of the digital age,” Luke snarls, ”that’s who Stan is.”
“Okay, okay. Destroying civilization, ruining that sparkling Downton Abbey-esque dinner conversation you’ve always been so big on, Mr. Socialite – all good points about the evils of our new smart phone overlords,” says Lorelai, “but have you considered: this way, you can send me eggplant emojis.”
It is – frankly, finally – too much for Luke. “Why would I send you eggplants? You won’t even eat eggplant. I made eggplant last week – you wouldn’t touch it! I had to give the leftovers to Liz and TJ, and TJ kept asking me why I didn’t make his scrambled. ‘Ha ha, get it, Luke? ‘Cause it’s an eggplant.’ And I didn’t just get to hear that little gem once. Oh no. He said it over and over, and Doula kept laughing because she’s at that age where the stuff TJ says is actually funny to her – it must be because her brain’s still growing, right? – and it just kept happening over and over. The punning, the laughing, the punning–”
“Sounds like a real Clockwork Orange situation,” Lorelai sympathizes.
“So what I really don’t get,” says Luke, ”is why eggplants are okay now.”
“It’s not that kind of eggplant, bucko,” says Lorelai.
“Oh, so now there are other kinds of eggplants? Robot eggplants, huh? Eggplant by Steve Jobs. Is that what we’ve come to?”
Lorelai slides Luke’s phone across the counter, then pulls her own out of her purse and types something into it. Luke’s phone ding!s happily.
Luke stares down at the screen.
“Ah,” Luke says.
“Yeah,” says Lorelai, with a devilish eyebrow waggle.
“I feel like someone should say ‘dirty’ right now,” Luke says, squinting down at the phone screen.
“Well, you know, I’m really trying to cut back. No one wants to be known for just the one catchphrase.”
“It’s no ‘bazinga,’ that’s for sure.”
“Okay, I know you’re joking, but rude.”
“Does Jackson know about this? He should know, right? As a vegetable guy, he should know.”
“Babe, every other person in the country knows about this.”
“So what’s the deal? Do you just send these eggplants to whoever? Is it all just sending weirdly sexual vegetables to your loved ones? Is that what people are doing on these things all the time?” Luke reaches a sudden, alarming epiphany: ”Is this how people do the Tinder? Is this Tindering?? Did you just Tinder me?”
“Oh, sweet, innocent Luke,” Lorelai says, leaning forward to pat his shoulder, “you have so much to learn.”
“I’m not learning any of this,” Luke says firmly. “I’m texting April, and I’m texting you – only when there’s no cooking going on – and that’s it.”
“But you haven’t seen the peach yet!” Lorelai protests.
“That’s it,” Luke reiterates.
Lorelai looks back down at her phone and starts swiping-’n-typing.
Luke looks down at his screen. ”Oh, jeez.”
Lorelai cackles triumphantly.
“I told ya!” Babette calls from where she’s sitting by the window with Miss Patty. “The sexy stuff!”
“Never again,” says Luke sternly, pointing at Lorelai.
“Aw, it’s cute how you think that,” Lorelai replies, beaming.