Yes, there are apps for that, and they’re here to help

You wake up. Your tongue feels like sandpaper scraping the roof of your mouth, the taste of tequila lingers in between molars and gums. The first couple rounds are still intact but after that seventh shot, what happened? How did I get home?

To the phone Batman!

But when your phone shows that you called your ex or some other such character who you’ve said no more than two words to in the last year, then what?

And what of the fact that you also talked to that person for an hour and a half last night and you don’t remember? OMG.

The “drunk dial” or the “drunk text,” the alcohol-induced phone call or text message that leaves you, the sender, in a stupor because you really don’t remember is a prevalent social phenomenon. Despite your Jedi mind tricks or elephant-like memory, you cannot recall even picking up the phone.

But alas! The record remains, whether it’s in the call log or the text messaging history.

You did send it and you did call

Breanne Pierce, 25, a SAIT baking and pastry arts student says, “It’s almost better to call than text because at least afterwards there’s no record. It’s their word against yours. Whereas with texting, they can show their friends or it’s still there.”

Drunk? Wait until the morning to make that phone call.
Photo by: Christine Ramos

Pierce recalls — via someone else’s memory — a night where she tapped at her phone repeatedly, rhythmically saying aloud “pick me up, pick me up” hoping that would be enough to send the message to its recipient — after several martinis of course.

Unfortunately, she did not have an iPhone 4S. Apparently, the iPhone 4S with — its Siri technology — could have understood the intention and performed the action.

The Apple website says you can “ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back.”

Oh, technology — it just gets smarter

From drunken tweeting,to texting, to facebooking or calling, social media has responded with a suite of applications that seek to curb the embarrassment factor of communicating when under the influence.

Whether it’s applications that block your chosen paramours or programs that erase all traces of your intoxicated messages, social media
is saving us from our technologically savvy yet, slurring selves.

The iPhone and Android app “Don’t Dial” offers its subscribers the opportunity to block contacts or even program a “designated dialer” for the evening. The latter allows you to hand your phone over to a friend and has her input a password only she can unlock.

So, if after last call at the bar you feel like calling your ex or dialing that guy you love but never talk to, you must clear it with your designated dialer first.

“Thank the lord for those tiny buttons and you’re stumbling fingers so that you can’t even send the text!”
– Alexandra Drouin, Drunk Dialer

The “Bad Decision Blocker” is another app that disables us from engaging in drunken calling and texting. By temporarily making selected contacts unavailable the app blocks you from communicating in your drunken state with those whose contact information you’ve made inaccessible.

“Mail Goggles” is Google’s response to preventing the author of drunken emails from actually sending them.

“Mail you send late at night on the weekends may be useful but you may regret it the next morning,” the Google website says.

“Solve some simple math problems and you’re good to go. Otherwise, get a good night’s sleep and try again in the morning.”

Apparently, mathematics isn’t the drunkard’s strongest skill. Who would’ve thought failing to answer a math equation could save you from sending an embarrassing email? Google did.

There’s also the “Last Night Never Happened” app, a “morning-after” app that deletes multiple Facebook and Twitter posts in one fell swoop. Drunken postings be gone!

Sometimes, even the act of operating one’s phone while drunk may stunt the sender from sending out a message.

MRU student, Alexandra Drouin, 23, says, “We’ve all had those times where you’re at the bar and you’re looking at your phone. You have to close one eye and you’re pulling your phone closer and farther away trying to get the screen in focus.

“Thank the lord for those tiny buttons and your stumbling fingers so that you can’t even send the text!”

Of course, there’s always good old self-control

“I’ve written out long passages, huge text messages to my ex, usually crafted on my couch at three in the morning. And I was so sure that I wanted to send them. I was positive they were eloquent and needed to be sent,” fourth year U of C student, Sean McDonough says.

“And then, I was like ‘No! You’ve done this before. Wait until the morning.’ And, sure enough, the next morning I see them and think ‘thank god I didn’t send this.’”

“We’ve all had those times where you’re at the bar and you’re looking at your phone. You have to close one eye and you’re pulling your phone closer and farther away trying to get the screen in focus.”
–Alexandra Drouin, on the difficulties of impaired dialing.

Psychologist Janet Miller says the kind of self-awareness needed to install the applications and then use them is commendable.

“You would hope that could also lead to creating your own boundaries.

Boundaries to your own behavior to keep yourself safe, not compromise yourself, or sell yourself short.”

Because alcohol is a depressant, it disengages “that area of your beautiful upper brain that stops you from doing stupid things. When that part of the brain is depressed we lose our impulse control.”

“So physiologically when you are drinking you are more likely to do things that you might want to do anyway. But that piece of you that would second guess it, is depressed.”

And Miller says if the recipient happens to be a an ex-paramour who you perpetually drunk dial, “it’s got to be based on some kind of truth. There’s some kind of unfinished business” that propels us.

The girlfriend code

Miller offers the “girlfriend code” as a method of disabling our drunk-dialing and texting behaviors.

“It’s the same thing as a creepy guy comes up to you at last call. The girlfriend code is like ‘Nuh-uh! Bye, bye creepy dude.’ Stay close to me, you’re not going home with him, you’re going home with me.”

“Same thing with your phone. Give me that phone. Don’t call him.”

Whether it’s leaving your phone at home, installing a new application, or using self-control, the battle against drunk-dialing persists.

“The whole part afterwards is the moral hangover. You know, the next day when you wake up and you have that gut-wrenching feeling of oh my gosh, what happened last night?” Drouin says.

It’s okay. Miller says to celebrate these moral hangovers “because if you did something that got you off rails, then your moral hangover will help to get you back on track — which is a great and beautiful thing for your psycho-social development.”

No one’s advocating drinking to spill the beans trapped inside of our self-censoring selves.

But when we do, be aware, technology can erase the traces of it, should we wish.

Not the embarrassment though; never the embarrassment. But who knows what Google is working on next.

cramos@cjournal.ca