Forbidden fruit

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being strung along.

Take this whole federal government shut-down thing. OK, so I know I’d probably have to cough up my taxes sooner or later, but the whole thought of the IRS being closed during the tax deadline was intriguing to say the least. I know, I don’t have a bipartisan snowball’s chance in D.C. of my wish coming true, but a person can dream, can’t she?

Anyway, right around the same time those dreams were quashed and imminent national disaster was averted, I was dealt another similarly crushing blow.

This time it came in the form of an innocent little beep and a short but sweet text from my cell phone company. I was informed that activation of my long-awaited iPhone would be postponed yet one more day.

OK, so one day doesn’t seem like much, especially when you consider how long they’ve been talking about a new Target. But when you’ve been riding the rumor mill for several months, followed by dozens of weeks on the glossy marketing bandwagon and several more spent gazing longingly at the sleek black fruit-festooned box gathering dust, you start to reach your limit. Not only that, but they plaster warnings all over the shiny new toy just to further taunt you. “Do not even think about taking this phone out of its case and monkeying around with it until we say so. You’ll just wreck it, and we’ll say we told you so and then charge you an even more exorbitant amount of money.”

So, alas, after carefully removing the lid and peeking inside, just to make sure it was real, I placed my sparkly new baby in its velvety bed high on a shelf where its silver-embossed logo would not attract my attention.

“April 14 is not that far away,” I convinced myself in January. And sure enough, in the time ski season came and went, I dusted off the mountain bike, planted my tomato starts, pulled summer clothes out of storage, read War and Peace and endured another month of March Madness, April was here. It would be only a few more days until I would be united with my newly betrothed handheld, in a two-year service contract till death or a $300 cancellation fee do us part.

I know, all this buildup may seem weird from someone who professes to hate talking on the phone and reluctantly entered the digital telecommunications age only after years of social ostracization from peers and family members.

But, I can sum it up in one word, or part of a word: apps. (And to think, up until a few months ago, I though they were just something consumed before dinner.) That’s right, not only will I be able to juggle virtual cats anywhere and anytime I damn well please, but I can translate “where is the bathroom?” in Swahili, check the National Threat Advisory and plan out the evening’s dinner menu, all with the touch of a “button.” Not only that, but pocket dialing and cheeking would soon become a thing of the past.

And then there’s the whole coolness factor. Let’s just say, as much as I will go to my grave defending my family’s recent procurement of a white minivan, it has done little to up my hipness quotient. But an iPhone, with its fly-in-your-eighth-grade-English-teacher’s-face disregard for proper grammar and ridiculously uber fashionable pricetag, is quite possibly my chance to earn a few bonus points in the “my mom’s cooler than yours” category.

Who knows? Before long I’ll be sporting wire-rimmed glasses and black mockturtlenecks while sipping espresso out of tiny cups and discussing the nuances of modern art and jazz music.

But first, of course, there is the little issue of figuring out how to work my new technological gizmo, which has enough bells, whistles and buttons to let my fumbling fingers do the walking into a virtual panic, or at least an errant call to Bora Bora. See, like many folks born of a certain era before 1980 who can remember analog television and boomboxes, I suffer from acute gadgetry impairment. Sure, I’ve overcome it enough to send e-mails and even occasionally post to my Facebook page, but setting an alarm clock is still tricky business, and I will always suck at Wii, no matter how long I live.

Anyway, I’m sure once the big “iDay” arrives, I will experience frustration, and possibly rack up some accidental charges here and there, but it will all be worth it. Like when I am able to be the first person to grab their phone, Google “Turning Japanese” and blurt out “The Vapors” before anyone has even had time to hit the “unlock” button. Not only that, but I will be able to download the song and all the lyrics and sing along to it, just to prove I’m right.

Sure, there are other, more pressing things to worry about than who the hell Charl Schwartzel is or what goes into a Harvey Wallbanger, like super volcanoes, worldwide political upheaval and armageddon.

But not to worry. If any of this does happen, I promise to be the first to let you know – as long as it’s after April 15. Sure, it won’t save you from taxes. But death – just maybe.

– Missy Votel