It wasn't exactly what you'd expect from a reporter, but it was my truth and my reality for a long, long time: I lived and worked without a smart phone. Yes, it wasn't until this May that I was officially inducted into the smart phone world. And by then, Apple was already on its fourth version of the beloved iPhone. For me, it may as well have been the first and only - such was the difference it's made in my life.
True, there are the disadvantages: the inability to ever fully disconnect, coupled with the temptation to constantly - almost obsessively - check your e-mail accounts. But oh, how I delight in the ability to have information, e-mail, music and even GPS at my fingertips all the time... I just feel so much more "in touch."
You can imagine, then, how mortified I was when the following events happened on a recent afternoon... It kind of puts that whole "in touch" thing into perspective... or at least into a different context altogether.
So my daughter Grace and I were visiting my Mom and Dad in Forest Lake - something we enjoy doing on our days off. At one point, and while my Mom and I were engaged in a serious conversation, Grace briefly disappeared, only to reappear brief moments later.
At the time, we didn't think anything of her absence. After all, a sturdy 17-month-old can get around... and can find things to briefly amuse herself. We continued with our visit, and about a half hour later and while I was changing Grace's diaper, we still hadn't reflected on Grace's brief absence. That is, until my mother approached me... with my treasured iPhone in her hand.
I recall her words now as if they still hang in the air around me: She said - with some hesitation and mortification, "you'll never guess where I found this." I responded, fearfully - "where?" And that's when my mother told me the dreaded answer... the answer I knew already had to be true: "in the toilet."
And there it was - my lifeline, my technology tool, my connection to the 21st century, in short, my iPhone - had been submerged and seemingly sabotaged for all future use. My beautiful child, who had not yet dropped ANYTHING in the toilet, had decided to make my iPhone her first ceremonial sacrificial object.
I didn't immediately give up, of course. I mean, I had no choice - this was a company-issued piece of equipment for which I was physically- and now, likely, financially-responsible. So I jumped on the computer - looking desperately for a solution to a water-logged iPhone. As you might imagine, there are several sites dedicated to just that dilemma: sites that suggest blow-drying your phone or putting your phone in a bag of rice. I tried the rice trick. I was desperate.
And then I started making the calls. I called AT&T - our provider - they could do nothing but offer me a discount on the phone's replacement. I called Apple - the representative didn't seem familiar with the iPhone 4, referring instead to buttons and features found only on the iPhone 3. And then I called my husband - I had to explain to him how we'd be having an unexpected expense.
But just when you think all ends badly, we did try one last thing. We went to the Apple store. And there, my friends, I encountered a world of superior customer service and willingness to trouble-shoot. I won't go into all the details - because I believe the company's response varies, based on customer and product history - but I will say this: my Apple worker (his name was Drew) did COMPLETELY right by me... helping me to try and salvage my now water- AND rice-logged phone. And when that failed, he helped me get my hands on a new one... and at minimal cost. Amazing, actually, since you don't get that kind of customer service every day.
So, what IS the moral of the tale and the reason for my latest blog? Certainly, I did not intend to write a commercial for Apple. Nor did I intend to blame my darling baby for what would only seem to her to be a natural experiment ('let's see what this mommy-loved device does when dropped in the toilet?'). But I assert maybe one or two things: one, life goes on with or without the smart phone. It's delightfully true. We survived without them before... we can certainly carry on without them today (and please remember that, those who are not yet in the 'smart phone world' -- you're completely fine, if not better, for it!). And two, leave it to this crazy series of events to remind me of what I know and believe every day to be true: that those silly smart phones will come and go, and it's always and forevermore the baby who drops the phone in the toilet that really matters.
I only wish I'd had my iPhone to record the moments when all of this unfolded...
That's it from me. I hope everyone's doing well and surviving the sudden shift to the chill of fall. Until next time, take care. And in the words of Mike Wallace, "do well, and do good."
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)