I’ve always liked the idea of blogging more than actually doing so. That’s why I’ve never started one, save for a blog I kept while living in Washington, D.C. as an undergrad as an easy way to keep up with everyone without having to tell the same stories many times.
But, something happened yesterday that has since provided me material to write about. While this is just the beginner post, it has sparked my idea drawer (excuse the cheesy language). Also, excuse anything that sounds loopy, as I have been part of a holistic scoring team for the past two days, wading through 900 + essays from a recent written exam composition students at my university had to take.
But that brings me to my point–in the midst of reading essays about how America’s materialism and “I’m-so-attached-to-my-phone-I-literally-LITERALLY-can’t-imagine-life-without-it” love letters, I dropped my own phone in the toilet.
I have been replaying the next 30 seconds after the fateful dropping over and over in my head, as well as my thoughts leading up to the incident. I take my phone with me everywhere, by habit, yet before I walked to the bathroom, I thought, “You don’t need your phone in there.” I curse my tiny American Rag sweater pockets that let it slip into the flushing water. And, just as my phone was alive one moment, it was dead the next. Gone.
It wasn’t until I had a stress breakdown in the Verizon store, cried in front of the saleswoman (there are many other factors that attribute to this), and quickly replaced my phone, that I realized how in love I had been with my Droid Incredible. I had only had it for 6 months, yet I would have kept it forever.
That’s when the disturbing part began.
I found myself today running through all the ways I could exchange the new phone I got with a Droid Incredible 2. There’s nothing wrong with my new phone. It’s a Droid Global, has all the same features, except it’s a Motorola. I have some bad blood toward Motorola phones, after going through five Krazers due to repeated technical issues. But it’s not my Incredible. It’s not an HTC. So I began the process of rethinking how I wish things could have gone, as I often do with everything, and after about six hours of doing this, I thought to myself, “STOP.”
I spent the entire day agreeing with students when they stated our country is too materialistic, yet here I was trying to replace a perfectly good phone with another one for no reason other than I wanted to. I can justify my train of thoughts with many reasons, but the bottom line is as stated above. Want. I had been equating the loss of my Incredible to other disasters, but it began to dawn on me how mistaken this line of thinking was. Just as my Droid Incredible was zapped in less than 10 seconds, much bigger things have been destroyed in the same time period. Massive amounts of flooding have been taking place around my town lately, as well as tornadoes in my hometown. You hear stories of people going from having everything to nothing. I had the same reaction when I watched the footage of the recent Japanese tsunami. I had pulled a late night due to my thesis when the earthquake and tsunami occurred, and was actually awake when coverage began. All I have to say about the millions of videos and photos that were released after this disaster is that water can be a vicious, terrible being.
In the same way, a person can leave us just as quickly. Ten seconds is not enough time to process that something terrible is about to happen that one may not recover from. Last year, my step-cousin was crushed by a freight train because she tried to cross the tracks, thinking she had time. Ten seconds.
I know I’m making a bit of a stretch here with the comparisons. But, something dawned on me. Do we constantly replace our objects, whether it be phones, books, TVs, furniture, clothes, with better because of our inability to replace things you physically can’t replace? Pictures, journals, family heirlooms, pets, loved ones? When a pet dies, that pet is often replaced with a new one. When a person dies, people slowly try to move on, replacing the existence of that person with another or with goods, activities, something. Yet, we all know, deep down, that the replacement cannot really make the loss feel any better. Is it our desire for control over at least part of our lives that drives our consumer needs?
I became disgusted with myself as I was thinking about this. To exchange the phone with an Incredible 2 would drive the cost to close to $250 (maaaybe $200), where I am only paying $100 for the new phone, and that’s only because I got lucky–my mom had an upgrade that my parents allowed me to take to avoid using insurance. I should be thanking my lucky stars, yet I am running through the ways that I could make this exchange happen. And for what? The satisfaction of the HTC design?
Even though I can’t fully justify this exchange if it were to take place, I still find myself contemplating it, and that bothers me more than anything. Really, all I need my phone to do is keep me in contact with my family, friends, and boyfriend. I can justify anything that allows me to continue doing this, but I can’t justify spending $150 to make myself feel better about the phone I own, when I do not have this kind of money to spend in the first place.
Maybe this is all due to the fact that I’ve never really experienced something life-changing or dramatic resulting from a negative occurrence. I was only seven when my grandmother died. I’ve avoided every car accident that has come close to happening to me. The flooding and tornadoes that have caused unbelievable destruction toward others have spared me and my family. I was living in D.C. in 2008 when the tornado that destroyed more than half of my undergrad campus struck.
In spite of all that, I keep thinking of how much I loved my Droid Incredible, or how much I wish I had time to say “goodbye.” And I say things like the latter to be funny, but part of me is also serious. I keep thinking about the lost phone in a way akin to heartbreak, and this makes me sick to my stomach, because I know this is nothing really like heartbreak. In the same, part of me wants to say goodbye, Droid Incredible, and how much the little guy will be missed.
Two hundred and fifty dollars could pay for so many other things. $250 was the price for a ticket to Bonnaroo, which I turned down. It is half the amount a mother in the documentary “Waiting for Superman” paid monthly for her daughter to attend a good school. 250 dollar menu items, before tax. I don’t want to turn this into one of those “look how much money this can buy” things that make people feel bad, but $250 is an inordinate amount of money for something that is no more than a device–the things that connects me to the people I truly want to say “I love you” to. And I can do this on a go-phone, or any other cheaper phone, just as easily.
My Droid Incredible died in less than ten seconds, and the destruction that occurred on my undergrad campus happened in less, just the same as many natural disasters, taking away some things that cannot be price tagged. And if that doesn’t put it into perspective for me, I don’t know what will.