Overheard Everywhere

‘What’s your favourite song?’ my friend asked me this weekend. ‘I’m not sure, but you do remember which song is to be played at my funeral, don’t you?’ She nodded, and I thought about how desolate and well-attended my funeral will be. I’ve just read the Steve Jobs’ eulogy, given by his sister at his memorial service, and I thought today I’d talk about iPhone apps. (It  was that or make predictions about my own funeral, which might be a little too much for a Monday).

There’s an iPhone app called ‘Overheard Everywhere’. It is filled with the idiotic things people say in public places. I love it. Today, there are three women sitting on the sofas opposite me wearing too many layers and an amazing assortment of oversized rings. They seem to have forgotten they are in a coffee house, because they are discussing the most intimate details of their lives. The middle lady is leaving her job. She needs, and I quote, a ‘job where they understand that sometimes I will come in, and be having a bad day. I mean, I’ll be at work, but I won’t really be doing much, and I’ll need lots of support.’ Her friends nod sympathetically. What kind of monster would make a person work when they didn’t feel like it. ‘You need to look after yourself’, her friend says sensibly. ‘I mean, in the interview, I told them. I said, this is me. Take it or leave it.’ I’m nodding along. (This is not wise when eavesdropping, but I am enthralled). Her friends continue to give her completely reasonable advice. ‘And have you spoken to Sandra about supported leaving?’ I can tell from their snide tone that Sandra is their current, unimpressive boss. I imagine she doesn’t care if people are having a bad day and don’t want to work. I am sure she will have given much thought to helping her former employee leave her job in a ‘supported manner’. ‘It’s just very important to be supported when you are leaving a job. Or else you could have an existential crisis.’ Finally, I’ve got my perfect Overheard Everywhere quote.

Possibly my favourite, or at least most comforting iPhone app is called FML. (***k my life). It is filled with very short stories about terrible things that have happened to other people. It’s the perfect dose of Schadenfreude, neatly tucked inside my trusty iPhone. In the mornings I often open the app just to check for such gems as, ‘today my mother met me at the airport. I greeted her excitedly because I had been away all summer. She said, ‘it’s been so quiet since you’ve been away. Can we please keep it like that?’

The worst app I have been vigorously persuaded (bullied) into using is the McDonalds app. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was certainly more than the blurry map graffitied with disproportionately large golden arches. What the app really taught me was that there are lots of McDonalds in London. Which is pleasing, but hardly life-enhancing. The very best iPhone apps embody the very best of what Steve Jobs brought to Apple- beautiful, helpful, interesting products.

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