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In the iPhone Line

In the iPhone Line

I wrote this a day after the iPhone 3G came out. Enjoy.


At first I decided to stand in the Apple store line only while I ate my lunch – to see how fast it moved, as it were. The end of the line started at Stride Rite (for those who do not know the Arden Fair mall in Sacramento, that is literally 678,943 miles from the Apple store). There seemed no harm in hanging for a few moments but before I knew it those few moments turned into 6 hours, 7 new friends, one California roll (with bladder busting mega large diet coke as chaser), a piece of bad pizza, onion rings (queuing is hungry work) and one new 16 gig, black iPhone.

I held last place until an 18-year-old girl in huge sunglasses operating on “three hours of sleep after half a bottle of Smirnoff” took the spot behind me. A middle aged lady stood behind us for about two minutes and then came to her senses.

After her, three 18-year-old guys, freshly out of high school, lined up next. One a beat boxer, one a cello playing home schooler and the last a very outgoing young man who works at a waterslide. Just in front of us were a gal lifeguard (yeah two lifeguards – how strange) with her boyfriend, and a middle-aged businessman with a beat up treo 650 and a BMW key ring. Later, a brother of one of the HS grads joined us. Amazingly he already had a first generation iPhone (he hacked it to use with Tmobile) and stood for 5 plus hours just to support his friends.

Sure, our cult-like lust for iPhone joy was the core of our relationship but it was not just the iPhone at work over the 360 minutes of bonding. It was the experience of fighting together. Solving the hunger issue (we left in shifts to get food), finding the nearest restroom, (we were lucky, one guy in our group had the mall restroom schematic practically memorized,) and fighting off mockers all cemented our cadre.

Apparently, for some, (and I included myself in that “some” before yesterday,) standing in line for an iPhone (halo, wii, etc. etc.) is the equivalent of stabbing yourself in the ear. Not only were they righteously sure of this position, they were not shy about preaching their convictions to our captive ears. Not all lectured. Some used passive aggressive questions – “so you guys are in this line because they won’t have these phone things next week?” Others, all of them male by the way, felt compelled to give detailed verbal slaps about why we were fools. As they pontificated, I wondered if this is what most preachers sounded like to the non-religious.

I saw three large groups of my friends, including people from other states, who openly tried to convince me to leave the line. Beside strangers, I was actively mocked by:
• Two pastors
• 10 or more twenty-something Christians
• Some small children
• My wife

We fought back. Three hours in, after being asked for the 1 millionth time why we were in line, Waterslide guy proclaimed loudly “WE ARE HERE FOR THE MOTO RAZOR FOUR – YEAH THAT’S RIGHT, HELLO MOTO BABY!!!”

The height of irony was that after telling us we were wasting our time most of them spent their precious life milling around Bath and Body Works.

It did not come out that I was a pastor until hour four. When it did the relationships were strong enough to avoid the usual awkward silence that follows this religious revelation. The brothers, I discovered, both had strong roots in the Disciples of Christ.

(see iPhone Line Part Two to find out how the iPhone line ends)


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