Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Phone That Changed my Life

On Thursday night I made a ridiculous purchase for an item I did not need, but wanted: a phone that is not so much a phone as a very pretty and enjoyable toy that provides seemingly endless hours of entertainment. With it, I can: check e-mail; noodle around on Facebook; store, purchase and listen to music; take, store and share and edit photos and video; find the nearest open gas station; and so many other things that attempting to list them here would be a lengthy, if interesting, exercise in futility.

This purchase, as much as I resisted it, has changed my life in the space of the last two days. I know that’s dramatic, but it’s true.

One of the ways it’s been transformative is by demonstrating in a concrete way that it is good for me to occasionally buy myself the best of the best, my heart’s desire, something nice. I give my husband Mowgli (not his real name) majority credit for this; he is, as I like to say, a fancy lad, and tenaciously persuasive about many things.

With this particular item, he’s been working on me for a year. Get it. We can afford it. Get it. You’ll enjoy it. Get the biggest one.

And so, after gradually realizing that he was right and I did actually want the thing pretty badly, and having verified both online and via a surprisingly decent customer service line that I was eligible for an early upgrade, I called a store near us and guilted them into reserving one for me. Then I called my husband to giddily give him the good news and outline my plan for the two of us to spend a romantic evening at the phone store.

The guy who greeted us there frowned a bit when I said I’d reserved one earlier that day, but came back from a locked room with “the last one.” We were there for an hour, I think, making changes to my service, talking about the warranty, picking a shell for the device (purple and pink, much to Mowgli’s chagrin), and getting a tutorial on the basics of the phone’s features.

During the 15-foot walk to the car, I got a little dizzy from walking with my eyes glued to thescreen. I sat in the driver’s seat, setting up the voicemail and trying out voice dialing. I’m pretty sure I had started drooling when I heard a question from somewhere off to my right: “Do you want me to drive?”

I said no, and about 15 seconds later, unable to tear my attention away from the thing, I said yes. Mowgli drove us the 150 yards to the next store, I put the phone in my bag with great tenderness and delicacy, and we shopped. When we got out of the store, I took a few photos, and spent the entire drive home trying to figure out how to post them to Facebook.

At home, Mowgli put the groceries away (usually a tag-team effort) and I went out on the deck with the phone and the dogs, downloading apps, playing with said apps, and generally trying to run the thing out of juice as instructed by the phone store guy. Eventually I moved inside and sat on the couch, fiddling with it as Mowgli watched TV. Occasionally he’d ask me something, and I’d answer on a 30-second delay, without looking up.

Then I heard laughter from my left. “What?” “It’s like when you tell me you want me to pay attention when you talk to me and I’m watching TV. Only I’m trying to get your attention and you’re staring at the phone.”

Ladies and gentlemen, my iPhone changed my life – by turning me into a man.


  1. That's terrific! I can just see you plastered to the little devil, feeding your new addiction! Great story.

    Speaking of which, I got a copy of Sauce and was totally moved by your essay. Wow. I got my husband to read it, too-- he agreed reluctantly (almost kicking and screaming) but came away a believer. He actually thanked me for 'making' him read it! You rock!

  2. Thanks for the compliments on both pieces -- I'm really pleased with both of them. You should submit to Sauce, too!


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