A dear old friend is visiting me this weekend and sitting talking this morning we ended up in a conversation about our mobile phones. Most specifically the discussion he and I had was a typically modern one of comparing the app’s we had on our iPhones. In past years I have often gotten into chats with others where we were recommending books, music, movies, TV shows, vacation destinations, cars and more. Now in the 21st Century “app conversations” have become the norm.
The longer one lives the more 5 or 10 years does not seem like a long time. It seems to be about that length of time since I had the first mounted cell phone put in my car. As I consider it I realize that was around 20 years ago. The only portable option at that time was a portable phone half the size of a cinder block or an eight pound “bag-phone”. In those days mobile use cost about $1 a minute so making calls was kept to essential reasons and the contact was very short. And yes, I admit it. Early on a few times I did pretend to be talking on a call while driving to show off this new doodad I had. Car phones were still pretty rare then and people looked when they saw someone on one.
About five years after getting my first car phone, the first small portable phone came into my life. At the time it was the smallest cellphone made but even then I did not carry it with me on a regular basis as both incoming and outgoing calls were still quite pricey. The little phone lived in my briefcase and was turned on and carried when I was either expecting an important call or else needed to make one while on the move. It’s clear in memory the first call I made from the back of a cab while away from home when my phone was able to do this new thing called “roaming”.
It has long been my nature to resist a bit of whatever is fashionable and “in”. I did the same with mobile phones. While I had them, it was a personal statement to resist carrying one all the time as long as I could. Only about seven years ago did I give in and that was largely because I lived out of the country where my only phone was my mobile phone. From there a cellphone began to become an accepted appendage. The rebel contrarian is still within me though. When I go on vacation I resist even turning my mobile phone most days. My resistance is odd since in other ways I have always been an early adopter of electronic technology such as computers, sound equipment and gizmos in general.
I knew things were changing rapidly from an experience in 2001 at one of the last concerts at the old Mile High Stadium in Denver. My son who was nineteen at the time bought the tickets and invited me to go to the Moby concert with him. I was one of the oldest people at the show with the average age being somewhere between 18 and 21. The music was great and hanging out with him is always enjoyable. At that show I first witnessed a phenomenon I had never seen before. One of the favorite pastimes of those attending was to call friends who were there and to try and locate each other in the crowd. With phone in one hand while flailing the other arm to be seen was how friends hooked up at the show. I had never seen anything like it.
At this concert a decade ago there was a big display by Apple which up until then was thought of as just a maker of Mac’s used mostly for graphics work. Apple’s computers were not mainstream and had somewhat fallen out of favor. What Apple was showing off was this new contraption called an “iPod”. Those in their big display were available to try out and were the original large models which were not even for sale to the public yet. I was impressed with what I saw and heard and knew in yet another way the amount of technology headed into our lives was about to take a leap forward.
Fast forwarding to today, I carry my iPhone with me all the time and feel somewhat naked and exposed without it. I have 4+ pages of apps and the phone is on 24/7. It is difficult now to imagine my life being any other way. Such things as the ability to text, use apps and receive calls while walking on the street in a foreign country make the computer in my pocket feel indispensable. I am grateful to have it. The fact that the cost of making calls, texting, buying apps and moving data is affordable today is also on my gratitude list. Now that there are many types of smart phones what can be done with these units will continue to amaze and mystify as technology accelerates. I look forward to it!
When I began writing this today, my feeling was I was going to express gratitude for my iPhone and all I can do on it. Now that I am here to the end portion of this blog I feel thankful for something related but different. The gratefulness I feel at this moment is for my ability to change and adopt this new way of doing things. Yes, I resisted at first but that was due only to my stubborn nature and consistently trying to be different (which is not always a positive thing). Not only can you teach old dog new tricks, sometimes the old dog learns the new trick on his on. Woof woof….
It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts. Harry S Truman