My phone, my lifeline

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I dropped my cell phone in the toilet Sunday afternoon.

It played out like that scene in "The Brady Bunch" when Marcia gets nailed in the nose with a football, the phone falling in slow-motion as I helplessly screamed in panic. My panic was admittedly a bit more PG-13 than Marcia's, but what do you expect from someone who learned the art of flipping the bird before kindergarten?

Without even thinking that I was reaching into the remnants of pee-water, I jerked my arm down and retrieved the phone from its potentially watery grave. I handed it off to my boyfriend, who took it apart and attempted to dry it.

This is it, I thought. I'm going to have to wait two days to get a new phone.

In that moment, I realized just much I depend on my cell phone. After all, it's not just a device I use for contacting friends and family. It's where I store my voice memos and notes, both personal and professional. It's what I use to check my bank account, update my fitness application and play Bubble Shooter.

I suppose I realized this on some level, but there's nothing like the threat of losing something to make you realize how much you need it. In an interview with Berryville High School principal Owen Powell three months ago, we spoke about how cell phones and the Internet are being integrated into classrooms to help students adjust to the developing technology around them.

Technology, Powell told me, has quickly become a part of the professional world. He said his own profession isn't exempt, recalling how he left his phone at home once and freaked out when he realized he didn't have it.

"I had to drive all the way back home to get it," Powell told me.

I agreed with him, admitting that I'd probably miss out on lots of work-related calls if I lost my phone for a couple of days. Still, I don't think I properly grasped what he was saying. I continued to insist to myself that I am not dependent on my phone, that I could easily survive a week or two without it if I had to.

When I visited my mom over the Fourth of July, that same thought swirled through my head as I watched her tinker on her phone nearly every five minutes. My mom is a high-level manager at a water and restoration company, so I knew she needed to check her messages often for new projects or potential problems.

Of course, that didn't stop me from thinking I was so much better than her for not needing to check my phone constantly. I even received a work-related call and several text messages during this time and continued believing I didn't need my phone.

Seeing my phone in the toilet Sunday afternoon, I realized pretty quickly that I do rely on my phone quite a bit. My boyfriend helped me salvage the phone, but that didn't stop me from crying and panicking on the one-hour drive home. I couldn't even sleep well that night because I kept thinking my phone had some kind of internal damage I couldn't detect.

As I write this column, I'm still a little worried that my phone is going to give out on me. The funny thing is it would cost only $99 to order a new phone if the water damage proves to be too much. There is a back-up plan here, yet I can't stop worrying that I'll lose my phone.

My name is Samantha Jones, and I am a phone-aholic. I need my phone every day. I'd be lost without it.

It didn't feel good to write that, but at least it was honest.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.