24 October 2014 § 1 Comment
“What does it look like?” the student receptionist asked.
“It’s an iPhone,” I said.
“Okay. Put your…um… email address here, and we’ll write to you if it’s turned in.” She slid me a post-it note and a pen. Her voice still echoed through the oversized hall behind me, off the mahogany trim of the office and restroom entrances, the sealed concrete which squeaked under my rubber soles.
Walking through Reed College in autumn is a wet and colorful ride. Many of its trees were planted when the school was built in the earliest days of the 1900’s. Its Gingkos and maples, white oaks and american sycamores have grown tall and wide, start to drop fluorescent leaves when Portland’s rain comes pouring out of the post-summer sky.
At the end of work the previous day, my co-worker pulled the Sprinter into a bus stop, and I jumped out to run to my truck, parked across the street. My feet sloshed in my shoes; my pants soaked as if I had jumped into a lake. Focused on the warm shower awaiting me, I didn’t notice my iPhone tumbling out of my lap, and into a puddle. At home I noticed it had vanished, I assumed it was still in the truck. I went to my messenger bag to text my co-worker, hey, I think I left my phone…
I needed to confirm plans with a friend. Email could work, perhaps. Or facebook.
But..but…I couldn’t. My fingers longed to tap in the four-number passcode on the phone, to swipe the futuristic screen; I wanted to watch the colors and numbers and apps flow past, animation that just doesn’t exist in Gmail. Or in the real world.
The real world. Outside of the extensive list of phone numbers, some of which I know I will never call again, apart from the calendar to which I’ve given myself entirely, without which I miss meetings, concerts, the to-do list! That fucking iPhone was an extension of my will — an opportunity to reach out, or reply, when otherwise I most certainly would not. Quickdraw information to decimate debates, a device to enable my anxiety when waiting to hear back about something important, and to top it off, it’s my only alarm clock (I overslept this morning, missed work, couldn’t text to apologize, couldn’t even get the address of the next tree work job to meet my co-workers). Never mind the photos.
Never mind that I’ve routinely dismissed the iCloud backup alert, the one that requests to be connected to my computer, asks for my Apple ID password. This iPhone hasn’t been backed up in 32 weeks, it said. Yeah, because I’ve never plugged it into my computer. Not once.
Yesterday, I re-traced my steps. Went back to Reed college. Asked the receptionist if anyone’s turned in an iPhone. Nope. Walked out to the bus stop. A beautiful chocolate woman stood at the stop, earbuds in, now and then glancing toward my determined scan of the grass, the sidewalk, the puddle. Nothing. I looked up at her, distracted from my search. She didn’t return it. Something told me, go to her.
Yes. Behind the beautiful young woman lay my prize. A completely destroyed, totally and utterly obliterated Apple iPhone 5, its glass shattered, and the leftover pieces of a Lifeproof case. Proof that a hundred dollars for a palm-sized piece of plastic is not insurance enough. I’m going to re-prioritize where my money goes from here on. I’m unconvinced that technological co-dependence is where it’s at. I just paid the Verizon bill two days ago.
Let it be.
1 October 2014 § 3 Comments
I’ve lost track of you. As an individual, as a group. Grand-scale socializing for this introvert peaked, and not even the trusty iPhone kept up. If we’ve connected recently, and the ball is in my court to get back to you, picture me dropping the ball, distracted as ever by the pulsing energy flying past.
Maybe I’m not supposed to “keep up.” Maybe I’m caught up in the relationship reciprocation game, the social network, the outstretched hand. Maybe conversations continue, and there is no end. Maybe I’m missing the jagged shimmer of turmoil.
In third grade, I was caught by the recess duty trying to set ants of fire with my eyeglasses. My energy now is focusing like that sunlight laser beam. Things and people are falling in and out of focus. For better or worse, something’s about to burst into flames. Steady hands, steady heat.
I’m back in university as of yesterday – a two year gap – and grateful for the first go-around. She said once, if you don’t start now, you never will. And I wouldn’t now, if I had to start from the beginning.
But I don’t, because I’m past the beginning. Past the bright and shiny, brain-drug phase of life where each smile feels like forever and always, and each heart prod is still an experiment with assumed-yet-unknowable results. I’m making peace with the new peace, the change, the acceptance, the settling. The settling. Not so suddenly, SETTLE no longer means or implies DEATH. It means, listen. Observe. Participate. Be yourself. Understand and love your Self. Your self – my self – is not a product of another being, though we can be driven by inspiration; love is not determined by another, though it often seems dependent. The Settling is not about place, time, or giving in. It is about steady hands, an internal knowing: one palm on my heart, the other open, upward.
I’ve lost all your coordinates, all your stars. But I’m beginning to find my own.