There was a time when I owned nothing that started with the letter “I”.
My first actual iPhone sighting happened innocently enough at a sporting goods store some years ago. While I stopped to look at some over-sized fish in the aquarium which was located in the center of the store, a movement to my left caught my eye. A middle aged man was walking briskly past a row of fishing poles seemingly on a mission of extreme importance.
Trailing some twenty feet behind him and walking just as briskly was a young teenage girl, presumably his daughter. It appeared to be your typical father/daughter shopping trip on a lazy afternoon in Arizona. Only the daughter didn’t seem to have her heart into it.
What really caught my attention was the fact that she was having a hard time keeping up with her presumed father. The focus of her attention was primarily on an object she was wiggling her thumbs over and holding in front of her face with both hands.
Every few seconds she would glance up from the object just in time to avoid crashing into a rack of camouflaged jackets or a stack of duck decoys. Quickly adjusting on the fly she wouldn’t miss a step as she continued on a rapid pace after the man in front of her. All the while keeping her main focus on the object in her hands.
What in the world? I thought. This must be one of those newfangled smart phones I kept hearing about. The ones that you could communicate with by sending emails and something new called “texting”.
Not for me I thought.
The sight of this young girl walking through a sporting goods store while trying to focus on something she was clutching in both hands looked so bizarre to me that I knew this would be something I would never do.
My retirement was more important than a phone, I thought. Who has time to stare at a phone all day? My time was more valuable than that.
Fast forward to about five years later when, just a few days ago, I found myself desperately looking all over our house for my own – aforementioned iPhone.
I just returned from the gym. (Yes, I know. Don’t be too impressed. A treadmill three or four times a week does not make me Charles Atlas.) Anyway I couldn’t find my phone and my anxiety level was rising precipitously.
Where could the darn thing be? It wasn’t on my desk. It wasn’t on the kitchen counter. It wasn’t on the living room coffee table. It wasn’t anywhere it would normally be. I started turning the place upside down in a panic.
I could feel a wave of nausea rising up within me as I imagined a few days, even the rest of this day, without my iPhone.
WHERE COULD IT BE?
I sat down on the couch and tried to calm myself down. I guess I really didn’t realize it until this moment, but this little gadget that I usually kept inside my shirt pocket as I went about my day had become a lifeline.
Not only did I use it for phone calls and texting, I used it to keep up with the news, sports and weather. I used it to keep in touch with all my friends on Facebook. I used it to look up places on a map, to calculate my gas mileage after filling up my tank, to find my way around in the dark with its flashlight, to pass it around the table at restaurants and show everybody pictures of my granddaughter. It seemed like every spare moment of my day was spent reaching for my iPhone and staring into its gleaming screen at something – or someone – or somewhere.
With my head in my hands I sat on the couch and tried to think. Where could it be?
I must have left it at the gym!
I jumped off the couch and ran out the front door. In a matter of seconds I was transported to the Indy 500 Speedway zigzagging in and out of traffic as I made my way back to the gym. I must have left it on the shelves where we put our stuff.
As I approached the gym, my car came to a screeching halt in the parking lot. I jumped out and slammed the door and was soon standing in front of the familiar shelved cubicles in front of me. Nothing. Someone’s backpack here. A cap and a set of keys there. No cell phone. No black iPhone sitting by itself waiting for its owner to reclaim it.
A wave of terror rose up within me.
The iPhone store. Maybe they can help me.
Back into the parking lot I went, jumping into the driver’s seat and slamming the door.
Once again back out into the streets. Weaving through traffic as if I were in a James Bond movie. Both hands on the wheel in a death grip as I drive the ten minutes it takes to reach the store.
Walking through the door I was approached immediately by a pleasant young man who had a large device with a screen and keypad hanging from his side.