By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 30, 2016
It was around 11 on Thursday night and my phone was running out of power. I had my laptop backpack with me, but I don’t usually carry either a Lightning cable or an iPhone charger in it. So I ran out to my car.
I grabbed my cable and started heading back to the establishment. But then I realized that while I now had a cable to charge my phone into, I still needed a charger in which to plug the other end of that cable.
So I hastily dashed back to my car and dug out this one specific book bag–slash–smaller backpack in which I normally do carry a USB charger. I unzipped the appropriate pocket and rifled through it until I had the charger in my clammy little hands.
I threw everything back down, shut my car and began running back to the establishment.
I got maybe halfway there when I felt something shift in the pair of shorts I was wearing and I heard a thunk.
I came to a stop and looked behind me, only to see — of course! — that my phone had fallen out of the small pocket in my shorts that was, I believe, tailor-made to carry a phone.
Someone was coming out of the establishment and had seen me. “I’m gonna need that,” I said out loud. Embarrassed that my haste had backfired on me, I turned around and went back to retrieve my property.
My phone had, in a sense, fallen in two parts. The case was lying on its back. The phone was lying face down.
When I picked up the phone, I saw that a specific part of the device had taken a lot of the impact. A spiderweb now adorned the top left-hand corner of the front face, right beside of the camera, speaker and microphone. A few strands cut across the the top-left corner of the screen; one of those had a stray tendril that draped just below the halfway point of the display. Another crack arced across the top-right corner of the screen, extending all the way to the right edge of the glass.
I was irritated for numerous reasons.
For one thing, I’ve gone bicycling in these shorts, and my phone has stayed put in that very pocket. Why should it pop out on an impromptu run of just a few yards?
Also, although I virtually always have a case on my phone — a cheap plastic thing that I got on my trip to Los Angeles to watch the 2013 Rose Bowl — the case recently started fraying. In fact, part of the bottom edge detached earlier this week, which presumably contributed to the phone popping out of its protective buffer. I’d thought about buying a new case but had not actually done so. If I’d followed through, my phone either might not have been damaged or might have suffered less from the impact.
Another thing was that just a few hours before this accident, I’d thought about replacing my phone. My tentative decision had been to try to wait until the spring and see how the second edition of the iPhone SE stacked up to iPhone 7 and iPhone 6S. Now, however, I wasn’t sure this would be feasible.
The kicker, though — the absolute most vexing thing about all this vexation — came when I sat back down in the establishment and started looking for an outlet.
It turns out that right behind me was a plug to which not one but two chargers were attached. Both of them had Lightning cables. Only one of those cables was in use.
So there hadn’t been any need to retrieve a cable or a charger. There hadn’t been any need to run to the car. There had not, in fact, been any need to leave my seat at all.
And now, I’m sad to report, every time I look at my phone I see the flayed case and the fractured screen, and I get really annoyed with myself.
Every time I use the phone, I notice the cracks at least once a minute. And this is driving me crazy.
Ah, c’est la vie.