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OK Glass, Do Your Shtick

If you enjoyed Trae Vassallo’s recent post about how she uses Google Glass to be a more efficient mom, you’ll love author Gary Shteyngart’s account of puttering around New York, basking in the awe factor of the futuristic eyewear. Shteyngart entered a Twitter contest to become one of the first “Google Explorers” to try out Glass. (His winning tweet, “#ifihadglass I could dream up new ideas for the TV adaptation of my novel Super Bad True Love Story,” earned him the privilege of paying $1,500 for the product.) After some basic training at the Glass Explorers “Basecamp,” Shteyngart hit the streets, along with several hundred other Explorers in New York City.

Glass, Shteyngart reports, gives him a patina of semi-celebrity. “I hear that in San Francisco, where these devices are far more in evidence, the term “Glassholes” is already current, but in New York I am a conquering hero,” he writes. He takes his act to Bushwick, where “everyone at the bar … wants a piece of me.” Shteyngart’s favorite Glass function is the video recording, which allows him, mostly surreptitiously, to record a series of only-in-New-York conversations. (When he’s not being surreptitious, he approaches bar patrons and tells them that he’s from the N.S.A. and stealing their personal data with his spectacles.) In a hilarious video, he describes to his psychoanalyst the novelty of suddenly being the center of attention. Wearing Glass, Shteyngart says, “you’re a dork, but people love you. For a little bit. And then they stop loving you.”

But Glass, Shteyngart concedes, “takes its toll.” “After a full day of Glassing,” he writes, “I fall into bed exhausted. I want to take my Glass off, but there’s a tweet from Joyce Carol Oates in response to a tweet I posted of myself wearing Glass.”

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