1: I was at a Beach House concert. Fans were standing in front, holding up phones, filming the concert. Here the smartphone is a filter: you record the experience before you’ve experienced it.
2. Same concert: In the seats at the back, a woman in front of me conducted three text conversations, one of which was about the date she was on. Which was not going well. Here the phone is an alternate universe, more satisfying and urgent than the one you’re currently occupying.
3. On a residential block in Portland I saw a small shingled box with a glass front, set atop a short pole. Inside the box was a row of used paperback books, a “Little Library.” I took a picture with my phone and sent it to my wife with a caption like “So cool!” Here the phone is a proxy for language. The smartphone relieves me of the burden–using language to capture what I’m seeing and feeling–the burden which was once the joy of my life.