Friday, August 1, 2008

From the Archives. August 2008. BlackBerry Adam

Every day, the IT guys fish a few more columns out of the tech wreckage and I post a few more of them here. This one is from August 2008. Reading it, I realized it carbon-dates the beginning of my trackball wars. It also marks the first appearance of Lucas, who's become quite the recurring character in my life. (Adam, as expected, was a fly-by-night cameo.)


Blackberry Adam

Today I met the Man I’m gonna marry. Tall. Dark. Handsome. I know his first name is Adam. He was the guy who met me at the door when I took the new Fed Ex’d blackberry to the phone store to replace the busted blackberry in my pocket (it was just a defective pearl actually—I could go left or right but not up or down—story of my life).

That’s where Adam came in.

The wireless provider told me on the phone I’d just have to snap the SIM card into the new model when it arrived and it’d be good to go.

But I knew better.

I knew that wireless maintenance—much like hair color and brain surgery—isn’t something I should try at home, much less practice on myself.

And so that’s how I met Adam.

Adam didn’t even make me write my name down on the list with all the other cattle.

Once I told him what I had in mind, he just took my equipment in his hands and said he’d “take care of it.”

Oh Adam.

Even now I smile at his naivete.

Within minutes, his handsome brow was furrowed and beads of sweat were beginning to glisten above his manly upper lip.

It seemed that my memory had been saved to my device and not my SIM card.

Moron! (Me. Not him.)

The device wasn’t giving up anything unless it could be obtained in a left-right fashion.

The pearl would have to be cracked.

And that’s when Adam stepped behind the desk and conferred with Lucas.

Oh sure, maybe he wasn’t quite as tall. Strawberry blonde. A sprinkling of freckles.
But Lucas is NOW the man I’m REALLY gonna marry. (I’m nothing if not a serial monogamist.)

Turns out, I’d been running with the wrong crowd all along. I mostly socialize with iPhone types (I think Adam was double-holstered into a couple of them), and they didn’t know how to help me. Nor did they care. I’ve decided iPhones are the glitzy hot girls from highschool. We blackberries are the earnest workaholic smart girls with glasses who probably did the iPhone’s homework. And it was Lucas, a blackberry guy if ever there was one, who came through for me.

Since the phone store wisely neglects to provide chairs for us cattle (the better to shorten our stay I presume), I promptly stretched out on the floor with my back against the cool, soothing plate glass window. I was hungry. I was tired. And I’d already spent two sleepless nights without my blackberry. This was the longest I’d ever been separated from it with the exception of a Sneak Movie Preview where all recording devices were confiscated at the door by studio security.
I sent mine out to the car with my buddy who turned out to be stoned at the time (neither option was all that reassuring to me, but then she bought us $78 bucks worth of watermelon Sour Patch Kids, and I remembered, sometimes it’s good to have friends who are high). We sat in that theatre for two agonizing hours. No text. No micro-blogs. My blackberry elbow and blackberry rotator cuff were both sending out phantom pain. I couldn’t focus. There was something onscreen about a C4 deadman’s switch in a bank job and I remember thinking “how obvious.”

That’s about it.

And I was reminded of what Dave Chappelle once said about how you never want a President in a position to be addicted. (You don’t want the President of the United States shuffling up to Prime Ministers and muttering, “got any rock? Yo man I’ll suck yo…”) That’s the level of withdrawal I felt when I was separated from my phone during that movie. Two hours. They don’t call ‘em crackberries for nothing.

So you could imagine what I was like after two days. For 48 hours, I couldn’t call anybody because I had no
rolodex. The only phone numbers I know by heart are my Mom’s and my college roommate’s. And they both got pretty sick of me pretty quick.

When I had to call in a prescription refill (and believe me, I needed one), I couldn’t just type in Rx on the keypad like usual; instead I tried shouting into the phone like Andy Griffith, “Halllooo, Sarah…could yew get me the Apothecary?”

I never knew where I was supposed to be or when I was supposed to be there (the phone usually handles all that and sends me 15 minute reminders). I was reluctant to schedule anything in the future, because would there be one; and if so, how would I keep track of that kind of information?

For two days, I was reduced to writing things down on paper. LIKE AN ANIMAL.

I reflected on all this as the store filled up with holloweyed souls who looked more desperate than I felt. I was sanguine. I was relaxed. I had faith in Lucas.

But I could (over)hear the entire conversation of this guy Hiram who kept protesting into the “courtesy” phone “the damn thing ain’t but six weeks old. How is it NOT under warranty? Piss on THAT!” Hiram was very tan and wore a gold chain around his neck. I felt for him.

Hiram’s frustration was only exceeded by the once-smug soccer moms/tennis ladies who came in optimistically bubbling about their “insurance,” only to visibly deflate when told about their “deductible.” They were like once-pert little flowers who’d just been left too long in the evening sun. (Story of their lives I imagine.)

Through all this, Lucas hunched over my phone, punching buttons, blasting it with canned air, and speaking into a headset to (perhaps) a control room somewhere in Texas.

Much like the kind of brain surgery where the patient has to stay awake, he’d left it active while he operated— which meant I could hear it ring—and then I could hear the distinctive three-tone bleat that all blackberries emit. I felt like a mother who couldn’t defend my young while some predator gnawed away its insides. Every so often, he would glance over at me nervously
and say, “you’re going to have a lot of voicemails.”

Post-op, Lucas had good news and bad news. He sat down next to me on the floor. He broke it to me in phases.

Most importantly, he was able to restore the rolodex. But the photo IDs didn’t transfer (so that cool picture of your dog no longer pops up when you call me).

The internet was back on, but…the bookmarks were gone (it’ll just take time and a little imaginative googling to re-create all that porn).

And the calendar is gone. So if you were planning on giving me a root canal or a haircut anytime in the next six months, you’re gonna wanna have your staff call and remind me.

Birthdays. Weddings. Anniversaries. All. Gone. I was never that thoughtful…but the blackberry was.

And my “Brandy” ringtone was lost in the operation (not the pop singer, the ‘70s classic from Looking Glass).
Frankly, it had grown tiresome. I’m thinking about the theme song from The Wire as a replacement (“way down in the hole”).

As for Lucas, I would think an offer to bear his children would only begin to indicate the depth of gratitude I feel for him, but somehow I know such a gesture would ring every bit as hollow as my rapidly-aging reproductive organs.

But I will gladly BUY him a baby as a token of my appreciation.

Maybe I’ll even pay an iPhone kinda gal to show him a Dave Chappelle-style good time on da pipe.