Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Travel, the iPhone, Time/Space

“Wasn’t is a great morning today?” said the Trader Joe’s cashier to me as I was picking up my combination of sparkling water and sunflower butter.

I had to think a bit before saying: ‘Yes, good, good.’ First, I had to think about where my morning had been and then I had to match my first morning experience with one of my high-frequency applications on the iPhone: the checking of the weather. As a biker, I have to be aware of the weather, after all. The weather had apparently been good in the town where said employee had woken up and the last time I was in said town, it had been raining pretty steadily. It felt like much time had transpired albeit it was but one day. The time/space duo acquires particularly peculiar meaning at times.

In a twenty-four hour period I had driven over 650 miles and passed through parts of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. When much space is covered in a short amount of time, time itself is processed a little differently.

One of the good things about this kind of travel is the help that technology affords. The iPhone is especially handy and the GPS service is most reliable. The little blue dot proves reassuring, more often than not, and whether you are in what looks like Nowhereville, USA or a major downtown area, the iPhone says, 'don’t worry, I got this.'

Of course, I’m a fan of the iPhone. I tend to use only Apple gadgets because, like my trusted people, they deliver. If something works, I believe in showering it with linguistic attention.

So, just what was accomplished in one day, which is not necessarily a prototype of quotidianity?

Well, other than covering different time zones by car and visually experiencing some of the vast landscape that is the Midwest, I met up with fellow medievalists, presented on my research at the International Congress on Medieval Studies which takes place annually in Kalamazoo, MI, spent an evening with a fellow medievalist with a knack for Apple gadgets to whom I showed which iPhone apps he'd been missing out on while simultaneously thinking of how little we were talking about the importance of medieval scholarship is higher academia, heard a few talks in my field, rediscovered the music of The Strokes on the drive back (as it played from the iPhone, of course), and much more.

Who, but medievalists can pull off such multidisciplinarity, I ask (in jest for those who might take this rhetorical question as a sign of narcissism.)

On the way back I was entertained by the day I had just experienced. Medieval scholarship and modern technology do make quite a gripping marriage indeed. I really should have read my presentation off of the iPhone but introducing too much modernity to an auditorium full of medievalists might prove to be a tad too daring. So, I used paper. This time.







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6 comments:

Sra said...

Nice post. GPS is one thing I wish the iPod Touch featured. Do you favor a type of sparkling water? I'm a Perrier snob because the taste is clean and the carbonation bubbles have the same feel as soda, which is what I took up sparkling water to replace.

Tina said...

That is quite a 24-hours.
Any great talks from K-zoo? You podcast-ing about it?

Dana said...

Sentence of the day for me: 'Who, but medievalist can pull off such multidisciplinarity?'

B.R. said...

Sra, I also privilege Perrier. However, I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by a new discovery. Trader Joe's has this brand called Poland Spring. It's made in Connecticut and I find the consistency of it quite appealing.
T, K-zoo was good. Some of the talks were well-presented but the place itself is a bona fide zoo. Thousands of medievalists from all over the world is quite a thing to experience. But there were a lot of interesting ideas in the air, so that works.
-Yes, I do think medievalists have a knack for multidisciplinarity. More of us should creating iPhone Applications, I say. ;)

Nicki said...

The GPS rocks. Whether it's getting to the nearest grocery store or a nice road trip, this feature absolutely rocks.

Anonymous said...

I liked this.