Back in the mid-1980s, I was a freshman at Mahopac High School, faced with a daunting issue.
On the one hand, I’d always worn running shoes.
On the other hand, running shoes were out. Everyone was wearing white Pony tennis shoes.
So Mom took me to Marshall’s or Tom Kat or whatever, and she bought me a pair of sparkling white Pony tennis shoes.
That night—the night leading up to the first day of school—I couldn’t sleep. What would people think of me? I’d been a running shoes loyalist. My whole childhood, they were all I’d ever worn. Ever. And now, because of trends and popularity, I was swaying toward the other side. I tossed and turned, moaned and groaned, debated over and over and over whether I should keep the Ponys or return them and go back to the ol’ runners.
That next morning I woke up, put on the Ponys and nervously walked to the bus stop. Here I was, for Gary Miller and Dennis Gargano and Matt Walker and all the other kids to see, wearing new sneakers. Dear God, how would I survive?
Nary a person noticed.
This evening, for the first time in more than two decades, that feeling returned. After holding on to my relic cell phone, I drove to the AT&T shop and purchased (dear God) an iPhone. My first foray into high-tech communications.
I feel like a sellout. A tool. Am I gonna be one of those pod people, mindlessly walking down the street, my eyes glued to a tiny screen? Will I be the person, sitting at lunch, anxious to look up whether Menudo ever had a No. 1 hit? Will I be downloading apps left and right; watching movies; texting 1,532 times per month?
Being serious—this one hurts me. I never thought I’d get an iPhone this soon. Never, ever. But lately, when I travel, I get lost. And when I get lost, I find myself saying, “Damn, if only I had a GPS.” Also lately, I want music. Instant music. On my phone. Call me trite, but it’s true.
So, at long last, I’m in.
PS: Yes, it’s a pink perimeter. So?