That's the sound of one's iPhone dropping into the toilet, post-pee. I know now that is the worst sound in the modern world.
I was at Google in Boulder, being charmed by all the Google-y creativity and open-space joy that a place like that could offer. Seduced by a yummy yogurt drink made on-site, I sauntered past the climbing wall with my iPendage in my back pocket and headed for the ladies room. What can I say? I let down my guard, I was charmed ... I relaxed.
My flesh-and-blood appendage did not hesitate to reach into sunny yellow waters and retrieve the device. I sighed heavily and dried it off with a paper towel. (The shock did not set in for several hours.) In a fatal mistake, I attempted to turn it on and off. This, it turns out, is the kiss of death for water damage.
Helpful, sympathetic Googlers helped me plot the next move. "Oh nooooo! Go to the Apple store," they said. "They'll know what to do!" They looked up the address and guided me out the door" "Good luck!"
Apple - for all its sleek techy goodness - had only homespun advice for me. "Stick it in the fridge," said one Apple-ite. "Try a bowl of rice," said another. They guided me out the door with directions to King Sooper: "Good luck!"
I breezed into the store, grabbed the rice and did self-checkout all in total zombie mode - without speaking to anyone or eating any brains. I then headed to my next appointment at the Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau. (I'd alerted them by email about The Tragedy.)
Kim met me with a sad face, like someone in my family had died. We stuck the phone in a bag of rice, in a bag, in the fridge and said a wee prayer. Then we got to our conference call-meeting where I played the role of "person in charge." Hoooo boy.
Post-meeting, I called up a skillful monk who works magic on this sort of thing. Even he was not encouraged. If the rice trick didn't work, he said, bring it in and he'll open it up for $60. "Good luck!" he said.
On the drive home, panic seeped into my guts. I slowly began to realize just how attached I was to this device, making me both resentful and fearful. Beyond the basic ability to call 911 should I need to, I was now screwed in all kinds of ways.
How can I check my email? Who might be texting me right now? Where is the picture of the frog? Or the cowboy video? Where is the nearest bar? How do I get there? The scenarios just piled up. I just put on a sad jazz station and made the lonely, helpless drive home.
Back in my office, I launched into FULL FRONTAL FREAKOUT. See, I'm putting together this little party next week and it's kind of crucial that I be, y'know, reachable. Jesus.
I didn't know what to do except send a few emails and read an endless thread of hapless fools who had done the exact same thing. I found some comfort and hilarity there.
My favorite was the guy who'd dropped the damn thing in a porta potty, reached in that ungodly mess and eventually coaxed it back to life. "The only problem now is," he told the group, "every time I make a call, it smells like poo."
Eventually, Reid came and saved me from myself and we got margaritas. The next morning - while the iPatient sat in a bowl of rice undisturbed - I made busy on email. By Friday night, I had come to grips with its loss and one cold hard fact:
That with everything that could be wrong in my life - my family, job, friends, money, health, freedom, hunger, pain, loneliness - this is not insurmountable, just expensive. At the end of the day, it's just a fucking phone.
Image Credit: iPhone in toilet by Hankish.