--Reality Truck, February 15, 2010
My first BlackBerry arrived as a Valentine in February 2008. I have a troubled relationship with technology and it wasn't an easy transition, but I am nothing if not loyal. It has taken four long, arduous, co-dependent, passive-aggressive years, but this was the weekend they finally drove me to iPhone.
|2001, A Space Odyssey, or: Me in 2008|
I wrote, in March 2008, "Long after everyone else in my line of work embraced the iPhone, I finally traded in my seven-year-old Nolia for a Blackberry. I liked that Nokia. I knew where the buttons were. There was nothing wrong with it. But when I finally wore the number 8 off of it (and lots of important phone numbers have an 8 in them), I gave in and went to the Evil Empire store. I went to the front of the non-iPhone line, and two hours later, I walked out with a Blackberry and a vaguely queasy feeling."
"The model I chose was, of course, obsolete long before I got to the car, but I'll still probably have it for the next seven years. I don't like change. I don't even like to talk on the phone."
The Blackberry and I had a pretty good six month honeymoon, and then the downhill slide began. August 2008 is when the first Pearl (trackball) died.
It wasn't a total loss though, because that's also when I met Lucas, the guy who's been taking care of my phones ever since:
"Adam stepped behind the desk and conferred with Lucas. Oh sure, maybe he wasn’t quite as tall. Strawberry blonde. A sprinkling of freckles. Glasses. But Lucas is NOW the man I’m REALLY gonna marry. (I’m nothing if not a serial monogamist.) Turns out, I’d been running with the wrong crowd all along. I mostly socialize with iPhone types (I think Adam was double-holstered into a couple of them), and they didn’t know how to help me. Nor did they care. I’ve decided iPhones are the glitzy hot girls from highschool. We blackberries are the earnest workaholic smart girls with glasses who probably did the iPhone’s homework. And it was Lucas, a blackberry guy if ever there was one, who came through for me."I met many people along the way, because my blackberries were constantly breaking:
"I reflected on all this as the store filled up with hollow-eyed souls who looked more desperate than I felt. I was sanguine. I was relaxed. I had faith in Lucas.By August 2009, the bloom was most certainly off the rose.
But I could (over)hear the entire conversation of this guy Hiram who kept protesting into the 'courtesy' phone 'the damn thing ain’t but six weeks old. How is it NOT under warranty? Piss on THAT!' Hiram was very tan and wore a gold chain around his neck. I felt for him.
Hiram’s frustration was only exceeded by the once-smug soccer moms/tennis ladies who came in optimistically bubbling about their 'insurance,' only to visibly deflate when told about their 'deductible.' They were like once-pert little flowers who’d just been left too long in the evening sun. (Story of their lives I imagine.)
Through all this, Lucas hunched over my phone, punching buttons, blasting it with canned air, and speaking into a headset to (perhaps) a control room somewhere in Texas.
Much like the kind of brain surgery where the patient has to stay awake, he’d left it active while he operated— which meant I could hear it ring—and then I could hear the distinctive three-tone bleat that all blackberries emit. I felt like a mother who couldn’t defend my young while some predator gnawed away its insides."
"All I know is, I have gone through three Blackberry pearls in one year, and two bolds in the last six months. In all of them, the track ball has stuck. When I upgraded to the Bold, they insisted the design flaw had been remedied." In fairness, thanks to Lucas, they warrantied all of them out, without any argument. (You can watch the American Tourister 1970s commercial here which approximates my "beta testing" of blackberries through the ages.
Even back then, I readily admitted, "I realized I was starting to sound like an abuse victim trying to rationalize away the damages." With inertia, loyalty, and a stubborn refusal to admit I was wrong thrown into the mix, I insisted, "I still think there are Blackberry people and iPhone people. I am a word-girl. I gotta have a keyboard at my fingertips. Touchscreens are a little too Philip K. Dick-ish for me...I nearly cried when I had to replace my old dial-microwave with a flat-front digital model."
By December 2009, I wrote, "could they work any harder to convert me to iPhone? Yes. Yes they could.
In 2010, I traded in the Bold for the Torch, and coincidentally, I happened to do it on the day that the Provider somehow knocked out service to the entire southeast. "There were massive signs on the door saying they didn't know when the outage would be restored. And the store was filled with angry would-be torch-wielding Villagers. One guy was mad because he couldn't bring his dog in the store, another middle-class guy in a golf shirt seemed on the verge of beating his child in public, but contented himself with hissing through clenched teeth, 'you touch one more thing in this store, and I am going to ... go bananas.' I got the sense that 'bananas' was the only euphemism he could think of that was child-protective-services friendly. But under my breath, I promptly responded "bananas. B-a-n-a-n-a-s. Bananas," because it's impossible not to."
I hated the Torch instantly. It was slow, and weighed as much as a puppy -- it was like trying to talk on a Labrador Retriever.
In the intervening time since then, two important things happened. I got an iPod touch for my birthday, followed by a Valentine iPad2. They turned out to be Apple gateway drugs. Except for my hatred of iTunes (which never synchs properly, and should just behave more like Netflix: sign in, and access all your stuff, where ever you are, on whatever device -- we are not all pirates, Steve Jobs), everything about them has been dreamy. They're light, they're skinny... they don't play a lot of videos because of that whole Flash feud thing, but they are otherwise Magical. I was sold; I was long past due for an upgrade; and yet, inertia ruled the day for quite some time.
When I ran into Lucas last Summer while we were moving our office lines, I told him I'd be making the switch to what I expected would be the iPhone 5 in the fall. He said, "let me know, we'll add staff."
He had to work through dinner last Friday to make the transition seamless, while his four-year-old child waited patiently for him in his office, but I walked out with nearly everything imported successfully from the blackberry relic to the shiny new iPhone.
I'm not entirely happy with the 4s. It was time for the 5. Siri isn't exactly revolutionary; there were already apps for that. Of course, it could be better, faster, thinner, but couldn't we all?
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