I was walking home in the rain, and I jammed my BlackBerry down into a coat pocket full of mittens for safe-keeping, and it fell out of that crowded shelter unnoticed onto the sidewalk.
Precious minutes passed before I noticed its absence, and retracing my steps –just a few short blocks– failed to return my lost smartphone to me.
I feel adrift in a way I find difficult to articulate.
I had that BlackBerry for just over a year, and I now have great difficulty imagining a single day without it. Leaving my home even for a short trip to the grocery store without it on my person feels wrong. I should say I am not a ‘phone person.’ I cannot recall ever using up my daytime minutes or exceeding my monthly allotment of text messages. I never exceeded my 1 GB of monthly data, and –with the exception of a poorly planned expedition to Pittsburgh– I never incurred unexpected or excessive charges on the phone in any way. Yet I feel lost without it, adrift and cut off. Naked.
I am consumed with the thought that I let it down somehow. Honestly, it feels as though I’ve disappointed a friend.
I remember my 28th birthday, responding to a hundred well-wishers from the comfort of my bed without even needing to put my glasses on.
I remember my first blizzard with a smartphone, and bundling up appropriately without ever looking out a window because it told me what to expect.
I remember the 7 a.m. fire in my apartment building, and tweeting about it on the long spiral descent down the staircase.
I remember my aunt and grandmother raising a pair of orphaned starling chicks to adulthood, and taking pictures of them eating minced dog food from a spoon.
I remember a hundred early mornings where my phone gave me a two-minute warning when to leave my house to catch my bus.
I’ve composed blog posts on that phone.
I’ve edited my novels on that phone.
I’ve kept in touch with friends around the world on that phone.
I’ve tried and failed to take a picture of my cat with that phone –she distrusts the flash.
We’ve gone canoeing together. We’ve gone skating together. We’ve chased fireflies together. We’ve gone through art galleries and museums and forests and prairies together. We’ve journeyed across North America together, and we’ve shared our discoveries and musings in idle moments with a convenience that staggers me, staggers me such that I can’t imagine how I ever conveyed my thoughts out into the world before it came into my life.
And I dropped it onto a wet and rainy sidewalk carelessly, and a stranger scooped it up. I’ll never see it again.
How thoughtless of me. How careless. How inconsiderate.
With a heavy heart I went to my service provider’s store, cancelled my phone, and purchased a new one, sleeker and slimmer and faster and smarter. I’ve had it less than six hours, and it is now useless: The first OS update has rendered it a gibbering imbecile, unable to boot. It’s a lemon. Tomorrow I will replace it as well, and perhaps one day soon the next new phone will find a place in my existence as comfortable and welcome and familiar as its predecessor.
Somehow that feels wrong.
I cannot shake the feeling I have disappointed an inanimate object somehow. It deserved better from me. It was a trusty friend, asking little and giving much, and it literally fell away from me in a moment of unforgivable inattention.
I’m sorry, BlackBerry. I’m so sorry.