The Bliss of Wireless

“This is your version of crack cocaine,” says my friend Bob as I check email on my new wireless handheld device. It’s a hazy summer afternoon and we’re on the ferry coming back from Block Island to Pt. Judith. We’re surrounded by a central-casting mix of day trippers and vacationers, nuzzling couples, vigilant parents, big dogs and excited children. One kid spills his mother’s coffee all over the seat and floor next to me, but it makes no difference. I am way too engrossed in the little screen I hold in my hand.

Even without my friend’s assistance, I know I’m a caricature. Earlier in the day I was sitting on the beach, under an umbrella, checking the news on And it’s not like I really have a whole lot at stake in the burial site of radioactive plutonium waste, or who won the elections in Liberia, or who came in second in the Gaelic football championships. I’m just fascinated by the power of this technology.

Yes, I am a wireless addict, and it didn’t take very long to get that way. I’ve only had the little gizmo about two weeks, and truthfully it’s a bit balky. Connections are unpredictable—I drop from five little bars down to one for no apparent reason. Sunspots? Who knows. I often need to reconnect during a session, a process which is mildly annoying though nowhere near as time consuming as a PC reboot. But the goodies are worth the pain—isn’t that what a junkie would say?



Wireless is immediate access to information, anywhere, anytime. I’m in a meeting and someone wonders about David G’s place of employment. All we know about David is his office phone number. Out comes my wireless, I plug the phone number into the reverse directory, and within 30 seconds we know David is an architect. Or, at least, he works for an architectural company.

I’m in a cab, on my way to a meeting. Despite New York’s dimpled streets and my cab’s unyielding shock absorbers, I’m able to peck out an email specifying current position and ETA. Sure I could use my cell phone to make a call, but how much cooler is this? I can receive spreadsheets and other documents wherever I am; virtually all my business data functions transacted over this tiny chunk of electronics. And my wireless comes sleekly packaged in a voluptuously dark leather case. It’s squishy yet substantial. I want to hold it and hug it.

I keep it next to my bed so I can check email before I go to sleep. My mother is expecting a cousin from England next week, she asks that I send a message for her to bring skin cream only available at Boots. I send the request to London from my bed, at night. I wake up. Check my email. The cousin’s confirmation is there.


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