We were waiting out the storm in the Susan Boynton section of Barnes & Noble when I decided, screw it, we'd just go for it. The girl loves a storm. She thinks wind is hilarious. She goes face-first into the rain, eyes closed, smiling wide. Besides, we had to jet before she took a bite out of "Doggies," the tell-tale cardboard evidence crusting at the side of her mouth. Not that I'd know what that looks like. Chirp.
We were in the last row of the mall parking lot, but I lettered in high school track five times. I yanked the canopy of the stroller over her head and gave us a pep talk:
"We got this," I said.*
I collected my bearings under the overhang. Cinched my hood; Got on my marks. Then, bam! We broke for the car. Four strides in, my iPhone fell out of my pocket. I realized it about the same time my right foot landed on it and used it as a sort of toe-board to skid across the wet asphalt.
"Shit," I said, dipping down to grab it without breaking pace and tossing it into my purse.
I strapped the girl into her car seat, broke down the stroller and hoisted it into the back of the Space Shuttle. Then I plopped, wet, into the front seat. I dried the phone on my pant leg and then looked at it.
The screen was blurry with tiny blue lines. It was like an old TV, antennae askew. The longer I stared, the blurrier it got. I restarted it. Still blurry.
What if it's not the phone? What if it's me? I wondered.
I recently learned that I do not need glasses to read. I shared this info with friends as a sort of "Guess what? My vision is improving!" story then stopped short when I realized that it's really a story about how I probably can't read with glasses anymore because I need bifocals.
Pollyanna, indeed. It's all how you look at things.
Meanwhile, in the back seat, the PBG was getting antsy and with antsy comes whiney. She prefers movement to staring out the back windshield while I start and restart my water-logged companion muttering my mantra: "Oh no, please no, no no no." Can't blame her. Still, the whine made for a lousy soundtrack and then thinking that made me feel like I was the star of a painful Public Service Announcement.
(Gravelly voice intones: Quit yer whining. Mama's phone is broke. Camera cuts to teary eyed toddler clutching a beloved stuffed animal, a giraffe-cow hybrid seemingly found only in Norwegian toy stores).
Finally I put the phone away and drove home and thought all sorts of crazy things like:
1. Great. Now my million dollar phone is broken a year before my contract expires.
2. I'm probably going to steal a flip phone out of one of those cell phone donation bins that collect devices for the troops. Tacky.
3. Do burners have cameras?
4. You know what? This is stupid. It's a phone. I don't even talk on the phone. Ever. At all. I'm just addicted to holding it.
5. What do I use this iPhone for, anyway? Texting. Photos. Looking at Instagram and Facebook. Googling things like "What are the last 12 things I've Googled?" All sorts of mind-blowing shit has gone down in a pre-Words With Friends world.
6. I should take a deep breath and prioritize.
You know what? I texted Chuck. I'm just going to be zen about this.
Oh! Good, he responded. Or something. Either way, he pretended to believe me.
7. I restarted the phone again and roared, a lion with its back leg caught in a bear trap, when the blurriness got worse.
Back at home, I removed the Mophie, a somewhat spendy case that allows me to recharge on my phone on the fly. This is crucial because I'm where batteries go to die and I'm super into Dice with Buddies and sometimes I read entire book-books on my phone, though I'm moving away from that trend. My point: I need juice and then I need more juice.
The inside of the case was as wet as you'd expect it to be after being ridden through a puddle.
I read something online about opening the iPhone to see if it was fixable or if the water-damage indicator had changed colors.
"Do we have a small screwdriver?" I texted Chuck.
"DO NOT OPEN YOUR PHONE," he responded.
Anyway. The phone dried out and now it's fine. It's got some scratches on the screen, but that's the rub of constantly carrying an object with a glass face.
The Mophie wouldn't charge, though, so I still swore a few more times. Just another thing I'm addicted to, this aesthetically pleasing battery pack.
But I tried it this afternoon and it worked again. Like nothing had happened.
"Oh," I texted Chuck. "I guess my Mophie works now, too."
"I hope you learned your lesson," he said.
I really did.
Lesson: Sometimes something bad almost happens but then it doesn't, but you can still write about it.
Just kidding. That's my worst-favorite phrase of 2014. I'd never say that.