Rewired

February 2, 2012

Four and a half years ago, I laughed at my friend for buying an iPhone because I thought it was a gimmick. At that time I'd never used any Apple product besides those frustrating Macs in elementary school, and I wasn't so much into the internet at the time to have heard all the buzz about the thing.

Then, two and a half years ago, I caved in (quite willingly, by that time) and bought an iPhone 3GS. It changed my life. It made things that I never thought twice about easier and faster to do. And it made things I never thought once about possible. I know in the back of my mind that being able to check my email at any time isn't such a great thing but it felt so novel at the time. I also know that being able to fill every dead pocket of time isn't such a great thing but it feels good to always have a distraction ready at hand.

My favorite thing about it was that it made me feel safe. Safe that I would never get lost. Safe that I would always be a few taps away from contacting almost anyone I know. Safe that I could look up (almost) any sort of information I could possibly imagine looking up, at any moment. And one and half years ago I had to get rid of it.

I thought I could get by without it fine. I mean I did, but I always had that lingering feeling of being handicapped, after knowing what was possible. As time passed I saw more and more people using it here. There's a joke at my university that since it's so rampant with squirrels, if you step anywhere outside on campus grounds, you will find at least one squirrel in your peripheral vision, no matter what. That's what it's like here with iPhones. I became nostalgic, especially on the trains, about the times when I could read an article I saved, check my Facebook, type a few notes and have it ready for me on my computer when I arrived at my desk, and so on.

I was using a regular phone (they call it a "feature phone," how ironic) for a while here. I didn't know how to use it. Well, it was more like I didn't want to learn how to use it, because using the thing after my far too short love affair with an iPhone just felt wrong. I had almost preferred not using it at all, which is actually what ended up happening most of the time, which ended up with me being out of contact far too often. There's nothing especially terrific about being connected twenty four seven, but there's something terrible about never being connected. Simple things are hard. Coordinating to meet someone is just painful. It sucks.

So for the sake of the people who have to work with me, I finally scrounged up enough excuses to get back in the game. One and roughly three quarters of a year later, I bought an iPhone 4S. The second I turned it on, I felt this huge wave of relief, like I returned home somewhere.

It was almost shocking how quickly my every day changed. The thing is a little marvel and I can't stop looking at it. I'd like to think I'm using it for good, because I find myself reading more, jotting more things down, staying connected through those apps that are just so easy to stay connected to people with, experiencing all the useful, fun, or novel apps that so many wonderful people are developing, even listening to more music. It's like I've shifted how I think about doing anything and everything, since an iPhone can have a say in all aspects of my life, and I let it. It's hard to imagine what the train ride was like without it.

My only reservation? I'll never be bored again.