A few nights ago, I spent my entire evening arranging photos in pretty albums on my laptop. Two years this month, I started a blog as a personal experiment in committing to writing – I sat at my desk and, in a couple of hours, my Mac and I had created a site. Yesterday, I decided to fritter my entire day away – I wrote, I watched some old British tv and checked out some new music. Oh, I also researched whether installing a new operating system on my computer would be a good idea. All of it, on my Mac.
Most of it would have been unimaginable to a technology averse ditz like me, if not for an impulse purchase a few years ago – on a lonely birthday, I sank money I didn’t have into a MacBook and I promptly enrolled into one-to-one lessons that I believed I would need for some time to come. My Israeli instructor was charming and eager to teach me but it quickly became apparent that what kept me going back to the Apple store were his bewitching green eyes rather than what knowledge he could impart. There was nothing I couldn’t figure out by myself given a little time and a faltering posed question on the “Help” menu of my computer. I was hooked. I started a love affair with my laptop first and my i-Phone a year later and now I am planning to betray them both with an i-Pad.
My friend Elizabeth confessed to me, a few days ago, that she had no idea what I was on about when she read a post of mine on my MacBook and that I sounded slightly deranged. Until, that is, her boyfriend gave her an i-Pad and it all made sense. Another Steve Jobs groupie was born.
Steve Jobs died today. Many (mostly flattering) things will be said about him in the days to come. I never met Mr. Jobs, I know next to nothing about his private life nor did I ever want to. That is not the point of my fanaticism. I am just grateful that somebody came along with the vision and the wherewithal to create a series of devices for computer ditzes like me, who are now well versed in technology because we were given the chance to interact with products that are appealing, easy to use and cuddly enough to feel a connection with. Literally. The reason why I even feel comfortable admitting to such dribble without the fear of a straitjacket being tossed my way, is that I know I am not alone. A neuroscientist recently conducted experiments on i-Phone owners who submitted to MRI scans, revealing a release of dopamine in their brains every time they interacted with their phones, akin to those linked to infatuation. We are not obsessed with our Apple products – we are in love with them.
Above all, Mr. Jobs was able to perfectly marry function, beauty and elegance and, from a person who will choose beauty over function ten out of ten times, let me tell you, it is no easy task (case in point, a Mr. Jobs is still to appear on the fashion scene or else comfortable high heel shoes would have been invented by now).
Were you so inclined to watch the commencement speech Mr. Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005 (again, you wouldn’t be alone, 6 million people have already done so) you would discover a tech whiz with a Buddhist mind who mused that “death is the single best invention of life” and that “your time is limited. Don’t waste it living somebody else’s life”. His parting words to the 2005 class were “Stay foolish. Stay hungry”.
As I look at the icons on my phone, I can see that foolishness and that hunger right there, under my fingertips. Uncommon words to live by but, as it turns out, pretty useful ones.