All I wanted to do was put some photos on my computer.
Instead, I lost the use of my iPhone for more than 12 hours. And I have to tell you, how I acted in those 12 hours kind of scared me.
It all started when I plugged my phone into my laptop (a PC that runs Windows 7) to import some photos and videos. As everything began to function as it should, I was asked if I wanted to update to iOS 6.1. Well, of course I do! So, I got that process rolling and, once again everything was working as it should, until...the error.
For some unknown reason identifiable only by a string of numbers, the update stopped. I was informed the update could not proceed because of the error. So, I unplugged the phone from the computer. My iPhone's home screen then switched to a picture of the iTunes logo with a USB cable underneath it—its only way of saying "plug me back in so I can update in iTunes."
Alas, it was not to be. Plugging the phone back in did nothing. Pressing and holding various combinations of the phone's home and sleep buttons did nothing either. It just kept going back to that picture, begging me to help it find iTunes again.
I started getting really nervous.
I called Verizon. A very nice gentleman walked me through alternate versions of what I'd already tried. Then he transferred me to an Apple guy. I began to — I kid you not — perspire. Then, my 10-month-old woke up. My husband took care of her. After all, I was very busy.
The Apple guy couldn't help. He told me I'd have to visit my nearest Apple store the next morning. He tried to get me an appointment but they were booked. "You could go in on Wednesday," he said.
"Wednesday? Wednesday?" I asked incredulously. "You don't understand. My phone is my only method of communication. It has to work now."
It's true that my iPhone is my only link to the outside world when I'm not on my laptop. I don't have a land line. I'm listed as an emergency contact for numerous people. And plus, Facebook is on there. And my games. I can't forget about my games. I have sawmills to upgrade in Arcane Empires, dammit!
"Well, you can go to the store when they open and hope they can squeeze you in," the Apple guy said.
"Fine," I replied. "Thanks for your 'help.'"
I went to bed thoroughly unsettled. I'd have to rely on my husband's phone to wake me (I don't have an alarm clock). I couldn't thumb through my various social feeds or train new Arcane Empires troops while I got ready the next morning. I'd have to tell numerous people I wouldn't be reachable by cell for a while. I couldn't check my calendar or send work emails.
I felt lost. Frazzled. Incomplete. Angry. Because a phone wouldn't work.
What's happened to me?
Long story short, the Apple folks restored my phone and all was well again in about 30 minutes of my entering the Apple store (promptly when it opened). Thankfully, my panicked notifications to daycare and work that my cell phone had stopped working were all for naught. No one needed me so urgently that cell phone communication was required in those 12 hours before my phone was functioning again.
I remembered the days of corded telephones with number dials tethered to the walls of kitchens, when there was no such thing as an answering machine yet. Nobody freaked out if they couldn't reach someone or if the phone went out because of a power outage or something. It was what it was: No big deal.
And yet, here I was, holding a device so much smaller, with so much more capability, and I was literally ready to punch somebody because it didn't work.
Talk about being tethered.
Right then and there, I resolved to put my phone in regular "time-outs." I will put it down, walk away, and completely focus on other things. When I'm home, I will only pick it up if it rings until after my children have gone to bed. And even then, I will limit the time I spend fiddling about on various distractions otherwise known as apps. I will never allow such a small thing to affect me in such a disproportionately large way again.
Will you join me?