Who Are You and Why Are You Talking to Me?

I find myself asking this question almost every day. Because unless someone is trying to tell me that I dropped my wallet or that my dress is tucked into my underwear, I do not welcome unsolicited conversation with strangers. After a long day of work, I don’t need a stranger peering over my shoulder on the Metro, scoffing at my old video iPod, and telling me, “Oh, I see you are one of the few who still use an iPod for music.” Like I’m such a loser. Because everyone and their mother, and their five-year-old child, and maybe even their dog, has an iPhone.  And? Am I supposed to be embarrassed about that? Is it inconceivable that I simply don’t need or want one? Or do you assume that I want one, of course, but just can’t afford one. In which case, is it very neighborly of you to point it out and mock me for it?

I actually see this as an advantage. I find comfort in knowing I have nothing that anyone would want to steal. Whenever I think about getting mugged, I picture the mugger being really disappointed and giving up halfway. “Wait, this is your phone? A flip phone, really?” And I’d say, “Oh yeah, sorry about that. Is that not gonna work for you?” And the mugger, now frustrated with me, would say, “Thanks for nothing. This has been a total waste of time,” and would storm off as I shout “Sorry, don’t be mad!” after him.

Now, if I had the latest iPhone, this scenario would go much differently. I’m sure to a mugger, holding an iPhone is the same as holding a stack of hundred-dollar bills. If life were a cartoon, the mugger would look at the iPhone and get green dollar bill signs in his eyes that would make the cash register ‘ca-ching’ sound when he blinked. So who would you target to rob? The person holding cash money or the person holding a paper weight that also makes phone calls? You go for the iPhone. But I love my iPhone so! I don’t want to let it go! I put up a fight, foolishly, and get stabbed or shot, and left for dead in the gutter. All because of a phone. So really, you tell me, nosy man on the metro, who is the loser now?