Our decision to upgrade from the Paleozoic cell phones we had previously owned to the iPhone a few years back, shortly after the arrival of the 3GS, seemed like a no brainer, but there was some trepidation. The iPhone’s screen was at once a major advantage over any other smart phone and a major concern.
I thought, “There is no way I’m not going to shatter that thing within the first week,” but a case that included a protective cover over the screen that I could still navigate the touch screen through quelled my concerns. My anxiety was wrapped in a blanket of assurance much the way my iPhone was surround by a bulky, hard, clear, plastic shell and I wielded my protected mobile device with reckless abandon. Within a matter of days, I was absolutely addicted and wondered how I had ever survived without an iPhone and, more importantly, the ability to instantly play an online word games against complete strangers.
The tables had been turned. All those who had made me wait for service were left waiting for me to finish my round of Angry Birds. I felt empowered, invincible even. I was the kid who stays next to glue during the game of tag and constantly taunts “it” just to leap back to nearby safety. I felt nothing could hurt me.
This annoying (to everyone else, I’m sure) sense of security went on for a few years. I was the first to whip my phone from my pocket to look up the answer to the most meaningless trivia questions as if no one else possessed the handheld Google-accessing database I so relied upon. My fingers typed furiously, devoid of the fear of dropping my lifeline to the barroom floor and breaking it. I would thrust the screen into my friends’ faces so they could see the answer I had triumphantly Wikipedia-ed (new verb, I call dibs) for themselves.
My nights of sleep were amazingly more fulfilling as I never let my head hit the pillow without the definitive answer to who it was that had played that one role in that 80s movie.
The answer is James Spader. Uninterrupted sleep, here I come.
I had only two problems with my case. First, I needed to remove it to place the iPhone on my favorite dock/speaker unit. Not a big deal as this is the case with most cases. The second and far more disturbing problem was the proclivity my iPhone case had for collecting flecks of dead skin beneath its screen cover, particularly in the area where the small slit existed for the earpiece.
One should never be made to realize at how rapid a rate their skin naturally replenishes itself. It’s gross. It was the first time I had been so concerned with how often I was exfoliating.
One day, after having removed the case and docked my phone in order to play music while showering, I hesitated to place the case back onto the phone, having noticed a few too many skin particles. I decided, fatefully, that I could go a few days without the case and that I would replace it later after having thoroughly cleaned and disinfected it.
A few days became two weeks as I cringed at the grotesque display of my natural body functions before me on the bathroom counter. My wife apparently had a similar reaction as she banished the horrifically ashy plastic case to a drawer where it was soon forgotten (Note: that was the part where I passive-aggressively blame her for the terrible events that are to come).
Weeks became months and the new, sleeker iPhone I now kept tucked away in my pocket was preferred to the old one with the bulky, gross, skin-collecting case around it. I still felt invincible, like Han Solo, certain he was about to out-maneuver the Imperial Star Destroyers immediately prior to realizing he was unable to make the jump to light speed.
And then it happened. While multitasking (meaning tucking the iPhone between my shoulder and the side of my face so that I didn’t have to put down my beer) my phone slipped from its place and landed, caseless, on the concrete floor of my garage. When I picked it up to console it, the upper third of the screen had shattered into a spider web of cracked glass.
My sons stopped playing in the yard and took note of all the words I spewed whose meanings they would have to try and look up later. I was furious with myself and, completely unjustifiably, with my wife for having dared to call me on the phone when she should have known I would need to keep my hands free.
Within minutes, the old case was dug out from the drawer, cleaned off and placed back on the phone. This time, however, it was to keep the cracked glass in place. I now walk about the polar opposite of my old self. I hesitate to pull out my iPhone and allow anyone to see its sad state of disrepair.
The moral of the story? Pay more attention to the release dates on new Apple products. I thought the iPhone 5’s release was imminent and was eager to trump my wife’s iPhone 4, using the exact same method she did for having her older version replaced, dropping and breaking her 3GS. Now I have to walk around with a cracked screen until Apple gets off its ass.