Saturday, November 27, 2010

Me, My Blackberry, And The Reasons Of Love

I got a Blackberry about a week ago.  It's a Blackberry Bold 9650, and it looks like this, except instead of this cool city photo I have the stupid Verizon logo on my home screen:

It's a little funny that I got a Blackberry, because I'm the ultimate Mac fan-girl.  I'm the sort of person who, when forced to use a Windows machine, is constantly complaining about how I can't figure out how to do simple things like "save as pdf" from the print screen, or whatever, and who gets all mad at the stupid inelegance of the system.

So the relationship between BB and me was sort of an arranged marriage.  It's not that we were so fond of one another; it's more that things like "the great Verizon data plan for North America plans" tipped the balance away from the iPhone.

So it was with some trepidation that I brought BB home.  And honestly, in the beginning, it wasn't looking so good.  Things that seemed to me completely basic just aren't available on the Blackberry, like the option to make an email account temporarily inactive.  I do this on my iPod touch every night before I go to bed, because I don't want to wake up, see the little "email icon," be tempted to look at my mail, and have my rest disturbed.  That is, I want things like "browser, ON" and "email, OFF" at the same time. Is that so much to ask?

I googled and googled, and finally found a page where my question was raised.  The answer?  "BB isn't really set up for that." Hmmm.

Actually, the main source of tension in the house wasn't between BB and me so much as between BB and Mac.  They don't like each other, and they don't want to interact.  I downloaded the "Desktop Manager for Mac" from Research In Motion and it's useless -- it doesn't seem to do anything.

In a way I understand:  they represent two different philosophies of life, two totally different styles.  So how could they want to cooperate?   In a way though, it's a little outrageous.  You're telling me Research in Motion can't figure out how to set up basic sync of contacts and so on with Mac OS?  How hard can it be?

I solved the problem, in the end, by bringing in an intermediary, a go-between, a peacemaker.  Goes by the name of Google.  Google, turns out, can talk to BB, and talk to Mac, even if they won't talk to each other.  So I set up my Google contacts and calendar to sync with both, and even though it has the aspect of a giant pointless game of telephone, in practice it is working well.

So you can see why, in those first few days, I'm thinking, Dude, you are so going to back to the Verizon store, because this is just not working out.  Goodbye Verizon.  I'm sucking it up, moving to AT&T, getting an iPhone.

But over the following week, something surprising happened:  I changed my expectations.  I started appreciating all the things unique to BB, like the excellent keyboard design, the no-nonsense fonts and style, and the physical object itself, which is beautifully designed.  You can hold it in one hand, and type with your thumb, while your other hand is holding your purse or opening a door or whatever.  Can't do that on an iPhone.  Or, at least, I can't.

After I started appreciating BB's good qualities, rather than focusing on its limitations, I started to have that proper feeling one has for a gadget that is important in one's life:  the feeling of love.  You're going to deal with this object a zillion times a day, you gotta have some love.  Otherwise it's just an endless struggle.  This is why I'm always amused when people express their indignation with Mac.  Look, I love my Mac.  You don't have to love it, and thus you don't have to buy one. But don't act like it's somehow a character deficiency in me if I do.  We're out of the realm of rational thought here.

And that's true for love of people, too.  Sometimes you hear people talking about love as if they could respond to a person's qualities, and thus find "the right person for them."  "Oh, I'd like a non-smoker, someone with a good sense of humor, someone with the right kind of career.  Must like bird-watching, white-water rafting, the movies of Werner Herzog. . ."

Sure, you can hope for certain qualities, which will surely have something to do with long term living together.  But they're not the main thing in love.  The main thing in love isn't the qualities the person has, it's seeing the person's qualities in the right sort of way.  The love itself, it's not based on reasons.

BB and me, I think it's going to work out.

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