New iPhone’s and Bee Wax

iPhonePARIS – As first Apple shop on the European continent is still being built in the Louvre’s chic Carrousel shopping gallery, the new iPhone (3GS) rolled out of FNAC’s and Phonehouses throughout the city. Yesterday was not only the announced release day, but they were actually there. And so was I. After having sat out my time for an iPhone with a proper camera, the day had come to say goodbye to years of phoning with an ordinary mobile phone.

Fiddling around with the fancy gizmo, I have to admit that I now feel a part of a new mobile era – searching information on the go, replying to emails as I’m queuing up somewhere, taking pictures, panning through my calenders as I listen to random songs from my ENTIRE music collection. I realize that many people have had this wonderful experience before me with their iPhone or another smart phone, but do you still remember how exciting this actually is?

I would love to brag that I managed to fill it up to the rim, but 32 Gb is a lot of filling to do. There is enough memory there for 6000 songs. Or to put that differently, you can have 2 weeks of non-stop music. Or actually, there must be a little App programme in the App store out there you can download to calculate your iPhone’s song capacity exactly…

That evening, I polished my shoes. I rubbed the bee wax polish onto my leather shoes, spreading it out evenly so that they would shine the following morning. As I was polishing, struggling in vain not to get the wax on my fingers, I felt a comforting connection with my ancestors, who for hundreds of years have had to have their shoes polished. They would have found themselves in the evening either polishing them or getting their shoes to someone who would do it for them. Perhaps I felt that shared moment there, rather than in other things I do, because shoe polishing feels so antiquated. And yet, the next few hundred years it is not expected to be any different.

But if shoe polishing feels antiquated, as an invisible impossible link to another time, then the iPhone is its opposite, linking you invisibly and impossibly to the current time, the world as it is now. A world which allows you to stare at it and interact, as you move around in it yourself. Feeling the connection with our world is exciting. Feeling a link with your ancestral past through shoe polishing is existentially comforting, as a little escapade away from the immediate. Even if it is not nearly as much fun, as I walked out the door in my freshly polished shoes I felt a self worth I could reflect back through the mirror of the internet phone. And I also realized that I’ll need it too, because cyber-bullying, spam, viruses, cyber fraud and identity theft all just stepped out the door with me…



  1. Moi j’en ai ras le bol de recevoir mes mails sur moi, même si je ne peux plus m’en passer.

    Par ailleurs, il faudrait que je te passe quelques paires de chaussure en cuir. Tu gères le daim aussi ?!

  2. Do you miss getting lost around town aswell? And having to find a computer to register for a flight? And not seeing your calender planning? The traffic around Paris? Having games and newspapers in your pocket to fill up those lonely bureaucratic queue moments…

    Perhaps you look at the phone too often. Perhaps the BlackBerry dis-intox club has an iPhone sub-department. Not sure you want to meet all those corporate compulsive gadget starers though…

  3. Seeing calender planning does not involve having an internet connection. And registering a plan ticket, I can do it from my home computer. Seeing the traffic around Paris, my car gps can do it as well.

    But you’re missing the point here : when can I drop you my shoes?

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