I was invited on a media trip to Orlando, Florida several years back, to promote the launch of a tennis video game. Publishers were still making tennis video games back then for some strange reason. This was the summer of 2007. I know the actual date because people had iPhones on this trip, literally for the first time ever. (iPhones hadn’t existed prior to this.) I recall sharing a cab with a woman who let me diddle the dead husk of her depleted iPhone. I grabbed it, and proceeded to make faux computer sounds—BEEP, BOOP, BEEP, BOOP—as I pressed the nonexistent buttons on its cold, dead face. It was the first time I had touched an iPhone. Considering its inert state, it wasn’t terribly thrilling for me. The woman described her one gripe about the device: the first-generation iPhone held a charge for a comically brief amount of time.
Yes, iPhone battery life would improve. Yes, video game publishers would soon stop making tennis video games after this. The world always keeps turning, I guess.
At the event’s “press conference,” a worn out Maria Sharapova stood behind a podium and half-heartedly attempted to say a few nice things about the tennis video game she was there to promote. I observed the proceedings from the second row. I asked no questions.
Something else happened on that trip. Something I’ve never been courageous enough to speak about before.
This story is about that something.