I am really sad tonight. There are tears spilling for someone I greatly respected, relied upon daily, and who brought me immeasurable joy. Ironically, I never knew or met this person. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, visionary, and revolutionary died today. Of cancer. I hate that beast.
My grief, and yes, folks, it is grief, is disproportionate, of course. Those who knew Mr. Jobs, worked with him, lived with him, and loved him will be feeling his death on a much more intimate level, but citizens of the developed world have been touched by him whether they know or understand it. Like me.
I think of myself as a technophobe. I am lame that way. Technology intimidates me and confuses me. I am lazy, and understanding a lot of technology feels like a burden in my already busy life. All of that changed in May 2010 when Mary Tyler Dad, completely out of left field, gifted me an iPad for Mother’s Day. It was my first Mother’s Day without Donna and it sucked. But Mary Tyler Dad knew that, anticipated that, and wanted to help. So he bought me an iPad. I was the coolest kid on the block, as it had been out less than a month, but I had no freaking idea what I was supposed to do with the thing. I didn’t understand it as a gift. Yes, it was sleek, sexy, edgy, but was I gonna be expected to use the thing? Yes, folks, I am a cranky, ungrateful wife at times.
Within a few days I made my peace with it. Mary Tyler Dad did the heavy lifting and I explored. Huh. It was kind of neat. Wow. Look what it does. Man, did you see that? I fell in love. I was smitten.
At first, my interest in the iPad was a controlled flirtation. Oh, yeah, I was interested, but I was interested in a lot of things. There were days I barely used it. Usually, I would pull it out in the evenings and shop for this thing called apps. Mysterious things, those apps.
Within weeks, the flirtation got a bit more serious. Mary Tyler Dad would pick it up and I would wince a little inside. We started dating nightly, the iPad and I. It was a great date, I gotta say. Always knew just what I needed and wanted. I discovered things like Netflix live streaming, hulu+, and HBOGo. My innocent flirtation had turned into abandonment. I jokingly started referring to my husband as an iPad widow. I would retreat to bed in the evenings with my tablet love and I would wake up with it, too. When life got rough, as life is wont to do with me, it kept me company, nursing me through two miscarriages. I watched full seasons of Nip/Tuck and Mildred Pierce and Boardwalk Empire and The Bachelor. The iPad has been with me through much of my grief and it has been a welcome support.
At some point in time, Mary Tyler Son discovered it, too. I now joke that he has custody of the thing and I have visitation rights. But this is significant, and another indication of Mr. Job’s brilliance. When my boy started using it, he was under two. And yet he was using it. At first, I helped, but within days, the kid had it down. This is technology that is so perfect, so intuitive that a two year old can use it. My poor 78 year old Dad just looks at him with equal amazement and envy.
This year our charity has gifted several iPads to the Child Life therapists at Children’s Memorial and are now in the process of gifting one to a Special Ed. classroom in Joplin, Missouri. iPads help people, you see. The connect people. They have changed lives. It changed mine, I know for certain. Ask my widower.
My iPhone, bought this summer, permanently retiring my dumb phone, has changed me, too. I am now officially wired. This is good and bad, I understand, but it is. I had never sent a text before June 2011. Can you even believe that? Not one. My iPhone allows me to connect with my readers, you dear folks, through instant posts and photos as I walk through my day. I like that, as I like you. It helps me feel less alone and lonely, as grief can cause an overdose of solitude. My iPhone allows me to capture Mary Tyler Son on a whim, through photo and video. These are memories that will stay with me, as I call them up immediately with a push of a button and a swipe of a thumb. I am now no longer the lame mother without a picture of my kid. I have hundreds now.
Thank you, Steve Jobs. Cancer is a beast and I grieve for you, for yours, for us. You have changed the world, sir. You have made my world a better place, a friendlier place, a more connected place. Well done, sir. Well done.