How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
Lunch with Tim Danton is normally a jolly affair, but today he has decided to wear his Google Glass headset. Things get off to a bad start before we’ve even left the building, as I explain that I need to go via a cashpoint. “OK Glass!” barks Tim abruptly. “Directions to a cashpoint.” There is an awkward pause: I don’t know whether he’s waiting for me to speak, or has been distracted by some terribly important message that I can’t see. His face falls slightly. “It’s giving me directions to an attachment,” he explains, apologetically.
At length we discover that our nearest cashpoint is at Sainsbury’s on Mortimer Street, which we already knew, and set off on foot. Tim is expecting his headgear to attract a certain amount of attention, and as we walk around the West End we do notice plenty of lingering glances: without a doubt, Google Glass is a novelty.
No one, however, goes so far as to verbally abuse us or engage with us in any direct way. This is just as well, as I cannot help noticing how easy it would be for someone to snatch Tim’s thousand-pound accessory off his head and vanish into the crowd. I consider sharing this observation with Tim, but I figure it might make him worry – and besides, a tell-tale gleam in his visor tells me that he’s busy right now.
‘It doesn’t make me ideal company, does it?’, he observes insightfully.
We reach the café – where the waiter is entirely unfazed by Tim’s attire – and Tim decides it’s time to try out an app. “Explore the stars!” he commands, out of the blue. While I eat, he begins to peer around him at a starscape only he can see, occasionally exclaiming things like “Is this actually right?” and, bizarrely, “Canopus!” I work on my sandwich in silence for a few minutes until Tim briefly remembers that I’m there. “It doesn’t make me ideal company, does it?”, he observes insightfully.
In a spirit of compromise, he decides to switch to a different app. “Let’s try this one!” he remarks decisively. I have no idea what “this one” is, but I guess it must be some sort of shooting game, as the next minute or so is punctuated by Tim staring into empty space and periodically saying “bang” in a low but urgent voice. After a while he momentarily seems to remember himself: “I sound like a mad person, don’t I?” he asks, in a faraway tone as if not fully understanding his own question. Then: “bang”.
Eventually, Tim manages to squeeze in a small meal between apps, and we head back to the office. “Oh dear,” he comments, as we approach Dennis Towers. “It’s shut down.” I peer forward, but our workplace is plainly bustling. I look around me, but I can’t see what Tim’s referring to. I turn to him quizzically. “The battery’s died,” he explains. “The Google Glass has shut down.”
Privately I welcome this news.