I was walking along a dark corridor in a tastefully decorated, air-conditioned home. I glanced down at the phone in my hand and thought, for a moment, that a huge rift had appeared in the screen.
It was actually an aerial photograph of a beach, a temporary screensaver. The line dividing blue surf from white sand looked, on the dimmed display, like a crack running diagonally across the entire device.
It reminded me that phones and laptops and tablets and TV displays are always trying to show us nature. Whenever we leave them to themselves, up pushes a photograph of a snow plumed mountain, or the sinuous, emerald green depths of an ancient woodland, or a goshawk frozen in flight.
It seems too obvious an irony that these screens, which are so often responsible for distracting us from the natural world, should be so insistent in reminding us of what we are missing. I suppose they are designed this way, to soothe us into thinking we're not really missing anything at all. In fact, they imply, we're being given the opportunity to see more.
I ran my thumb semi-consciously over the beach, as if to double check it was indeed a shore line of pixels and not a break in the glass, and as I did so it disappeared, leaving only a space for my PIN, surrounded by artificial dark.