So I'm one of the silly people standing in line for the 5s at 5:30 this morning. There are far sillier people than me though -- people who slept in tents overnight, and about 150 others in front of me in the line waiting for the Bethesda, Md. Apple store to open its doors at 8 a.m. to unveil its glorious new product. Someone is sleeping in a hammock.
Feeling slightly embarrassed, and not wanting to engage or make friends, I put in my ear pods, crank up Michael Jackson and begin texting friends. I tell a friend where I am. I'm waiting for the 5s.
She texts back, "What's the 5s?"
The new iPhone, baby. David Letterman has been talking about it for weeks.
She says she's happy with her 5, but I explain this is the future -- thumbprint security encryption, more pixels than ever before, faster/ stronger/ smarter/ sexier -- it's going to change my life. And it comes in metallic gold and silver, in addition to space grey.
Okay, I'm not the only one buying the hype -- there are 150-plus peeps ahead of me and by 6:30 a.m. more than that behind. Lots of Russians. Some smokers, too. Who smokes before 7 a.m.? There are some swelligant types -- a chic older Latin woman in front of me wearing sunglasses before the sun comes up, and a couple of cute gay guys on their yoga mats doing sun salutations. Namaste.
One hour 'til curtain and the good Apple peeps (no blonds -- I think Apple has a no blond hiring policy. I mean has ANYONE ever seen a blond working the Genius Bar?) make rounds down the street, passing out bottles of water. An older Muslim guy rolls out a small rug and prays. A coffee cart pushed by a perky, pierced and heavily tattooed smart-looking Apple dude offers Dunkin Donuts coffee and tells us to get ready. The line tightens.
Another Apple dude with gauged ears passes out "holding cards." Up to two per person. Each card has a serial number and guarantees I will get my new phone today. "We are anticipating selling out." Fascinating -- there are apparently people waiting in line just for these "holding cards" so they can turn around and sell them.
I'm around the corner, standing behind a Mexican restaurant and can't see the front, but there is a countdown to 8 a.m. and then loud cheers.
8:18 a.m. -- Word is ALL gold and silver sold out. The woman behind me in the flawless purple '80s nylon track suit is DEVASTATED. She ONLY wants gold. I think she's crying.
9:15 a.m. -- I'm finally at the front of the line. An Apple woman from Chile named Sani shakes my hand and congratulates me. I've never seen so many happy people in the morning. With metallics no longer an option, I tell myself I'll be fine with space grey. It is handsome. I select the newest leather case in a camel color -- Annie assures me it will look better with age.
Very efficient -- reps from AT&T and Verizon are on hand to troubleshoot upgrading issues. I'm feeling tingly. Annie hands me the cellophane sealed box. I open it like it's a Willy Wonka bar -- but here, every box has the golden ticket. My happiness quotient goes up. I encrypt with my very own thumbprint and am congratulated again by the guy with the big ear decorations.
I don't want to leave, but when I do, the line (now 10:30 a.m.) is still past the Mexican restaurant, and I can't help but feel a little taller and actually, not so silly.