iPhone coupling

Curious observation: there exists a breed of hybrid creature indigenous to MRT trains known as the iPhone couple. Contrary to what the name suggests, it is not, as one might presume, a pair of iPhones attached to each other by means of some sort of adhesive, waylaid carelessly on the train. Rather, the term refers to a pairing of man and woman (rarely, boy and girl) ostensibly in a romantic relationship. Judging by their standards of dressing (read: bermudas-and-flip-flops-everyhwere-I-go-because-I-just-don’t-give-a-damn-anymore), they appear to be almost middle-aged and presumably well advanced in their relationship, long past the initial whirlwind of attraction and infatuation. I.e., failed yuppies of a sort.

In the uncommon but not unheard of circumstance of the couple being unseated, they will attempt to stand facing each other in order to maximise eye contact with their respective iPhones and keep up the sham of appearing to try and pay attention to his/her partner. It simply does not work – no observer is ever fooled into believing that either of the couple has anything to say that would be more captivating than getting to that next level on Bejeweled.

It is much more common to observe the iPhone couple seated, either partially or completely.  In the event whereby only one seat is available, the male member of the couple will chivalrously offer his seat to the female member, and then proceed to stand protectively in front of her. Presumably, this is as much to offer the female an opportunity to rest her legs as to facilitate his peeking at her screen to see if she caught up with him on Plants vs Zombies yet.

The male member of the iPhone couple is possessed of remarkable situational awareness and multitasking ability. Not only is he able to stand protectively over his partner, manage his resources in whatever tower defence game he is playing at the moment, and listen to music at the same time, he can also spot vacated seats up to two seats distant from where his partner is seated, and proceed to immediately plonk his ass down on it before some undeserving usurper, like a primary school student or a lady tottering on four-inch-heels, steals it away.

Once both members of the iPhone couple are comfortably ensconced within their seats, multitasking capabilities are disabled. Both will stare intently at their iPhone’s 3.5-inch display, focusing on whatever the latest hot game is, to the exclusion of all other outside stimuli. And if the game ceases to be of interest, there is always fiddling around with music playlists, the app store, facebook, twitter, foursquare, and, if nothing else, rearranging icons on the menu to do. For the iPhone couple, there are endless possibilities of self-distraction available to delay having to, horror of horrors, talk to each other.

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