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Apples and Sheep

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The real issue is the phone. I am almost at the end of the contract that binds me to Verizon and to my pink Blackberry Curve. It hasn’t been a bad run; I’ve never had an issue with Verizon aside from their draconian tendency to declare a payment “late” five minutes after it’s due, and I mostly like the Blackberry. It has limits, though, the Blackberry – I would like a bigger screen, faster connections, and the ability to play music from my iTunes library. I have long dreamed of a single device that would replace the Blackberry/iPod Touch combo that I now carry everywhere I go for more than five minutes, and that dream could, of course, be answered by an iPhone. That slender, shiny object has long been the Holy Grail of technology about which I have barely allowed myself to dream; we are a Verizon family, I had A Contract, it was Terribly Expensive. In a world filled with war, poverty and oil spills, it seemed beyond petty to spend time thinking about a phone, even a phone that would play my music, offer me Doodle Jump when my oral surgeon left me in the chair, and allow me to use my index finger to scroll swiftly to the last comment on a post. I do think about it, though, growing faintly fevered as I contemplate the possibilities. No more juggling the Blackberry and the iTouch while driving. No more endless scrolling with the little ball to get to the bottom of a screen. The end of receiving calls asking me if I had intentionally made a phone call when I had, in fact, dialed accidentally through pocket or purse.

The good news is that my husband, himself more interested in the new Droid technology, has figured out that I can leave Verizon, buy an iPhone and start a new relationship with AT & T for a mere $100.00 plus a tiny bump in the monthly bloodletting. The bad news is that the possibility of owning an iPhone has rekindled a deep-seated conflict for which there is no therapeutic treatment. I believe, in my heart of hearts, that I am a Mac person. I am writing this on a Toshiba PC, and I have never actually owned a Mac, but I know in some inexorable way that I should have a sleek, white Apple product on my lap. My husband believes that the whole Apple marketing strategy is aimed at hooking rich, white sheep; he reminds me often of the “Simpson’s” episode in which Lisa gets an iPod and becomes, briefly, a worshiper at the shrine of a thinly veiled Stephen Jobs. Do I want to be one of those sheep, he asks me, using an arguably less good operating system, and one which offers me no real benefits or improvements? I do. I really, really do.

They are beautiful objects, those light, white Macs, and I feel certain that being relieved of my heavy, 17 inch black laptop would be the first step on the path to Technological Enlightenment. I also believe that pulling a Mac out of one’s laptop bag at a coffee shop is like a secret handshake; the other Apple People smile a faint, smug smile and admit you into the inner sanctum. I have bought the “I am a Mac” ads, hook, line and sinker. Macs are for people like me, creative types, liberals, music lovers. They probably come with the home page set to “Salon” or “HuffPo.” Never mind that their allegedly intuitive navigation would actually be more difficult for me after 13 years of using a PC, or that I am unlikely ever to make or edit movies. I am emphatically not the dowdy old guy with glasses; I am the hip, young guy from “Dodgeball” who may be dating Drew Barrymore.

I am a sheep.

My parents, my brother and many of my friends have Macs, and I take every possible opportunity to play with them. I love their lightness, their brightness, the cuteness of the icons. I am dazzled and stricken with envy at the ability to sync everything between Mac and iPhone so that one’s calendar, playlists and documents are available in miniature form. At a local bakery I recently saw a college student studying for finals, her high, round table sporting a MacBook, and iPhone and a pristine cup of coffee. She was maybe 20, lithe and blonde, her hair in one of those casual ponytails that made her look breathlessly sexy but would make me look like Kathy Bates tearing down walls in “Fried Green Tomatoes.” I knew, then, with a pang of desire unseemly in a follower of Buddha, that if I could just get that stuff my life would be different. My fingers would grow longer and attractively manicured on the keyboard, my legs would lengthen, and I would undoubtedly develop a faint odor of fresh laundry and spring flowers. My writing would become magnificent, my grocery lists would be miraculous, and every e-mail would resonate with a unique combination of incisive wit and admirable pragmatism. How could it be otherwise?

