Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Away in Iowa/R.I.P. first cell phone

So, I left for Iowa (on Greyhound) early Sat. morning and got back early Wed. morning (over an hour late because of slow boarding, and morning traffic--don't they factor that into the schedule?). I very, VERY badly wanted to post here from Iowa, but wasn't willing to do it on my parents' computer (partly because they have dial-up, mostly because I haven't learned how to erase my browsing history). I didn't have a big block of time to try it at the public library, and Ames doesn't have any Internet cafes that I know of (wi-fi access, sure, but obviously I don't have a laptop). I have a LOT of Critical Mass stuff to write, and the Iowa trip story.

This trip was my first time taking my cell phone out of state. I had it just four months--I'm rather late in the game, I know. I made a few calls approaching the Illinois/Iowa border, including one to a friend I saw in Chicago last week. I "surprised" him with a call from Iowa and was surprised he was in Wisconsin. (It really doesn't take much to excite me.) Later, I talked to a friend in Ames (that's central Iowa); the phone worked fine except for on the underground level of our house. Oh, and until I got water on it in my purse.

The "unlock" button gave me trouble but I managed to set the alarm before bed. In the morning the alarm rang--and I couldn't work the buttons to shut it off. I could just barely hit "snooze" over and over. Afraid it'd continue indefinitely (and for some reason, I kept the phone's existence secret from my parents--why?), I threw it on the (concrete) floor. It shut off. And I turned it back on again--still no "unlock."

By the time I got on Greyhound Tues. night, I saw I'd missed two calls. I started banging on the keys and the fairly cute young guy across from me offered his pocketknife. (See, there's an advantage of Greyhound over flying.) Instead, I let the young guy behind me try to fix it--he'd fixed others--but to no avail.

I went to the T-Mobile store in Chicago where I first got my phone set up. The same young employee who'd helped before helped again. Now, I don't expect every T-Mobile employee to know how to fix everything, but he REALLY didn't need to say "Oh my god" at every step. The phone never turned back on again.

He transferred the chip/card into a used phone they had lying around. Apparently I lost nearly everything--except my pay-as-you-go minutes. He showed me text messages in it to see if they were mine, or the previous owner's. Something about "Leah" and a message just saying "I love you." "That's not mine," I said grimly. Wonderful, I hadn't YET had an existential crisis over the fact no one's ever texted "I love you" to me.

Some of my data may have been in there, but my list of numbers was gone--luckily they're nearly all on my home phone. He offered to sell me the used (camera)phone for $40, but I freaked out trying to use it. I couldn't figure out any of the usual functions I use on my cheap, crappy phone, so I had him take the card out and put my useless phone back together, to search for a new one Thursday.

I had a lot of fun with that phone. The first call I received was while browsing at Borders. Then the same person called me back in line at Borders. And at the library one day, and at at least one restaurant, and on numerous bus trips. (Not to make him sound like a pest--I'm just pointing out I've had the phone ring at most awkward situations I can think of. But I always, always turned it off before attending any kind of show.) I can't wait to start again!

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