I showered. Rested. Changed clothes. Walked the streets. No one should ever write a single word about Paris ever again. Everything has surely been said. Forgive me for all that follows here.
It was Friday. The blocks were overcome with people. The people came in all configurations. Teenagers together. Schoolchildren kicking a soccer-ball on the street, backpacks to the side. Older couples in long coats, scarves and blazers. Twenty-somethings leaning out of any number of establishments looking beautiful and cool. It reminded me of New York, but without the low-grade, ever-present, fear. The people wore no armor, or none that I knew. I was in the sixth arrondissement. I felt myself melting in the stew of it all. There were whole blocks which had doubtlessly sprouted a generation of poorly-executed romantic comedies, though they seemed a good idea at the time. Side-streets and alleys were bursting with bars, restaurants and cafes. Everyone was walking. Those who were not walking were embracing.
They got metal detectors here, right? So I knew I was O.K.
Android has done little to radically disrupt the mobile industry. The majority of power still belongs to the same telecom operators that ruled five years ago, and many of the same handset/component makers. Google has helped Samsung boringly ascend and has accelerated decline at Nokia and BlackBerry. It has perhaps stopped Apple from selling as many phones as it might in an Android-free world, and has helped prevent Microsoft from gaining a solid foothold in mobile. It has allowed bookstores to create serviceable, semi-popular tablet devices. But phones are still bought and sold pretty much the same way they always have been, for roughly the same price, and wireless service is still something people pay a bunch of money for. There are no free, self-driving phones with ad-subsidized service. There are no hippie P2P data-sharing schemes for unlocked Androids. There are few mobile hardware hobbyists or tinkerers. Many Android users don’t even do anything interesting with their phones. Everything is still so normal, so unremarkable, so un-Googly.