On Sunday, my phone was stolen during a poetry performance. Someone walked by my table and nicked it while I was talking. That in itself is somewhat poetic, isn't it? A tragedy or something. I dunno. What I do know is that, on top of losing everything else this year, losing my phone felt like icing on a shit cake.
I blogged about it because I blog things. It's become my therapy. I write; I feel better. Something about the act of orchestrating words puts things into order for me and allows me to at least attempt to gain perspective on situations. I didn't write about it with the intention of getting any sort of reaction, other than from myself. I wanted desperately to let go of the pain, anger and frustration of feeling violated, so I worked through it, posted it, and sighed a heavy sigh of relief.
The reaction was incredible and unexpected.
Dozens of people on Facebook, Twitter and viaemail offered their support in the form of loaner phones, offers for donations and consolation. It was humbling to say the least. It's astounding to feel lower than low, look around, and realize you're actually in a place most people envy. You're supported and cared for. It means the world.
Fortunately, my friend and roommate Mike had an old iPhone 3G that was sitting around. Now, this thing is, in a word, special. The battery is so bad, it literally lasted a minute. One. Almost exactly 60 seconds. And that's only if I wasn't actively on a call. If I were, the time dropped to seconds. How many, exactly, I'm not sure, but it wasn't enough to even get past the words "Oh, shit!"
It had to stay plugged into a power source in order to be used. Thankfully, I own a battery backup, so I could actually carry it around. Needless to say, it was quite humorous to reach out and answer the phone or reply to a text and have a brick leashed to the bottom of the phone. And God forbid I accidentally unplug it while on a call, because that call would drop in seconds.
More than that, the backlight was dim, even on the highest brightness setting, so it was utterly useless in sunlight. But it worked, and it was available, and it helped more than words can say. I was very grateful. I didn't even complain once. Me, the tech snob who for years has been on the cusp of the latest technology trends, has let go of that crap to the point where even a dim iPhone 3G with 60 seconds of battery life was just fine.
So the offers of peoples' used iPhone 4, 4s and 5 models were extremely appreciated. But I'm not one who can accept help all that easily. I'm trying to learn. And this past year has taught me how to in ways I never thought I could. Once Mike came through with the loaner, I was content to just live with that until I could afford to replace it.
Then, I got a comment on my blog post that made my jaw drop:
iCracked10/15/2013 10:52 AM:
"Joe, the team over here at iCracked.com would be more than happy to donate you a new iPhone if you need it! We take a lot of pride in never having purchased any lost/stolen devices through our trade-in program, and actually have some pretty awesome, industry-changing methods in place that make this possible. Either way, we would love to place one of our devices in your hands as I can guarantee everybody that works here knows exactly how you feel. Email me personally at Paul at [redacted] and we will get you squared away!"
I emailed Paul. Within seconds he called my busted-ass 3G, and within 24 hours I had a replacement iPhone 5. It was a 32gb white model, where my stolen version was a 64gb, but still -- it was free. And it was extremely kind of them to provide it to me simply because I was in need. They even included a case with a built-in bottle opener!
What's amazing is that two months ago, I used iCracked to replace a cracked screen on the stolen phone. They were much cheaper than other alternatives, they met me at a Starbucks, and the work was top-notch. I was EXTREMELY pleased with the experience. I had a great conversation with the tech. He even told me that while he was working on my handset, he noticed an issue with the power button and he corrected it. And it did work way better for a while, until eventually it degraded to its former crappy ways -- but my handset came back to me in a better condition than I handed it off.
I highly recommend iCracked. Their service is great, the quality of work is fantastic, they meet you where you need them, and they genuinely care about their customers.
And to all of you, I very much appreciate your help, offers and support. You have no idea how much, and I sincerely hope you never have to find out how much this could mean to you. I don't want any of you to go through even one thing I've been through this year, much less all of it. But if you do, know you have a friend in your corner, cause I pay my debts.