A few years ago I wrote a little piece about how some of the apps on my mobile device were kidnapping my mind. It would go something like this: I would be writing and want to look up the definition of a word, so I'd pull my mobile out to open the Merriam-Webster app. I'd see the little red number indicating that I had Facebook notifications and I'd immediately check them. Then I'd chat back and forth with people, do another couple of things and then put the phone down to get back to what I was doing. Then, I'd come across the word I needed to look up and I'd reach for my phone.... That could go on for hours if I let it – and sometimes I did.
But one can learn. I have learned to love my mobile phone for what it allows me to do, namely – be mobile. I always have a camera with me. It's not an SLR and it does funny things sometimes, but it's a darn good camera, and it's my camera. If you look at my website, most of the pictures have been taken with a mobile. For a long time I thought that I would grow up one day and learn to keep the SLR with me.
More recently I have decided that these are the pictures I take. I will never be what the world thinks of as a professional photographer, and I don't even want to be that. I want to be a writer. And, I have developed a little bit of a style of my own with them. Barry Perez was telling people the other day that I'm the one who handles most of his social media, and more to the point I am the one who had recently posted a photo album for him, including work of a lot of artist friends. One of them said, "I know. They have Earnie written on them. I mean, they have your name, but they have Earnie's touch." I like that she could tell from looking at the images that Earnie Painter was the one who took the pictures. They may not be the best pictures in the world, but (to steal an idea from Sheryl Crow) they are the most Earnie Painter pictures in the world.
I also always have music with me. As long as this world of ours keeps it together and our technology doesn't come crashing around us in a pile of apocalyptic rubble I'll have tunes at my fingertips. I have the music that I buy, which is kind of a lot, but not really, and the music that I stream from YouTube, which I financially support. I can sit in a coffee shop and envelope myself in a world apart from everybody around me. This is particularly useful when the people around me are loud, jarring or otherwise unpleasant.
And, social media is becoming a more important part of our careers – Barry's and mine. This is where the mobile phone really saves the day. I would imagine that the vast majority of people looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are doing so from a mobile device, so doing my social media work on a mobile device is the ideal way to do it. On my breaks during the workday I can sit quietly and check in. After work, sitting in a coffee shop I can add a few posts and answer some questions.
All of this is a boon for my life – or an enabler, depending on your point of view. I have a tendency to not be home. I've mentioned this before and I need to explore it more pointedly. But, for the moment I'm going with my nature and living my life in my car, in coffee shops, walking around graveyards or driving to visit people. I'm slowly learning how to make my home more appealing, but even when I get there I think I'll still be on the road. I'll still be living outside of my home, more than inside it. It just seems to be who I am, and my mobile phone has been very accommodating. I don't think they were thinking of people like me, particularly, but we fit into that market nicely.