Last week, approximately every single electronic device in my house shot craps. The vacuum cleaner set out upon a course of self-improvement, deciding that it no longer wanted to suck, rebelliously kicking the dog hair and dirt right out the back of its roller. My Roku decided that disco was a valuable new trend in television viewing and started flashing the programs on and off. My sewing machine (in copious use this time of year) mysteriously shut down in the middle of a seam and wouldn’t kick back on. My cheap iron wouldn’t heat up (no more grilled cheese). My modem decided to play cat and mouse with my internet service provider, and my waterproof iPod tried to electrocute me in the swimming pool prior to ‘shuffling’ off this mortal coil. Worst of all, though, my cellphone wouldn’t charge.
I know this has happened to a lot of you as well – your cellphone charges increasingly slowly, you have to carefully connect the charging cable, wiggling it into perfect synchrony with the innards of the phone, and then one day: WHAMMO, no charge-o, no mo’ (usually approximately 14 minutes after the warranty expires). I thought maybe the end of the phone was nigh, but I was hoping to not have to buy a new one until I got Christmas out of the way. Phones (even the crappy ones I buy) are notoriously expensive. I tried several methods of phone salvation I found on the internet.
First, I minutely adjusted the tiny tab within the charging port. The Wikihow page said to remove the battery first, but my phone (as previously noted) was a junker. Popping the battery could be done, but you’d have to use a bludgeon to get it out. I turned the phone off and proceeded with the work. In retrospect, my super pointy eyebrow tweezers may have not been the best tool for the job. By the time I was done, the tab was certainly “pushed up,” but it also looked like it had been chewed on by carpenter ants. I plugged the phone in with no results, but by this point I was considering any lack of electrocution a win.
As I moved the cable around, trying to find the sweet spot, I soon realized that if I looped the cord back around the phone, I could get some contact. Unfortunately, the cord didn’t want to stay twisted in a position that defied at least three laws of physics and probably at least one of thermodynamics. I had to weigh it down with a hammer.
I left my new charging station to work on the kitchen counter, and set about figuring out where to get a phone repaired in Corpus Christi, with brief forays into Sewing Machine Junction and the Great and Terrible Territory of Vacuum Cleaner Dissection. Eventually, my phone got charged up to 100% and I transferred (for the first time my history of phone ownership) all my contacts to my SIM card. The little bar dimmed down to 96% after this activity, so (just to see if I could make it through the holidays with a little dopey engineering and some luck) I attempted to plug it back into my hammer rig. No dice. This was the phone’s final charge.
That’s when every person in my contacts list decided it would be an awesome idea to text me photos and videos. To put this in perspective, only three people on the planet regularly text me, and one of them is Facebook’s password reminder service. That day, however, people I hadn’t spoken to in years decided it would be an auspicious time to send me pictures of their flooring/neighbor’s cat/houseplant with at least one of their thumbs at the side of the frame. Then they wanted to have a looooonggg talk about it. Try explaining that your phone has no charge when your phone is dwindling slowly away to nothing like a terrible actress hamming up a consumptive death scene – you keep thinking it’s done, but it never quite is. *Cough.
I loaded up and went off the cell phone repair shop. Being a dork, I picked the one with the absolutely dumbest name. Pro-tip: adding a “z” to make a word plural doesn’t make cellphone repair an ‘edgy’ business. It’s still cellphone repair. The only thing dangerous about it is possibly having to tell a customer that their $1000 phone (worth literally $1.72 in materials) isn’t repairable. Believe me, in that scenario, that ‘z’ won’t save you. After waiting in line for a bit, a nice gentleman told me my phone wasn’t repairable because it was an “international phone.” I’m pretty sure that was industry speak for, “Sorry, lady, your phone is trash unless you intend to use it for target practice.” I was okay with this since their average price for phone repairs (on the Apples and Samsungs that evidently aren’t ‘international’) was hovering around $100, and my whole phone cost $40 to begin with.
I went home and ordered a new phone from Amazon. I splurged and got one with a super battery, figuring that if I had to charge it less, the fragile port would be preserved longer. The phone, plus an extra 32G of memory was $99 – quite a hit for poor little me. Then I spent the two terrible days in the Gulag of No Phone. I didn’t realize how much my life is ruled by the device until I was cut off. It does everything! It monitors my sleeping, exercise and eating habits. It gives me my email and lets me check my account balances. I read all of my morning newspapers on the phone. It tells me the temperature outside. All my music is accessible on my phone – I actually had to listen to the RADIO in my car – BLECH. Oh, and it allows me to communicate with my family and friends.
It took those entire two days to convince the Rev and the G.P. that my phone wasn’t working, and even then they were a little shaky on the topic. Ten minutes after the new phone arrived and was set-up, I got a text from my Dad that read, “You can have my old iPhone if you want.”
After a considerable moment of face palming, I wrote back: “Thanks, Pops. That might have worked, but I now have a new phone…which is how I got your text message.”
“Have some gratitude,” Dad replied, “as least you HAVE a phone now.”
He was right. Gratitude is important. I’ll find mine just as soon as I figure out where I put all the screws to the vacuum cleaner.