If there is one thing that is more important to a San Franciscan than trying to get a boyfriend, or finding out if NOPA is a delicious example of California cuisine, or their career in the technology industry, that thing is their phone, or more specifically, their iPhone. At this point, as with Kleenex or Frisbee, the distinction between the brand ‘iPhone’ and the object ‘phone’ is basically nil, and from here on out these words will be used interchangeably.
Which brings us, as everything eventually does, to the swipey screen. It’s not too far a stretch to say that smart phones have completely reinvented the way we think about our hands, or more aptly, our phone cozies.
The hand is after all the original bumper, and of course also the reason we need a bumper. As in many cases when talking about the hands, they are both the problem and their own solution.
With the advent of a swipey/strokey/pinchy interface, humans are re-learning the art of sensual touch. Which is not to say that San Franciscans are becoming better lovers in a general sense, but only that they are becoming better lovers to their phones.
Watching a San Franciscan with their new iPhone is like watching a Midwestern mother with her newborn baby. They don’t quite know how to hold it without smudging the screen or accidentally dialing their boss, and so their touch is timid, delicate, and filled with love.
No matter where they are, the owner must immediately attend to every grunt, beep, or vibration that the new phone makes, carefully checking its menus to make sure nothing is amiss.
The owner does not like to leave the phone with anyone, not even family, for fear that they will let it sleep on its face, or will accidentally scratch its delicate underbelly. When the reception is bad they will bundle their phone into a $30 phone jacket, and curse their own hands for not being able to protect it from a dropped signal.
It’s rare, of course, that the phone actually leaves those bumbling hands, which pretty much exposes voicemail greetings for the lies that they are.
“Hi, it’s Ramona. I can’t come to the phone right now…” Can you even remember a time when it was necessary to come TO the phone? What the message should say is, “Hi, it’s Ramona. My phone hand won’t come to my face right now. Text me.”