The thing about desire is, you never know when it’s going to sneak up on you. For months you can feel completely ambivalent, and then one day, BAM. Out of nowhere, you’re suddenly consumed by longing. It’s all you can think about, and it’s reflected in everything you see and do. And it’s surprisingly, really, because you never even realised you wanted an iPhone.
I’ve always been quite content as the happy owner of rubbish phones. My aversion to flashy handsets stems back to about 2001, when a Nokia 3310 took over from scented gel pens as the most coveted classroom accessory. Traditional lunchtime activities – spot-squeezing, eyebrow-plucking, mooning over Charlie from Busted – gave way to epic phone festivals, in which we sat and listened to each other’s ringtones until we couldn’t differentiate the Mexican Hat Dance from the blinding tinnitus in our own heads.
Convinced that phones were going to be the downfall of my generation*, I resisted for ages. For about a year I sat in my own smug bubble, amid all the snake-playing and technological jollity, saying things like “You’re 13. Your only social activity is Guides. Is anybody really trying to get hold of you, ever?” Then eventually I changed tack and got myself a replica of the mobile used to call for help on the Titanic. It was the telephonic equivalent of a mangle. It had an actual aerial. With it, I spent a year texting in capital letters as a form of protest (for ‘protest’, read ‘didn’t know how to change the setting’).
Since then, I have had a succession of increasingly cheap and plasticky phones. Partly because I can always find something more edible or wearable to spend my money on, and partly because I have a strong awareness of my own ability to sit on things and break them. My current one cost me £20, and I bought it because it looked a bit like a tictac. And, until very recently, I thought it was all I needed: It called, it texted, nobody wanted to steal it, and it could be momentarily dropped into a bowl of soup without combusting.
But no longer. In the last few weeks, ever since starting a new job pretending to be a fashion TV researcher, I’ve discovered phone shame. Sitting in meetings while everyone taps away on their Blackberrys, I’m exposed as the Meed-yar fraud I am. Of course I’ve tried to be resourceful with what I have (“Hey guys, look! I can’t check my emails or tweet, but it is the perfect size for slipping under the leg to sort out this wobbly table! Eh? Eh?”) but the fact is, I need a fancy phone.
What if, for example, someone sends me an email on which my entire career depends, and I am somehow indisposed? Like, locked in a public toilet or stuck in a lift? And because I can’t access my email from the confines of my lift or loo, the life-changing opportunity gets offered to someone else (Fearne Cotton, say)? And because I missed that email, I have no prospects, lose my job and end up banished to a life on the sofa eating cheese toasties and wondering what could have been?
There, you see. I need an iPhone. I have paid my dues in amateurish technology, and now I want to join the club. I need the false sense of professional confidence, and the illusion that I might, at some point during the working day, know what I’m doing. Let’s just hope there’s an app for that.