Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: Is there an app for that?
November 9, 2010
I finally did it. I joined the cult. Usually when one joins a cult, one is unaware that is what’s happening, drawn in by a charismatic leader and the promise of wonderful things. But I was fully cognizant, a willing participant even, jumping in feet first with glee.I got an iPhone.My fate was sealed when my crappy, former phone, otherwise known as my iFaux, started freezing up. The touch screen stopped responding to touch, rendering it useless. I spoke kindly to it, encouraging it to cooperate. Nothing. Threatening didn’t help either. I considered throwing it against the wall, but thought better of that plan.Then the iFaux — so named because it so badly wanted to be an iPhone, even going so far as to look similar to one, but it fell far short of that goal — began shutting itself off spontaneously, without provocation, like a naughty child putting itself in timeout.So I knew it was time. I was in Denver and decided that would be the day, the day I would succumb. I walked into the Apple Store, aka The Headquarters, and seemingly out of nowhere, a smiling, blue T-shirted guy with an iPad held at the ready appeared and said enthusiastically, “Hi! Welcome to the Apple Store! What can we help you with today?!”Slightly taken aback by the sneak attack and zeal of his inquiry, I regained my composure and told him I was there to buy an iPhone.”Awesome! You’re going to love it!” As he starts tapping away at his iPad, he added, “Just head right over there to the iPhone table, and someone will be with you in just a minute.”Here’s the thing about The Headquarters. The “sales people” in their blue T-shirts are everywhere you look, but the one working with you appears from some unknown place. You just don’t see them coming. They want to catch you off guard to make you more vulnerable to the suggestive statements.”Hi! I’m Gala,” said my blue T-shirt, sidling up beside me. “So you want to buy an iPhone? Awesome. You’re going to love it!” Again with the affirmation of love? After we discussed which phone I wanted, she tapped out a message on her special handheld device, surely announcing my willful submission. “Brother McIntosh, I mean Jason, will bring your phone out from the back, so let’s take a look at your old phone.” I’m finding it hard to describe the disdain with which she looked at my old phone. She didn’t even want to touch it. “Maybe you can just slip that SIM card out for me?” she asked, as “Jason” appeared carrying the a tidy little apple-embossed box in the palms of open hands stretched out reverently in front of him, a minion following one pace off his left shoulder.”Here it is!” he announced. He set it on the table in front of us, raised his hands up and said, “Can I get a ‘holla’?” his hands moving up in a raising-the-roof motion.”I’m not really a ‘holla’ kind of girl,” I said. “But I can give you a ‘Yay'”!”Good enough. You’re going to love your iPhone!” he assured me. Man, there’s a lot of love in this place.While the minion stood silently nearby, Sister Gala and Brother McIntosh ran me through the basics, got my contacts loaded and then revealed a few secret tips meant to entice and engage me, to pull me in.After getting all my information and explaining my commitment — “You are agreeing to a two-year contract with AT&T and vow to shun all electronics without fruit on them; you are pledging your allegiance to the all-powerful Apple; blessed be Chairman Jobs” — she had me confirm my purchase by giving her all my money and signing the screen of her little hand-held unit with my finger. I swear there was a pinprick that drew blood.I am now part of The Brotherhood of the Apple. It’s a spiral-structured organization, so the more I learn about how to use my iPhone and what it can do, the more frequently I exchange tips and apps with fellow brothers and sisters, the deeper I fall into the vortex of the cult.But I have to say, I love my iPhone.Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org