Monday, April 12, 2010

Of phones and me

Pretty much.

Giving me a phone is basically the equivalent of giving Steinbeck's Lennie a mouse. Entrust a phone to me and you are placing a tiny mouse in the grasp of a hulking, mildly-retarded man with large hands and a penchant for petting soft things a little too hard. It doesn't end well.

My scraped and worn, pink Blackberry Curve, with its scratched screen, sticking tracker ball, malfunctioning keyboard, and a significant portion of the pink paint chipping away showed all the signs of loving something too hard seen in any child's favorite stuffed animal. Think the Velveteen Rabbit, for adults. My phone was my binky.

The last time I ever used it was at 2:48AM, April 11, 2010. I know this because, though I have no memories after approximately midnight on said date, tells me this. It also tells me who I texted, but not what I wrote, which is incredibly fortunate because I can only imagine that whatever it was was horrifically misspelled, inappropriate and / or borderline incoherent.

At some point thereafter, my phone went missing. I discovered this when I woke up the following morning, feeling very much like P. Diddy. I was on my neighbors' couch, (a lovely young married couple I've never met before) in a men's tie and my cocktail dress. My frenzied thought process went like this:

Sweet Jesus, where am I? Oh thank God, there's my purse. Okay, got my camera still... that's awesome. Most of my makeup... ID and money... Oh sh*t. Where's my phone.

This is why we can't have nice things.

I spent the next several hours traipsing through Georgetown and retracing my steps after going home and changing out of the fashion masterpiece that was the night before's outfit-coupled-with-men's-tie to track my Blackberry down. After contacting some friends online, I narrowed down my bberry's zone-of-disappearance.

Possible location 1: City Tavern Club. My friends say I was still texting them after an event I had attended there ended. Ruled out.

Possible location 2: George. Ruled out because "allegedly", according to my friend, I wasn't allowed in this bar because I was "too intoxicated". If you have ever been to the blackout cesspool that is George, you know what an accomplishment that is.

Possible location 3: Smith Point. My favorite bar and boyfriend, SP, closes at 3AM, and I was still actively using my phone minutes before it closed. This made me think it is unlikely I lost it there in the last few minutes before close, but not out of the realm of possibilities. I only wish the SP bouncers had been as judicious as the George bouncers and not let me in. My friend said they had initially refused, but she got them to change their tune with a $20.

Possible location 4: Five Guys. This local ghetto, greasy food-that-eats-through-its-own-bag establishment is, in all likelihood, where the tragedy occurred. I know I was there because I found several dozen ketchup and salt packets littering my front sidewalk today.

I called Five Guys and they said no one turned in a phone. SP doesn't open until Friday so, being the ever-patient person I am, I went there and 'let myself into' the courtyard where I searched dejectedly. No phone. I did, however, find $5.

At that point I was down one phone, and up one tie and $5.

I guess karma considers that a fair trade, because whoever had my phone turned it off at approximately 7PM, meaning they weren't giving it back.

I know it was turned off because I had been frantically calling it all day from my backup cellphone. Yes, backup cellphone. I actually own another phone, with its own number, that I keep and use solely for the purpose of calling and tracking down my primary phone whenever I lose or break it.

I officially declared my phone dead and irretrievable when my calls stopped ringing and started going straight to voicemail. The battery was too full to have died. The loss of this phone, while only one of many that have managed to evade me, is particularly tragic. I had it for a year and a month. In the world of me, that is a record.

Not only has this phone been with me for so long, it has been through a lot and always came out a survivor, if not a little worse-for-the-wear. It was on its fourth life when it was stolen from me.

Its first life ended in March, '09, when I threw up on it. Not my proudest moment. I tell it in the interest of full disclosure. It stopped functioning for several days afterward and the 7 / Z key only worked periodically. Fortunately, I didn't send a lot of text messages with "z" in them, but dialing any phone number that had a "7" in it was a real treat.

Its second life ended in January when I dropped it in the toilet at one of my favorite local dive bars, Gin & Tonic. There was a split second when I questioned whether to leave it in there; resting on the bottom like the Heart of the Ocean in Titanic, or go in after it and risk inevitably contracting the swine flu, the AIDS, the typhoid, the cholera, or some other old-timey disease I learned about playing Oregon Trail. I took the plunge. Again, it stopped functioning for a few days and this time the return and "$" keys were the casualties. That only really mattered when I had to send an email from my phone, because it would be one incredibly long paragraph.

Its third life ended during Snowpocalypse II in February in DC. I had it in the front pocket of my snow pants while sled riding when I decided it'd be a swell idea to run and belly-dive down a hill. Crushed it. And by "it" I mean both my phone and the hill, which I bet I looked pretty sweet flying down. At this point, my phone was used to the abuse and must have built up a tolerance, because it returned to life a mere few hours later.

I've also dropped or inadvertently thrown it more times than I can count, but that is barely worth noting considering what else the phone has endured.

My trusty bberry had earned the nickname Ol' Reliable. It was my favorite possession and I took it with me absolutely everywhere and had it with me at all times. There's me. There's my phone. Here's me. Here's my phone. Beside me on the dinner table? Phone. On my other pillow when I sleep? Phone. On my towel beside me at the beach? Phone. In my hands in the car when I'm not supposed to be using it? Phone. You get the point.

While it always managed to protect itself from me and my follies, it couldn't save itself from stranger danger as it fell into the clutches of evil Saturday night. My only hope is that whoever stole it reads this, so that they can have the distinct pleasure of knowing just how much my phone has been through. I refer specifically to the way its first and second lives ended. Enjoy that.

I get a new phone today. I'll try to be better with it. And I'll have a farm with Blackberries on it. And i'll tend to the Blackberries...

A mini-poncho in which I dressed my bberry for Cinco-de-Mayo. Yes, really.

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