I Was Hoping For a Unicorn

I’m a creaky old lady. Cranky, sometimes too. My age shows in attitudes that appear to be becoming quaint. For instance, I love technology, but I’m not oriented towards consumerism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude and am perfectly happy to have a new toy, but I don’t quite get the attitude that you have to have the latest even if it isn’t the greatest. The evident pride some people have in showing-off their new consumer devices is something I don’t quite feel. I’m happy enough to have an item myself, but I don’t really care if the whole world knows about it, or if they already have it.

Back when new technology came in a large, unsexy, beige box that sat at home and no one even knew you had, I was pretty much in tune with the attitudes of other people who were technophiles. Starting with the iPod, however, technology became something you took out of the house and was therefore easy to show off. Then the melding of a love of technology and consumerism created a new animal, technophile 2.0.

Which is a long-winded way of saying, “What’s up with that watch?”

Since I’m technophile 1.0, I’m more likely to read Tom’s Hardware than Gizmodo, which means I only have a vague awareness of what the new items are and what they do. Back when the new technology still sat inside, or at least was plugged into, that big, beige box, I had a tendency to buy technology that was not the newest. Right after the price dropped seemed to get you the biggest bang for your buck, then I’d use it until it was dead as a doornail. Back then, by the way, geeks were notoriously cheap. In recent years, that technique hasn’t been as functional because many of our new computer related items become less functional quite quickly. My cell phone, which was considered a “smart phone” when I got it, did about what an average “dumb phone” does today. However, despite not being able to access all sorts of applications, I was still using it until about a week ago when it became the worlds smallest doorstop. I just can’t bring myself to throw out something that’s still remotely functional. It feels unnatural. (And my apologies for any unreturned phone calls. It’s not you. For a change, it’s not even me. It’s my phone. As soon as I get a new one, I’ll return your call.)

Which brings me to the watch.

When I first hit that age when girls start pretending that they’re women and carrying purses, I learned a lesson. In fact, I learned the lesson many times. The lesson is this: Most people are really nice and very honest. You see, I had a bad habit of leaving my purse all over the place. Inevitably, it was returned. As a result, I’m absurdly trusting. Once, on a date, I lost my wallet. The man with me asked if I needed to cancel my credit cards. I said, “No, my wallet will be returned.” He thought I was being reckless. Perhaps, but I was right. (Thanks, Pia!) Still, over the years, I learned to not carry a purse. I adopted smaller men’s wallets rather than the strangely large things women carry. I seek out clothes with pockets. I go to the grocery store looking like I’m ready for a safari or a month in the Australian outback. Generally, however, I travel light. The rise of the cell phone has caused me to start carrying a purse again. How strange to have a whole bag just for one item. I’ve tried clipping it to my belt. I assure you that the old Blackberry could survive flying about ten feet and landing on hard pavement as you jog across an intersection. Despite the proven durability of the phone, I was less sure of the durability of my body and I felt that one day I might get hit by a car running back to retrieve my wayward phone. I gave up the belt clip.

So, my phone is now dead and, the other day, I roused myself to take a look at what was on the market to replace it. “OMG! A watch!” Ah, I had such fantasies of dashing around Manhattan, as free and bagless as I was in my twenties, phone strapped conveniently to my wrist. So what if the screen is a little small. I didn’t surf the web on my phone much anyway. I could feel like James Bond talking into my sleeve.

Alas, it seems that that unicorn was just a goat viewed from the wrong angle. On closer inspection, it seems that you still need a phone, and need to carry it with you. The watch apparently just syncs to the phone. It doesn’t appear to be particularly useful, just one more encumbrance, which leads me to wonder why anybody wants it.

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