I’ve written before about the importance of getting thank you notes off promptly. “Don’t let the sun go down, thrice” I nag Velvet.
It seems, however, that I’ve been remiss about writing the thank you note I owe Steve Jobs, who died yesterday. I picked up the news about it on the latest of my Apple gadgets, my long-lusted for and now irreplaceable iPad, which, yes, turns out to be a tool as well as a toy. I was saddened, as so many were, by a brilliant life cut short. Trawling through the news, the testimonials and the reflections from all over the world this morning in my iMac as I drank my coffee, I thought I might as well write the thank you note anyway and add my thoughts to the many out there.
So, thank you Steve, for creating products that made my life as an expat at once easier and richer. The iPod helped me connect to the 2008 Presidential election through the miracle of podcasts, which are now an ingrained part of my daily routine. In a city with limited access to English language books, the iPod makes it possible for me to download and listen to everything from the memoirs of Winston Churchill to the last summer’s epic slog through all five of George R.R. Martin’s “The Song of Fire and Ice,” books. When my daughter Velvet was having trouble with reading and the printed word, iTunes helped her discover Anne of Green Gables, Harry Potter, and Princess Mia of Genovia. I always have a book going: when I cook, when I drive, when I fly, when I exercise, or just when I’m paying bills or cleaning the house. They still seem like a miracle to me. When I was about 8, I saw a TV adaptation of “The Martian Chronicles.” In the opening scene, a Martian sat on a rock and the narrator said, “The Martian was listening to his book.” I remember thinking, “Wow, listening to a book…that would be something else.” And, as soon as I finish writing and editing this, I’ll turn on my book while I load this post up on to the software. I still find it miraculous. Thank you, Steve, for knocking down barriers of distance, customs, and political borders and bringing Slate and Rachel Maddow, Melvyn Bragg and Garrison Keillor, Jane Austen and George R.R. Martin to me in Russia.
When I finally plucked up the courage to leave the formal economy and take a stab at being a writer, I made the symbolic shift from a PC to a Mac Book and just seeing it made me think – “yeah, I’m in the creative biz now.” I do what I love and it doesn’t matter if I have a work permit or my visa runs out – I just open my Mac Book and do it. I can edit photos, publish articles, work on my book, start a new blog, or redesign an existing one. Thanks, Steve for helping me do what I love.
My parents are finishing up a trip to the Low Countries. We gave them an iPad before they left and thanks to it, they’ve looked up information, found restaurants, consulted maps, checked their e-mails, and sent us almost daily updates about what they’ve been doing, seeing, and how they are enjoying their trip. “Nothing short of miraculous,” says my mother. Thanks for that, Steve.
When the subject of Apple versus PC comes up, my stock comment is, “I am everything Steve Jobs would have me be: got sucked in with the iPod, migrated to the Mac Book, lusted for the iPhone and iPad, infected my family of origin and my nuclear family…” I hope I was everything he would have had me be, because he certainly made my life richer, my horizons wider, and my possibilities ever expanding.
Sad day, isn’t it Readers? What are your memories of Apple products? Hit the comment button below to leave your thoughts on Jobs and his life and work.