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Full Immersion

I have a new iPhone cover.  I went with Royal Blue.  (Apparently I  capitalize colors of royalty.)

The Verizon girl showed me my options, and she said, “How rough are you on your phone?”

Ha, I said in my head.  “Seriously, you have no idea what this phone will need to withstand.”

She led me to the cases that can handle full immersion of water depths up to six feet.  Where was this little miracle genius three years ago, I’d like to know?


* * *

(from the archives of Teaching Tuck and Ty, 2010)

It wasn’t an impulsive decision. I took on a few extra editing assignments, and we spent the summer waiting, researching, watching ebay, and carefully scouting out my entrance into the world of Smart Phones.

We decided to purchase a gently used one, to take advantage of the hobbies of the utmost techies: those who love to have the newest technology, so they sell their gently used – still good as new – phones on ebay. After multiple auctions and careful bidding, we found it. My Droid.

And it arrived. Oh, it arrived.

We headed straight to the phone store, de-activated the old phone, upgraded to the new, and with only a few small hiccups, I entered the world of online capabilities right in my pocket. Or most often, in my hand.

The next day, we began a new tradition in our family: Friday Fun. Since the boys are not in preschool on Friday, and since naps have been relegated to some of my favorite memories, we need to beef up our Fridays. Leave it to me: bring on the fun. And on our first Friday of the new regime, I declared a day at the pool.

 We loaded up with swim trunks, towels, dry clothes, pool noodles, snacks, juice, and monkey inner tubes, and we settled in. They splashed and played, and I sat nearby: watching them, and enjoying my new companion and all her said capabilities. I updated my calendar. I surfed the internet. I scrolled through Facebook udpates. I watched my little splashers and their together fun, and then I thought, “Oh! The Camera option! Well, I haven’t taken a picture yet! Let’s see what this baby can do.”

 And I am not sure what happened next. It unfolded like a slow motion, horrifying thriller movie scene. Suddenly, the phone was out of my hands. It crashed on the cement, bounced twice, broke in pieces (the back popped off and the battery fell out), and then splashed into the pool.

Dunk. Straight to the bottom.

I said one word. Six times. I won’t be blogging it.

And then I jumped in the water. Fully clothed. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, and I would have done the same thing for $200 cash in the bottom of the pool. I would have. This was the technological equivalent. I dove down and recovered it, and I use that term loosely. I gathered all its drippy pieces in my hands.

 I gathered the boys out of the water, under the premise that I had made a horrible mistake and the promise that I would bring them back to the pool as soon as possible. (The poor children had been swimming for all of 17 minutes.) I sloshed them to the locker room and put them in dry clothes, sadly having no dry options for myself. But frankly, I didn’t care. I was so distracted by the magnitude of the situation that it didn’t occur to me that I looked like a drowned rat.

(Long curly hair does noticeable things in its various states of unexpected pooltime recovery.)

To their credit, the boys adapted well to the change in plans. They were most impressed with my plunge into the pool, and they talked again and again about my splash to the bottom. Oh, and there was mention of the broken phone. And Tucker, who evokes whatever emotion his mother currently presents, offered to spank the swimming pool. A thoughtful gesture.

At home, I immersed all the separate parts into a bowl of rice, which I had been told is the smartest thing to do for wet electronics. And we might have been fine. We really might have. See, I later learned that there is nothing inside a phone that cannot dry. A wet phone can be salvaged, if you just give it enough time to completely dry. (“Enough Time” = Days, people. Days.) It’s a wet phone combined with a wet battery: this is a problem. And this is where I made my mistake. Impatient to measure the damage, I inadvertantly created more. I put the phone back together, turned it on, and it buzzed in my hand. Not the “You have a Text” buzz. More of a “Fried to a Crisp” buzz. And then it got hot in my hand.

That’s probably not usually good.

And it proved not to be. This was my mistake. The beginning of the end. With my long-awaited Smart Phone, that had been mine for 14 hours.

The boys and I headed back to the phone store to reactivate my ‘old phone’, the one I had been using just the day before. The girls behind the counter even remembered me from the night before. Only now I was holding both a broken phone and a broken heart.

Now, if you’re still reading, allow me to paint this scene: I stand by my assertion that a phone store is the worst place in the world to take two small children. There is plenty to entice them, but nothing they may hold. There is plenty to draw them in, but nothing I may say yes to. There are plenty of people around, plenty of waiting, and plenty of problems lurking. Add to that: this particular store boasts a 1930s model of a motorcycle as well as a replica of some kind of big deal car. Real deal. Heavy. Expensive. Enticing to little boys.

So you can imagine that they wanted to climb, touch, run, play – frankly, get back in the pool I had whisked them out of. After frantic attempts to corral them, I finally got down one knee and said, “Guys, here’s the deal. Think of your favorite toy. That phone was mine. It was my favorite toy, and Daddy gave it to me. And today I broke it. So my heart is very sad, and I really just don’t have the energy to chase you around the store. Please just stand beside me, be kind, still, and respectful. Please.”

And when I stood up, the man in front of me sneered, “Nice try, Mom. I give you credit: you do better than most.”

Nice Try.

Excellent. Because that’s the sarcasm I needed right now. ‘Preciate it.

Here’s how the rest of it went down: I got the old phone working again. I called my husband to tell him what had happened, but I was far past the point of verbal clarity. I was in that indecipherable place with monosyllabic sobbing that is closer to the native tongue of Chewbacca.

Still, he understood. He got me. And he came home. And he gave me his phone. To keep.

(Insert sidenote: We decided that I would acquire his, which was newer than the gently used one I had only just wrapped my heart around, and he would upgrade to a newer version. It was a sly plan: he was both noble and opportunistic. But hey, I got a phone. His. A man who loves his wife so well should get some technological perks. Go get a new phone, honey. I’ll happily take yours.)

 And that is how the two people in this marital union ended up with brand new Smart Phones. So much for careful planning, research, saved money, and shrewd bidding. Bring on the impulsive quick fix. Sometimes, it’s just the solution.

The following evening, we went on a date with our Smart Phones. Nothing says romance like two lovebirds addicted to isolating technology. But it was ours, and we were together, and we took pictures of our togetherness for our spousal caller ID. I downloaded; he downloaded the Periodic Table. We spoke our love languages.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Apologies to anyone that finds this offensive but I have to share it… Why do we put our phones in rice after being submerged in water? Because it attracts Asians in the middle of the night that will fix our electronics 😉 (my part Asian assistant manager finds this hilarious btw…)

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