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Mobo tradecraft

It takes more than just owning a device to enter the world of the mobo.

For the first week after purchasing my Droid, I had it out rather smugly at every occasion, as if it were a portal into a time-space wormhole.  It’s a handsome device to start out with, and just holding it gave me a feeling of being in the know.  I got looks, you know, and nods.

But  I found out the hard way that I was a long way from Kansas.  I could barely master the basics.  Like holding the dang thing.  To be a true mobo, I was convinced, you had to master the skills.  By skills, I mean mobo tradecraft, a variety of skills that center around the device and its use under different situations.  It’s not merely texting and surfing that sets a mobo apart from the riffraff of other users, he (or she) has mastered these skills to the extent they fit seamlessly into their daily lives.

But it’s actually more than that.

It’s analogous to samurais of olden times.  Just because some guy in a bath robe has some cool-looking swords and a cheap haircut from a local barber college, he is not necessarily a samurai.  He has not mastered the fundamentals of a samurai, its sword play, its philosophy of life, its approach to strategy, its code of honor.   He may be an imposter or a samurai wannabe.

It was clear to me, sitting in those darkened theaters, following the heroes of my early years, that you could tell who was a samurai and who wasn’t.  And just by the way they looked at would-be enemies or how they ate their rice, you could tell who was really exceptional.  Only after devoting himself, could such a person call himself a true samurai.

So too, mobos had to master the skills and a mindset; he had to prepare for a range of situations he is likely to run into as he lives the mobile life.

If my episode with the runaway Droid did not convince me, I also found out that simple tasks, like finding my way around in a foreign part of town, could be impossible.  Just six blocks away, in the warehouse distinct, I found myself lost and without my bearings.  Usually I have a good sense of where I am and where I’m going.  But along these streets I was suddenly lost.  The railroad track interrupted the logic of the streets, so the north-south roads suddenly warped into one-way frontage roads.  So, I pulled into a vacant lot and set out by foot, my trusty Droid switched into Google Maps.   But I didn’t know exactly how to use it, to be honest.  And trying to learn on the fly was frustrating.

Part of my problem was that, as I moved from one side of the street to the other, was that I was not well versed in the technique of walking and typing.  This is a key skill in the mobo world, yet I was hopeless.  Apart from straying into a fence and stepping into something very slippery, I don’t remember much of anything.  I nearly walked into a truck backing away from his drop-off.  Lucky for me, the driver (who blasted his horn while leaning out of the side window with hands motioning nonstop)had seen it all, and simply in the end threw up his free hand Italian style, like I was a complete dufus.  Well, I should have known better.  I replied unapologetic in sign language that he should go screw himself.  But, in reality, I should have stopped walking, pulled aside in the shade and taken stock.  Or better yet, practice before I even went out the door. But, I was too much in a hurry.  (The story of my life.)

But the lesson I learned, and am constantly reminded of, is that practicing the mobo tradecraft is invaluable once you are out in the real world and must fend for yourself.  The phone becomes your life line in many situations.  When you are in new places, or with new people, the device can be a wealth of information.

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