I Drowned my iPhone

OK world. I'm back. On Saturday, I took a brief vacation from my 24/7 addiction to all things digital by dropping my phone in a pool while celebrating my grandson's birthday in Indiana. I tried giving my phone the rice treatment but no luck. I was off the grid.

I'll confess it felt a bit weird at first. I kept wanting to text to fulfill my neurotic need to confirm that my kids and grandkids are OK. I felt unmoored not being able to see what my 227 "friends" were doing this weekend on Facebook. What will they think of me if I don't "like" their posts or their cute grandkid photos?

On the other hand, getting back on the grid was just as painful as I imagined it would be. First, I called my local Apple store with my husband's phone as we were driving home to make an appointment. I was told I needed to do it on a computer, which I didn't have. So I decided to be there before the store opened Monday morning.

On my next call to Apple, whose customer service has always been pretty good for me, I asked about how much this baptism would cost me. That's when things went off the rails. I was told Apple and AT&T were no longer friends. Perhaps I would like to hook up with another carrier? I had no idea if this was a good idea or even possible. My last family plan contract with AT&T had a year to go and was a pretty fair price. In that case, I was told to go to AT&T to solve my problem.

On a whim, I called Apple again after discovering that for some reason, I had purchased Apple Care just over a year ago for my recently deceased phone. I hoped it would be good for longer than a year, but was told it did not cover water fiascos like mine.

So I was the first customer at the AT&T store Monday morning, selected to be strategically close to the Apple Store. I had an inkling that I would be sent across the street, and I was right. "Why are you here if you have Apple Care?" OK, off to Apple where I got a replacement phone for the "reasonable" price of $80. I asked my Apple friend to make my naked phone just like my other one by downloading it from the Cloud, and he uttered the words that strike fear into the hearts of seniors with iPhones. "You are not back up to the Cloud."

What? When I purchased this phone last year, after many confusing hours, I was told it was set up for automatically backing up to the Cloud. So I stopped obsessively backing up to my computer and had not done a backup for six months. My bad, I guess.

I lost most of my camera roll. At first I felt upset, but being basically an iMac person, I had at least transferred my favorites to Photos. My granddaughter had taught me how to airdrop them (really cool if you haven't ever tried it), so only the best ones were saved. But I guess I can live without the ones I took of the rash on my legs or the prices of things I might want to buy at Target.

Also lost were half of my apps. Most of them are slowly repopulating. And I suppose I can live without Toca Birthday and Disney Princesses. But this problem brings up my old nemesis - for some reason, we have three Apple IDs and my phone keeps asking for a password for one of them and rejecting the one I think is correct. I'm too bored with this process to care, which is why the problem is never solved.

As I watch my apps tell me they are "waiting," which I assume means they will eventually show up, my mind drifts to a commercial I saw this morning for AT&T or Comcast. I guess it wasn't that effective because I don't remember the product. But its message hit me hard. It started with a conventional family of four watching a program that clearly delighted the youngest child. But the older sibling and parents looked bored and unhappy. The solution was to give each of them a separate device. The screen was divided into four segments with each family member watching something different. They were alone but apparently now very happy.

I wonder if all of the anxiety I felt about my drowned phone was a sad symptom of the modern life depicted in the commercial. Because I was out of town at my daughter's home, I initially felt adrift. But much like the disturbing commercial, I remember a time when a family would compromise to watch something together and spend a weekend without staring at tiny screens.

I have decided to be at peace whatever happens to my phone as it is being restored. Without its distraction, I actually enjoyed being with my grandkids in the moment. Even though my camera roll for the weekend is blank, my memory of it is full.

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