My iPhone fell in water this week. As you may be aware, electronics don’t fare well in wet situations, and iPhones particularly do poorly. I was lucky that it was really only a brief half-dunk. I cleaned and tried to bleed what water I could from it immediately with paper towels and such. But it hadn’t shut down, so I was able to see some things going wrong already. The volume control was changing of it’s own accord and the orientation sensor thought the phone was horizontal, not vertical. So off it went, and caseless, it sat on top of my task light at work to be warmer and hopefully dry out quickly.
My partner quickly Googled on my behalf and emailed me a page with some helpful instructions, but he was pretty pessimistic about my chances of saving my phone. They aren’t really meant to swim.
Once I was home, I set it on the clothes horse, in front of the radiator, with a fan on it. The apartment is pretty dry, so I hoped it would dehydrate the electronics the same way it makes my grape tomatoes raisins.
So I was left without a communication device for 48 hours, at least. How habits change so quickly…
I resisted for so long getting a mobile phone, being exceedingly content to not be contactable when I was away from home. There was something freeing about being invisible, in the wind once away from my home base. I would make plans and then expect them to be carried out. I felt like having mobile communication took some of the onus off of the members of the plan to follow through in good faith. If I said I would meet you at a coffee shop at 2:00pm, I would make sure to be there.
But I had disassembled my permanent base of communications in the wandering year, to cull unnecessary costs. I had gotten a mobile a few years ago, around the time that my father was ill, so that I could be found anywhere, just in case. And I had maintained it. So I transitioned to the more practical singular machine for communication purposes – the mobile one. And suddenly, this week, I was invisible again.
It came into focus, then, how much I use my phone. Apps were no longer accessible. I didn’t have my music so the rest of my work week was full of distracting conversations that I didn’t want to hear. I have gotten so used to putting on either ambient music or ambient noise to drown out the fact that I work surrounded by people, when I didn’t have it, I had a hard time concentrating.
I couldn’t update my partner on my ETA after the gym. We were expecting guests that night and it’s my phone tied to the front door buzzer, so they had to text him to let us know they were here and we ran to the front door of the building to let them in. I couldn’t chat with my mother and sister.
And the next day… I had taken Friday off to do some errands and to challenge myself to skate the entire Rideau Canal. But I got on a bus, which then immediately struck a 12 year old boy who was running across the road. Of all the times not to have a cell phone on oneself. The bus driver got the paramedics through dispatch. But these are the sorts of situations where you are supposed to be able to contact the authorities.
After 48 hours of drying, I decided it was time to test the phone, because if I needed to buy a new one and set it up, I wanted to use the weekend time I had.
I hit the power button and my phone said “No power! Plug me in to charge! :(” When I came back to check it, 57% of the way through charging, it seemed entirely okay and normal. I had cell reception, wifi, notifications for email, Facebook, etc.
My partner called me and I received the call. I could hear him, and he could hear me. The phone volume stayed where I set it. It knew up from sideways.
I understand that my “resale value” is toast, but frankly, that’s not how I operate with technology. But I’m lucky in that I haven’t found any damage to the phone’s functionality yet. So I’m listening to all of the Weakerthans albums on it while painting. And I’m blogging on it right this second while I wait for a coating of paint to dry before I do the next layer.
And I’m considering why it was uncomfortable to be invisible for two days.