I was surfing the net the other day, trying to find just the right video of a penguin falling over that I thought could contend with one a friend of mine sent me of a turtle, flailing on its back with a little plastic saxophone fixed in place, when I came across an ad for the new iPhone 5. I have the iPhone 4 so you can imagine the inadequacy I felt because of it. In fact, if you were a strict Freudian you might think that, subconsciously, I left the phone in my pocket on purpose later that day when I was routinely drying my trousers in a 18th century mangle.
Grief stricken, I took it out to inspect it. It seemed largely unharmed, which is to say that it still worked but had tripled in length and breadth and was now bent to the shape of a boomerang. A bug I’m sure has been resolved in the series 5 model.
Without delay, I whisked it off to the Apple store where I had to sit in a waiting room in the company of dozens of other man/machine couples, each with their own different ailments. One phone, I noticed, was smeared in mayonnaise, laying between two pieces of bread and had a semi circular chunk missing from one corner. Another was being held over a bucket as its owner stroked its back, and one had been split through the middle, the two halves laying in two separate boxes with only the jagged edges protruding. A man in a top hat and white gloves was weeping beside it.
After no short time two gentlemen in white coats came and knelt beside me. One put down a Gladstone bag, produced a stethoscope from it and started examining my phone.
“What seems to be the trouble?” said the other man.
“Um… It fell down some stairs” I lied. They gave each other a look of scepticism and carried on.
“Is it still under warranty?”
“I don’t think so, it’s second hand.”
“What contract do you have?” he probed.
“It’s pay as you go” I said, ashamed.
“I think we’ll have to keep it in for observation” said the first man, who was now tapping the home button with a reflex hammer.
“I think you’re right” said the other and they laid it down on a tiny stretcher.
“When will she…it be ready?” I said. They shot each other another look and one of them scribbled out an appointment card. He stuffed it into my hand and they carried her off…it!
I walked away feeling lost, due partly to my lack of GPS but also because of the bond that had formed between me and that phone and how lonely I was without it, I’d had it more than four months. Later that night I tried eating, but I felt that if I couldn’t take a picture of the meal beforehand there didn’t seem to be much point and I completely lost my appetite. When dessert came I was put in mind of what Voltaire had said: “Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.” Smiling, I systematically patted myself down, hoping to share my rumination with friends. When I realised I had no recourse to do so, I became so depressed I had to leave the dinner party early.
On my way home I noticed the sunset. At the end of my tether, I decided to try to enjoy its ephemeral beauty and not worry about taking a photograph. That’s when I experienced a true pathos moment. An epiphany! Resisting the impulse to tweet about it I fell to my knees and let it in. I suddenly realised, there would be a sunset tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. There was no need to photograph everything. I would wear a hat I didn’t own again. I would eat fajitas again. I would smile again and just because the internet didn’t know it that didn’t make it not true. I could hear birds singing, they weren’t angry but it wasn’t bad. It was… what’s the word…‘oh forget it,’ I thought ‘I don’t need to know right now.’ I was free. Free for the first time since I dropped my phone down the toilet, but not even then because I just borrowed my brothers. Free for the first time since I was a baby and there were no mobile phones and I didn’t have the weight of the world at my finger tips. Free!
My phone was ready to be picked up the next day. I don’t know how I lived without it. #neveragain. That penguin video is genius. And I get free evening and weekend calls. Free texts. Free internet… Free.
Sent from my iPhone.