Anthea Stratigos – October 3, 2016
Meet my new Trimline. Gotta love that beauty – the iPhone of its time – smooth, sleek, great lines, functional – simple elegance at its best. It rings and you pick up a call. You press a few buttons and it makes one. Amazing.
Meet my new clock. Smooth black corners, with an easy dial to read, it doesn’t light up the room with bright red, green, or blue ambient light. It’s quiet. It tells time. It’s got a little button to push if you want to check the time at night. It’s got an alarm. It doesn’t talk back. It doesn’t tell me directions, and it can’t make a phone call, or search Google. But it works.
These too little gadgets are simple elegance at its best.
I’m the first one that loves an iPhone. I call it the Swiss-Army knife of our time. It does amazing things. It too is simple and elegant. But I don’t want it anywhere near me at night. I don’t want it on my nightstand and I don’t want it to make a call, wake me up, or tell me what time it is all at once when I am in bed. I never had a device anywhere near me at night until about six months ago. And after six months I’ve decided the device can once again sleep in another room and my new Trimline and travel clock, returned.
You see not too long ago we needed to take our old Trimline up to our country house where we needed a phone with a landline. Then my old little travel alarm clock broke. All the other phones and clocks in the house are electronic. I was too pre-occupied to replace either. At about that time my sister and I were dealing with a significant illness in our family and I brought the iPhone onto my nightstand. Our family needed to text to stay-on-top of serious issues; to simply say good night to each other, or to reach each other in an emergency. And the little bugger told time so I used it to replace my clock.
Then two things happened. My husband was out of town and we had a black out. I couldn’t use any phone in the house. Our wifi was out. My phone had 20% battery and enough LTE to let me call Uber on 1 bar, because you see, I couldn’t even get out of the garage because it too had an electric garage door and I was late getting to the office. It also happened that I was starting to read the news at night, check my AP app in the morning, read a few emails before I started my day, and then before you know it I was looking at that damn phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Throw in the conspiracy theorist’s view that EMRs and radiation would do me in with that thing so close to my head and I decided enough was enough.
I suppose I could go buy a solar powered charger for my phone. I suppose I could just leave it on my nightstand and not look at emails, news, texts, or make calls. But it was easier to put it back into my home office at night, say any goodnights, and plug the Trimline into the wall and put the travel clock on my nightstand. You see I live in earthquake country and when the earth shakes some old things are just plain good. IPhones have their place. So do a good laptop and maybe even a Smart TV. I’m not sure I want my refrigerator ordering my food, Comcast securing my house, or my car replacing its own parts. Maybe it would be nice to have the delivery truck arrive on my doorstep with fresh vegetables and almond milk without asking, or a new set of fabulous tires arriving with a handsome guy to replace them. But I remain skeptical. Because when the next earthquake comes, and it will, a good landline and a battery operated radio and travel clock just might do the trick. Devices have a job to do and when we let the device overtake us, it’s time to put them in another room to sleep.
Besides, you can’t beat the price. My Trimline was $19.99 on Amazon. Far cry from what we’re paying Apple and AT&T these days. I’m calling this the ‘slow info’ movement. Just like slow food, it can be a beautiful thing. Simple and elegant.