On truths, dreams, confessions -- and the iPhone
A new restaurant in Miami encourages people to leave personal revelations for everyone to see. A quite startling one involves Apple's bond-inspiring gadget.
Sometimes I just wander into places.
No reason I should. No reason I shouldn't.
Tonight it was a fascinating North Vietnamese restaurant called Khong River House in Miami Beach. It's been open only four days and the staff have that staring-eye look that reminds you of exam day at college.
Still, for reasons of sheer art, they have an installation near the restrooms. The idea is that you take one of the provided pens and write down your truth, your dream, or your confession on a piece of board that you then hang for all to see.
Just like the Web, it's entirely anonymous.
But I imagine that a lot of slightly inebriated people come by and -- just like the Web -- post things because it makes them feel better to release something of themselves.
I went through most of the submissions. Of course, some of them must be jokes. But, I suspect, not all of them.
"My daughter isn't my husband's biological child, but he doesn't know," read one that seemed oddly real.
"I like to pluck my pubic hair," said another. I am not sure whether this was a truth, a dream, or a confession.
"I'll be knocked up, fat, and ugly in 2013... and my bf won't marry me :(" read one painfully realistic confession.
The more I stared, the more mesmerized I became with people's apparent openness about their own lives and life itself.
"If you're lucky, life is one problem after the next," began one plaintive philosopher. "If you're not so lucky, it's the same problem over and over again."
And then came the slightly sad stunner: "I like my iPhone more than most of my friends."
Contrary to the opinion of some contrary readers, I don't happen to be obsessed with Apple products. I use precisely two: an iPhone and a MacBook Air. I succumbed to the iPhone only because Nokia dumped me (and everyone else in America) and simply didn't launch a decent phone.
Yet I stared at this confession and wondered whether I could imagine any other brand being written about in the same way. Would someone have written: "I love my Galaxy S3 more than most of my friends"?
Would anyone have trumpeted: "I love my Nokia Lumia 920 more than most of my friends"?
I'm not sure that they would. For reasons understandable or not, the Apple brand has found a way to creep into people's being in a way no other has.
You can decide whether this is a good or a bad thing. But it's so real that Samsung has to make jokes about it.
This may not last forever. It may be overtaken both by an Apple faltering or a Samsung/Nokia/Microsoft/Google stroke of emotional genius.
But it hasn't happened yet. Somehow, Apple still gets you at the core, while other brands stroke you at the peripheries.
I looked through most of the hanging boards to see whether some other gadget might have touched a soul.
All I found was: "Truth: Men Cheat. Dream: A Faithful Man. Confession: Women are worse."
As well as gems such as: "I blamed my arrest on being heartbroken," "I am in the military and I'm scared to die," and "When I was mad, I stuck his toothbrush in the toilet."
My favorite was this: "My wife still gives me butterflies after 8 years."
Strangely, for quite a few people, so does Apple.