First of all, thanks to all of you who wrote well-wishes in the comments regarding our trip to London. They were a lot of fun to read during the trip! Indeed we did have a good time, and my stepson was frequently in kid paradise. He loved Forbidden Planet so much that he asked to go back again on our last day. Among his many purchases there was a light saber, which did not fit in his suitcase. Cue heartbreak. Fortunately, he has parents who are skilled at jury rigging: we taped two cardboard mailers together at the Royal Mail office and managed to make it work. I expect major excitement when his light saber arrives at our flat (and am praying to the postal gods that it remains in one piece).
After a full day of Madame Tussaud’s, Hamleys, Forbidden Planet, and a Cornish pasty shop, we went to the Apple Store so the adults could play. Both my wife and I groaned upon seeing the large crowd outside, fearing yet another queue we’d have to stand in. But the people weren’t blocking the door, so we scooted in and didn’t stop to wonder why they were there.
Inside, we geek-shopped for some time and then settled down to play on shiny new computers in the second floor retail area. While skimming the news, I came across a slide show on impromptu memorials to Steve Jobs at various Apple Stores around the world. The seventh photo was labeled, “Regent Street, London.”
I know, I’m slow, but that’s when I realized why the crowd was outside the store. I leaned over the second-floor railing and looked back down toward the front windows.
Then I headed back down the stairs and outside.
People were lighting candles, reverently adding bouquets to the pile, and putting notes here and there. Many more were photographing the scene, and most of the cameras I saw were iPhones. How appropriate. (Also appropriate: I had read the news of Jobs’ passing that morning on my iPad.)
In a city of constant noise, there was almost no sound out of this crowd. They simply stood and watched, or added their contributions to the memorial. The entire windowsill was filled with apples, each with a bite taken out. And the note next to the photo of Jobs was a paraphrase from Apple’s most famous ad:
This is for the crazy ones, the visionaries, the ones who changed the world. You’ll always be my inspiration! Love, a Londoner.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why Steve Jobs’ death has affected so many people, including me. The reasons would fill a book. But that note gets to the root of it: We all want to believe we’re different, unique, capable of great things. Steve Jobs understood that. He really was all those things, and he really did change the world. In the process, he created the environment and the means for many of us to embrace our own differentness, and gave us beautiful tools to do it with.
Here’s to the crazy ones.