I cut my own hair last week. I purchased the Elite Pro electric hair clippers through Amazon, and unpacked the much anticipated and quickly sanitized cardboard box. My overly long, unruly, very silver hair felt yucky and gross. It was time to shed the extra weight. I plugged in the clippers, stripped off my shirt and sat on a low plastic footstool over the tiled kitchen floor. Now, I was poised and personally empowered to do great damage. This was going to be fun! I drove those clippers across my locks like a 1965 Ford Mustang. What was the worst that could happen? I could leave a skid mark or two. Luckily, only my wife of forty years, who expects the unexpected from me, would witness the carnage. No one else would ever know. Hair grows, and I'm not going anywhere. We have been in solitary confinement for more than a dozen dozen days.
It has been odd spending the last twenty-one consecutive weeks avoiding any other human contact. Admittedly, I am glad we chose to stay safe, to stay at home during the pandemic, but what a strange way to live. I used to be somewhat of a "people person." Now, I share every moment of every day with my incarcerated wife and my temporarily retired guide dog. We go nowhere and see no one. We live in the shadows. Nowadays, we jump and scramble like cockroaches on the rare occasion when someone rings our doorbell. Who are they? What are they doing here? Are they going to step on us? How dare they approach our house. I want to bellow through the locked door, "I'm 65 years old. Now back off!"
In truth, we have adapted rather well. Life in the stir is all about routine. I know exactly how many calories we ingest every day. Exactly. I know how many eggs I will eat for breakfast. One. Slices of wheat toast? Two. We wrap up every day with a carefully pre-planned dinner and two small glasses of boxed red wine for me. As a treat, one plain, unbuttered and unsalted tortilla is a late night snack for us both. Rinse and repeat daily, forever.
Despite the days melting into weeks and months, we don't waste the time. Every day, my wife gets focused on her projects and I drop into my comfy chair. I have important stuff to do. I read AppleVis, play my mandolin and listen to Audible books. And, then I get serious.
On the coffee table next to my chair are two Apple Magic keyboards, a Belkin charging pad, a Mophie battery, AirPods, AirPod Pros and two iPhones. It is where I go to play.
My primary computing device is an iPhone XR. I run iOS 13.6 and stay in that environment if I want to avoid surprises. I am keenly aware and accustomed to its short-comings and bugs. I love many features of iOS 13, in particular the ability to redefine some VoiceOver gestures, but problems with the keyboard and text editing still make me crazy.
Now, when I want to throw caution to the wind, I pick up my retired iPhone 8. I've installed the latest Beta of iOS 14 on it and I have had a chance to start building a relationship with the new operating system. I have no idea of what will be present and what will work when iOS 14 is finally released, but I choose to be hopeful. If everything works as advertised, this could be a very exciting upgrade.
Part of the reason I am so pleased to have both an iPhone 8 and an iPhone XR is that they are roughly the same dimensions of the purported 5.4 inch and 6.1 inch iPhone 12 devices. I have no idea if the rumors of specific iPhone 12 models are true, but no one is here to tell me different. Of course, I would not likely open the door, even if they dropped by.
My ponderings about the possible upcoming iPhones have had a lot to do with how well they might fit into my hand. In a few ways, I really do not like my iPhone XR. I really enjoy what it can do, and I have no problem with its performance, but it is big, completely fills my shirt pocket and plasters itself against my chest like a hot brick. The iPhone 8 is a much more comfortable fit. It's almost quaint. However, I use new customized four-finger gestures all the time and my digits do not always land squarely on the smaller screen. The iPhone 8 feels as cramped as an airplane bathroom. Only cleaner. So, if I had to make the purchasing decision today, I would probably order one of the much anticipated 6.1 inch iPhones. The one thing I know that I will not do is order the unannounced 6.7 inch monstrosity. I am not interested in a very expensive hot slab of anything. Think small, or smaller.
While we sheltered in place, I have rediscovered my AirPods. I love them, again! When I started wearing hearing aids, I thought my AirPods were doomed to being dumped on my pile of old BookPorts and wired headphones. However, being limited to hikes inside my own house and only dressing up to visit the kitchen, I have plenty of free time to try new things. I have happily found that both standard AirPods and AirPod Pros will still fit securely to my ears even while I continue to wear my Oticon Opn S 1 miniRITE hearing aids. Although the Oticon aids make it possible to understand my wife during our confinement, they are not always perfect with VoiceOver. They often develop wacky connectivity issues when I also Bluetooth my Apple Magic Keyboard to my iPhone. AirPods always blissfully work perfectly with my keyboards. I have also discovered a richer music experience when I let my AirPods get involved. I had assumed for many months that hearing aids could not live symbiotically with AirPods and AirPod Pros. I was wrong. Sometimes, just letting the hearing aids listen to the outside world while the AirPods narrate books or play music is quite pleasant. And, iOS 14 promises to make my AirPod Pros work even better as they can be customized for my hearing loss. Good accessibility is good business.
I know that we may be staying on Lock Down for many months to come. However, I am not alone or bored. I research with my iPhone. I read and write and play music with my iPhone. I stay in touch and I stay entertained with my iPhone. If the planet must contend with this viral mess, thank goodness I have an iPhone. There may be a dozen dozen or a score of dozen days left in our self-imposed exile, but I'll put the time to good use. I'll play with my iPhone and let my hair grow out.
This is my twenty-fifth blog for AppleVis. Previous contributions include "Staying Home: Already A Pro," "Hot Pants and the iPhone 11" and "Say What? : Hearing Aids, iPhones and My Apple Watch."
Please feel free to share in the comments how your own technology is helping you stay connected during these challenging times. And, dear friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.