I did it. On the eve of the iPhone’s seventh anniversary, I finally bought my first smartphone. That’s right, I’d been using a flip-phone all this time. I didn’t even have a calling plan, I had one of those pay-as-you-go things that my wife says only ex-cons use.
It’s not that I’m a Luddite – I’m on the computer day and night. Hell, I was working professionally for a website in 1998 (the year Google was founded!) and bought my first domain name in 2001. It’s just that I hate phones. I hate making phone calls, I hate receiving phone calls, and I. Fucking. Hate. Voicemail.
But smartphones are so much more than a phone, you say. Tell me about it. I have to dodge texting oafs and Candy Crush-playing zombies on the subway every day. I steered clear of heroin when I saw friends acting like that, so why did I give in and buy a smartphone? Didn’t I learn from Philip Seymour Hoffman that you’re never too old to succumb to vice?
Frankly, I’m a little surprised that you would crack such a tasteless joke, but I’m glad you asked that question.
Not long ago, our company hired two consultants to do some design work for our site. When I met them, my first impression was that they were a bit too corporate and a bit too slick. But when they struggled to remember the term “navigation bar” as they presented a design that reeked of GeoCities, that impression was completely wiped away. All I could see was OLD. Yes, technically they were old, but that wasn’t an issue until they acted like they were using a phone modem to get online.
Concerned that the consultants would see my ex-con phone and offer me a partnership, I decided it was time to upgrade.
I got the cheapest option I could find (well, there was a cheaper one from Walmart, but that would have been like buying cookies from the American Nazi Party). For a moment I felt like I was enacting a low-budget version of the middle-aged man who buys a convertible to feel young again, but thankfully the analogy doesn’t hold because not everyone has convertibles but everyone has a smartphone.
The next day I was running late to work so I had to skip most of my morning routine. As I checked my email on the subway platform I looked up at my fellow commuters fiddling with their smartphones and had to accept that, just like that, I had become one of them.
I wonder how much Google Glass costs per month?