The last time I did a travelogue, it was a little too pedantic. We did this, and we saw that, and we met this other person. People seemed to like it—some of my colleagues still talk about it, strangely enough—but I can’t keep up that kind of narrative for a year.
In any case, we have now been in Ireland for five days. As you might imagine, we have been occupied mostly with settling in and bureaucracy. By tomorrow, we should all have the Irish equivalent of social security numbers, and we might have a bank account. We have cell phones (more on that in a moment). Electricity and gas service were successfully transferred to us. I have crossed most of the bureaucratic hurdles at Trinity College Dublin, too—I have a Staff ID, am bonded to use the library, have a new email address (though I haven’t checked it yet), and have wireless internet access in my office. The only hold up at home is internet, which can only be ordered via direct bank draft, which, of course, requires a bank account.
The house is terrific. We couldn’t have asked for better when renting a house sight-unseen. (One of my colleagues did check it out, but, while she is brilliant and wonderful, she doesn’t have children.) The landlords have been generous and kind, bringing over a few groceries they thought we might need and sharing their internet with us. (They live in the house next door. And we can only borrow their internet by sitting beside the East wall of the house. But beggars can’t be choosers.)
The house is very near Aviva Stadium. I was a bit concerned about noise, but I checked the calendar and there aren’t many events. Nonetheless, here’s the view out the children’s bedroom window. We call it our spaceship.
The bad news is that my iPhone was swiped on Sunday afternoon. I was walking to my office, to attend an event and use the internet. I had just talked with a local colleague on the phone, and I was holding it in my left hand, using it. The thief approached me from behind on a bicycle, grabbed my phone as he passed on my left, and rode on. I shouted and chased him for a couple of blocks, but I never had a chance.1 I’ve since been told that this is the most common crime in Dublin these days, by far. (I wish someone had told me that before.) It is pretty much the perfect urban crime, a modern-day pickpocketting.
Despite being a victim of petty theft, I am still feeling good about our year abroad. In fact, rather than run out and replace the device, I’ve decided that I’ll do without for the year. I love everything that smartphones enable, but I hate the tyranny that they can have over our lives. So, it will be good to take a break from the smartphone.2
Yes. Of course I know about Find My iPhone. The thiefs know to turn off the phones immediately, and it was turned off before I reached my office (probably long before). I did send a remote wipe command, but the phone was locked down reasonably well, and I hear that the first thing they do is wipe them, anyway. (They want the hardware, which they resell, and aren’t interested in the data.) Verizon Wireless has supposedly added the device to the CEIR so that it should be blocked from being used worldwide. ↩
Unsolved problems for my smartphone-less existence currently include how to track my runs and how to replace the perfection of the always-available camera. I’m working on solutions for running, and I think that’s a tractable problem. The solution for the camera is probably just to take more pictures with the SLR, but being a victim of petty theft hasn’t exactly made me eager to carry an expensive camera with me constantly. ↩