My phone died last week.
Gone. Kaput. Just like that. Overnight. No explanation. No signs of weakness.
We had been through so much together: Aruba. A third child. A long trip to the ER when we thought someone had swallowed a piece of lego. Now this.
As an observant Jew, I am sans cell phone for 24 hours each week. But this was different. I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t ready.
That’s why these 24 hours were so distressing.
It started around 2.p.m. (14:00 military time because this just turned into a battlefield). Around then, I realized my trusted companion wasn’t charging:
Hmm that’s strange.
Phone at 3%. MUST hear this song before I pick up the kids.
Phone dies. Stupid song.
I got this. #Disconnecttoconnect.
Swim class. Actually have to converse with other moms. Awkward.
Dinner. Want to text husband: “ETA? ASAP PLEASE!”
But no, left to suffer alone.
Husband walks in. “IS EVERYTHING OK?!”
The absence of silly memes over the past two hours has left him worried.
Ah, kids in bed. Time for some mindless social media.
Fail. Stare at wall instead.
What is life? Go to bed.
What’s the time? What’s the weather? What day is it? What did Trump tweet now? Is there still a world out there?
Must get to an Apple store ASAP. Physically pull out laptop, plug in charger and check what time it opens. Put life, errands and all other appointments on hold until crisis is averted.
Have to memorize my license plate and manually key it into the parking meter. The indignity of it all. The meters not working of course, so I instinctively dig into my bag for my phone to take a picture. FML.
Arrive at Apple store. Join line of equally frustrated-looking people.
Greeted by very chirpy Apple technician. He looks so spiffy and put together compared to my sorry state. He’s smiling. I’m not. I want him to work his magic. Fast.
“Ten minutes” I hear him say, as he points me to a table in the back.
T-E-N M-I-N-U-T-E-S? Seriously? I’m in an APPLE store surrounded by electronic devices. And he points me to a bare table, to sit in the company of other people, void of screens to look at… For TEN MINUTES.
Second technician arrives. Thankfully five minutes early. Does a fancy test. Tries to be nice. But it’s over. Refers me to Verizon specialist to look into upgrades.
Verizon specialist, also chirpy: “Hi! What’s your name?”
Me: “Mor, as in can I have some more” (not chirpy).
Him: “OK and your first name?”
No patience for this right now.
“OK M-or,” (he struggles to pronounce a very common word in the English dictionary).
“I’m just going to ask you a few questions so we can log into your account.”
My palms start to get sweaty. Does he seriously think I can log into something without having the password resent to my inbox seven times?
“What’s your family name?” “Greenberg” ( I can do this).
“Your social security number?” “--- -- ---- “. (Alright, we’re getting somewhere).
“And your four-digit Verizon pin?”
“You’ll have to go to a Verizon store,” he says. Verizon has stores? I can’t even google where to find one, I want to tell him. But in lieu of not sounding too pathetic, I hop into Lululemon next door. I usually try to avoid stores that make me feel inferior for not spending $100 on yoga pants. But today is a day for stepping out of comfort zones.
I kid you not, the following Paul Simon song is playing:
“She's a rich girl,
She don't try to hide it,
Diamonds on the soles of her shoes”
Eye rolling completed, I find a cute jacket to try on. It’s loose and expensive, so I go online to check for smaller sizes and a potential sale. No, I don’t. I DON’T HAVE A PHONE.
Drive home feeling deflated. Try not to crash the car to avoid getting stuck without a way to call AAA. Dream of the days when I could choose the songs. Days where I would give anything to go back and reverse my decision to buy the Torah Avenue CD currently playing.
Start to get concerned about my heavy reliance on a cellular device. Concern wanes due to inability to google other people’s opinions on the matter. Comforted by the thought that at least once a week, come Shabbos, I’m not a complete slave to technology.
Use babysitters’ phone to frantically call husband. Feels like I’m 12 again, calling my mom to come get me from a sleepover: SAVE ME FROM THE FATE THAT HAS BEFALLEN ME.
On any other day, it would take a REAL emergency to pull my husband from work. Seeing no one is sick, I’m granted a supervised visit to the Verizon store while he CONTINUES working.
Thankful for the gesture, I assure him I can handle everything. He will just give his stamp of approval and ensure I get there and back safely. After consulting with the Verizon specialist for a few minutes I report back the damages - $800. OK?
Husband stops working. And starts driving Verizon specialist UP THE WALL. “He’s really nice when he’s not working,” I try to pipe in.
All is well. I leave with a bill that has been sliced to a quarter of its original size and a very large smile plastered across my relieved face.
People often tell me they’re “not really on social media.” They usually do this via Whatsapp. Using emojis. And top it off with a funny meme to soften the blow. (This is at least preferable to “lol,” which has now taken the place of its socially inept predecessor; “no offense or anything”).
I too, am sometimes in denial that my best creative outlet is via the Internet. But I think it’s high time we started calling a spade a spade. The mobile phone (Australian for “cellular device”) is here to stay.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe believed almost anything could be used for the good.
So the big question now is, what are you going to use it for?