April 24, 2013 —
My brand new iPhone 5 sparkles more beautifully in this moment than it ever will again. It has yet to be scratched, dropped, or cracked. Inevitably, it is all downhill from here.
Transferring information, contacts and apps from an old device to a new one was the easiest it’s ever been. Literally I just plugged the new iPhone in, and a few minutes later, it is exactly the same as the old iPhone. It feels like magic.
The first cell phone I ever got was in the summer of 2002 after I graduated from Honesdale High School. It was a Verizon Motorola brick of a phone with a retractable antenna. I purchased the phone with my mother at the Galleria Mall in Middletown, NY a few weeks before I left for NYU.
The screen was in two colors, a sort of a black on yellow deal. Texting was new to me and also sort of a nightmare, but eventually I got pretty good with the T9 word recognition software. Oh and it had that game Snake on it, too.
The antenna fell off a month or so later, broken in a pocket. But thankfully the phone worked basically the same. The antenna sat for months on a dorm room shelf.
I still feel terrible about not shutting the phone off at a very small avant garde play that I went to. My loud electronic ringtone came screaming through at a particularly inopportune moment, shattering the silence of some poor actor’s monologue. I was in the front row and it took me more rings than it should have to turn it off.
In 2004, I upgraded to an LG flip phone. Back then, I stood in line at the Verizon store and waited for what seemed like hours as they transferred my contacts from one phone to another.
“All done,” the Verizon fellow said with a wavering smile as he handed the phone back. It was as if he wasn’t really sure that the transfer worked.
I loved that flip phone. It was smaller than the Motorola and fit more easily into a pocket. It had a color screen, which I thought was super extravagant. But hands down the best thing about it was hanging it up. A snap of your hand and CLICK. Genius.
The first smartphone I got was a BlackBerry. It was late 2005 and at the time, it was that or a Palm Trio. Honestly I think I chose the Blackberry because I thought it would be more professional looking. Boy, was it ever. I was a fast typer on the tiny little keyboard and got really good at BrickBreaker.
Emails straight to my phone were both a blessing and a curse and I started checking this phone more than I ever had before. The little red attention light would go off and I would reach for it.
Few seconds to spare, reach for it. On and on. It was all downhill from there.
On the subway this morning almost everyone’s face is lit by the eerie glow of a full color screen. A car full of zombies in tiny white headphones as the train rocks back and forth.
Catching my reflection in the darkened window, I look exactly the same. I am one of them.
Cue the Twilight Zone music.