A sensible, independent person in my position would understand that Droid is the latest and greatest, and that it would be smarter to stick with Verizon, pick a phone that used Droid, wait for their new music library system, and revel in my PC by installing Microsoft 7.0 in all its considerable glory. The grass is sleeker, whiter and cooler on the other side of the fence, but not really any better for me. The iPhone gets me everything I need in one piece of equipment, but I lose a real keyboard, which I kind of love. A Mac would really have no clear benefits for me beyond the aesthetic, and costs considerably more for the privilege of making me A Mac. For the things I actually do, as opposed to my Walter Mitty dreams, my PC and my Blackberry work petty darned well, miraculously well in the great scheme of things. It’s not like I am writing posts with a quill and parchment, or calling to make dinner reservations on a rotary phone attached to the kitchen wall. It’s only, it’s really only that I long for an iPhone with all my heart, and if I can have one, I’m going to have one. If I win the lottery I will also have a Mac as soon as I get the first check from The State of Michigan.

I am a sheep. A fat, white, woolly sheep with an Apple in its mouth.

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About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

13 responses »

  1. While I agree with Ron in a sort of moral sense — and eschewed an iPhone for similar reasons — I have to repeat what I said in a different venue: why re-learn everything about your music experience.

    As to the keyboard on the Droid (Droid is a phone, BTW, “Android” is the operating system), I almost never use mine.

    I use the voice recognition. *Humpfh, snort…*

    Reply
    • I changed “Droid” to “Android” on the Open Salon version, and I also changed “Microsoft 7″ to Windows 7.” Proud of me, Mr. Voice Recognition Fancy Pants? I’m learning…..

      Reply
  2. On the other hand, I’m probably the only person you know who has overclocked the processor and installed new Read Only memory on his phone. You can’t do that with an iPhone, but do truly sensible people want to void the warranty on an appliance that sells for $600?

    Reply
    • No, but my son would do it in a New York minute. He is a leading proponent of jailbreaking, sim card rotation and various other propositions that make my head hurt.

      Reply
  3. Ahh now I understand your post and the reason why you say you are a sheep. One with an apple in its mouth. Very good borderline genious I would say actually. It sure would be good to have a universal item that could connect BlackBerry and iPhone users together. The same would apply for BlackBerry apps and iPhone apps. Wish I could listen to my iTunes music on my new BlackBerry. Ahhh should have stayed with Apple… But I prefer BlackBerrys. Anyone for Apple and BlackBerry pie?

    Regards,

    Jon.

    Reply
    • Jon, I suspect that you are selling something (the username is kind of a hint) but since you took the time to write a real comment, and I’ve been in your shoes, I’ll leave it. I get a commission if you sell something, though.

      Reply
  4. Having glanced through the comments, I’m here to say that you and I are both sheep: *black sheep*. Black sheep own Apple everything. White sheep are the guys who made “windows” to make their computers be more like the ones made by the leader of the black sheep, Steve Jobs. White sheep are the guys who make the stock market a rollercoaster ride of spikes ups and crashes down each day, wildly running after who ever they think knows what they are doing, staring at their PCs and tweeting on their blackberries.

    Reply
  5. Ann,

    Tammy has a point kinda. There are two kinds of sheep. The ones who have no idea what is coming or why they are led where they follow. Then there are the other kind, that know why they exist, and are good with the symbiotic relationship with their leaders. Food, shelter and security in exchange for a healthy and youthful end. The biggest differance is the look of surprise and terror of the dumb ones at the end of the chute. Sounds like you have made peace with our moment here in paradise. Then there is those of us who keep digging out under the fence…….

    Reply
    • I have done my share of digging out from under the fence, but these days I am one calm and accepting sheep. I am keenly aware of, and not much worried about the chute.

      Reply
  6. Wait! Wait! I overheard my husband’s talk radio this morning discussing the newer inflated fees for cutting short the contract on cell phone service, and they mentioned that Verizon and iPhone may soon have a relationship. I have no idea how to check this out, but it was “Chicago’s Alternative Talk” this morning. You could have the best of both worlds.

    Reply
    • I am hearing that…as Bill points out in the comment below, no one is in a hurry to announce such a thing any earlier than necessary. I have heard next month, fall and 2012. I have also heard that Apple has chosen to partner with Sprint rather than Verizon.

      I will not be ending my contract early; we are making a move because it is over. We may just decide that I’ll keep the Blackberry and go month-to-month with Verizon for a bit to see if they unveil a relationship with Apple. Probably we’ll just set a time limit, wait that long, and if there’s no love match between Verizon and Apple I’ll buy the phone and switch carriers.

      They are also going to sell the 3Gs at WalMart for $97.00 starting, I think, next week in order to move them out before the 4G is available.

      Reply
  7. The iPhone 4G is, indeed, coming to Verizon. Question is when. Neither Apple nor ATT will say when the exclusivity deal ends. Most pundits think it is soon, and they won’t admit it because it would cost them sales.

    Reply

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