Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Needing exactly that particular thing, and oh yeah my new iPhone

For someone not that particularly materialistic, I get hooked on certain things. Like my replacement Tumi bag that ended up stolen with the car and not recovered, a mere week after I'd finally started using it, years actually, after buying it. I'd thought I was pretty smart planning ahead for that replacement day.

My old prescription sunglasses, my favorites, also lost in the stolen car adventure. John's like, "what's the big deal? We got the car back!" Yeah, but not the now irreplaceable perfect bag and those great sunglasses. It's a year and a half later and I'm still upset. I can tell S. thinks I'm nuts, going on and on about the perfect bag. But to me it's like a precision tool, not a fashion item. I just use one, all the time, for everything. It needs to be a certain weight. Needs to stay on a certain way. It's got to expand for the laptop. It's got to collapse when I'm carrying less. It's got to look ok, in any setting. It's got to be pickpocket resistant. I've got to be able to find any item within, only by feel. It needs to work on an airplane.

So on Friday evening I picked up an iPhone. I'd been thinking about it for ages. Thinking but resistant. Money's tight. Did I really need it? I'm very tied to my Palm systems - my Palm desktop with it's excellent calendar and contact software. I even print my xmas card labels from the Palm contacts. I'd grown very fond of my free little LG flip cell with it's easy keypad for one-handed texting. I'd tiptoed into the future by forwarding my email to a Yahoo address (a back up system as much as anything,) which also allowed for an easy read via the phone. But I couldn't get the return address to come from one of my steady emails. And if people replied back to Yahoo back-up, I wouldn't get it in my normal channels. And I realized too, that Verizon was charging for going online, not just in minutes, or included in the texting fee, but in addition, last month over $15.

Not to mention the insidious peer pressure which had been building. I've wanted a blackberry ever since I first saw one. But the proliferation of iPhones was truly startling. Everywhere I looked, people started pulling them out. I was OK not being like some of my friends, acquiring on the first day. But over time it's grown. In so many of my meetings, people sit down, and lay their phones on the table. It becomes a totally insidious form of peer pressure. A quick photo memo here. An email there. The signature: "sent from my iphone." After ignoring it for months, finally, with a film festival trip coming up, and memories of how heavy my laptop was that I carried around last year, I succumbed.

And spent my entire weekend utzing about it. Delighted, impressed, but freaked out too. What about my Palm Calendar and contacts? I can use the Apple software but it's not as good! It's slower and clunkier! Am I being disloyal to change? Shortsighted? Maybe I should have waited for the google phones? And what about my memos and notes? What about the ruggedness of the little LG phone, and how quickly the alarms and texting come up? On the one hand, I'm hooked, and moving ahead, at the same time I'm anxious and wondering if I should turn it back in. Would I have prefer ed a Treo (Damn you Palm for letting your excellence wither away....)

Lurching into the future. Loving being able to look info up out and about. In awe about the very design of the thing. Feeling like a jerk for following the crowd. Concerned about how long the battery will last while I'm traveling. Overwhelmed frankly with how phones have become the most popular fetish object of all time! I think I've probably mentioned this before, years ago, in the Whole Earth Catalog, there was an article about addiction - and about how the cigarette pack was as much a part of the addiction as the cigarettes. The pack was portable, palm size. Always having one was a way of staying grounded. I feel like we've all transferred that addictive need in these nonsmoking years to our phones. For me, it's not a status thing per se. It's all about usability. How's it feel, how's it work on a semi-conscious level? It's a ridiculous waste of brain power until of course, all the new systems are in place, and I no longer have to question or worry about it. When I finally get the thing that works for me - it's a great relief. And I really dig in until I'm forced to change. Some new technology "need", some insidious pressure.


anitaprentice said...

Well, if you still lived here in the lost-in-time-and space Hudson Valley, you'd still have your Palm and LG phone - I have yet to see anyone have an iPhone here - it's all Blackberry all the time.

Not that I have either. But I so sympathize about the Tumi bag.

grainyms said...

That's interesting! Surprising too. No iphones at all? That's because Richard and Susan moved away...:) I emailed him the other night, just reaching out and curious, since he turned me on to my first palm years ago for which I've always been grateful. He' urged me on right away! Got one himself @ 6 months ago. No equivocation.