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While in Oz over Christmas I made an appointment at the Genuis Bar in Southland’s Apple store to get my iPhone looked at (more on that in a future post) and I noticed something: I instinctively reach for my iPhone, presumably to check Path and/or Twitter and/or Instagram, mere seconds after I begin being idle. Seconds.

I noticed only at this point because the Genius[1. Genius? Really? I hate referring to them as geniuses. I’ll look for a suitable replacement in time that respects their knowledge, without doesn’t dilute the true meaning for the word.] had walked away with my iPhone, and I reached into my left pocket with purposeful and precise muscle memory.

I think the reasoning for this is partly due to repetitive conditioning. I do this so often that it’s almost unconscious, like breathing. I’ve never thought about this act before, I’ve just done it. I know it’s not compulsive because I can easily switch of and forget about virtual socialising when in the company of friends actually socialising.

Another reason for this newly-found muscle memory is perhaps I don’t like looking idle when in surrounded by strangers. Maybe it looks like I have a life if I’m checking my iPhone at the first sign of a period of waiting. This reason seems weird to me because I’m interested in everything, so I usually look at my surrounds and take stuff in. Especially in a place like an official Apple store where technologies, retail concepts, and staffing systems are on the cutting edge. Even in such a highly interesting place, my hand went straight for the pocket. Maybe I’m delegating tasks as if I had separate brains for my head and limbs. Like an octopus.

I presume many people are the same. I often see people virtually socialising when alone. I guess it’s a way to keep occupied when idle, which isn’t being idle at all in theory. Always be doing something — have more gumption (more on that too in a future post).