My iPhone died. The official cause of death was drowning. When I told that to the sales consultant at the mobile phone store he didn’t raise an eyebrow. I guess he had heard the story of the big slash before.
I’ve owned an iPhone for several years. Before I had the smartphone, I had a few dumb ones. Never in the history of my mobile phone life have I dropped a phone. Not the brick size. Not the flip top. I’ve dropped calls but never dropped a phone – until I did. That adds credence to the truth that there is a first time for everything.
It wasn’t so much that I dropped the phone or how I dropped it. It didn’t slip out of my hand, bounce on the table top, and then slide to the floor cracking the screen like an egg on the sidewalk. No, nothing that sanitized. I dropped the phone in the toilet.
Before you gross-out, it wasn’t like what you may be thinking. And technically, I didn’t drop it.
Let me explain.
Whenever I leave home, I rarely carry my cell phone in a purse. I fear that if the purse gets snatched the bad guy will have one of the three most valuable items that I carry. Instead, of putting the phone in my purse, since I almost always wear jeans with deep pockets, my phone is usually tucked in one front pocket, my wallet and keys are in the other. Only when jeans are inappropriate for whatever event I am attending do I carry those three items in a purse.
The one place I never, EVER carry my phone is in my back pocket. I’ve seen other people do it and I always think how easy it would be for a pick-pocket to bump them from behind and take the phone before they realize it’s gone. (To outsmart criminals you must learn to think like one.)
Recently, I purchased a new pair of jeans online. I liked the fit and the color. The only thing I disliked was the short front pockets. The back pockets had plenty of depth. But there was no way I could tuck my phone snuggly into either of the front pockets no matter which way I turned it.
I made a mental note to call the retailer from whom I purchased the trademark jeans or leave a review on the website making it known that the pockets are too short for my liking. I hope that enough complaints from different people about the same issue might prompt a change in the pockets because I like the jeans.
Now you are probably wondering what do jeans have to do with my iPhone so I’ll get to the point.
I was preparing to go out one day and was wearing the new jeans. As I rushed around tidying up the place and trying to make sure that I didn’t forget anything, I temporarily stuck the iPhone in my back pocket knowing that I would remove it and place it in my backpack purse before leaving home. But then I forgot it was there.
Just before heading out the door I tell myself that I’d better answer nature’s call. (I’m sure you readers are ahead of me now and know what happened, but for those who may be a little slow, here’s the deal).
I go into the bathroom, pull down my jeans and as I am preparing to sit on the throne I hear “plop.” I know – before I even turn around to look – that the phone has slipped out of my back pocket and somersaulted into the toilet.
My immediate reaction is to grab the phone from the clear water, wrap it in paper towels and then shake it. Shake. Shake. Shake. Get that water out of there. After several seconds, I unfold the paper towels and look anxiously at the screen. A sigh of relief. It looks fine. All of the colorful icons are there. Yes! I saved it. Or, so I thought – until seconds later, right before my eyes the icons all dissolve. In their place are squiggly horizontal lines on a pale background. After a few seconds, more lines appear, and then poof! the screen turns black. “Nooooooo!” I scream in my head. Watching a phone die can be traumatic.
I snatch more paper towels off the roll and rewrap the phone, shaking it again several times. Before discarding the paper towels, I look at the screen. Nothing but blackness. I slide my finger across the place where the “slide to turn off” message usually appears. Nothing, again. And then suddenly, the flashlight pops on, and I think, “Now, we’re getting somewhere.”
Wrong! Although the light on the back of the phone is glowing brightly, the face of the phone remains dark. I stare at it, wishing that I could rewind the hands of time back about 5 minutes, to seconds before my phone took a dump.
The phone light glows brighter and the brighter the light gets the warmer the phone feels in my hand. Using the little button on the side of the phone I switch it, trying to do a hard shut off. Nothing, again.
I suddenly remember stories I’ve read about exploding phones, and at that moment fear sets in as I think drop the phone and run for cover. I didn’t want to drop the phone and risk setting my place on fire, so I run with the phone to the kitchen. I lay the phone on the counter and from the cabinet, I grab a small ziplock bag and a bag of balsamic rice. (No, I did not take time to look for the cheaper bag of rice because I didn’t know how much time I had before the phone would go kaboom!) I put the still glowing phone into the plastic bag, quickly pour rice over it, place the potential explosive in a small pot, cover the pot with a lid, back away and wait for the explosion that I fear is imminent. I am hoping that the blast will stay contained within the pot.
I have read that if you place a wet cell phone into rice, it will dry it out and save your phone. After a few minutes of nervously waiting, I lean back so the phone will not explode in my face as I extend my arm and slowly lift the lid from the pot. I peek inside. The phone flashlight has dimmed significantly, but it has not gone out. I touch the phone through the bag. It is cooling down. After a few more minutes the light goes out.
I conjure up enough nerve to remove the rice-bagged phone from the pot. Hopeful that I have resuscitated it, I try turning the phone on. No luck. I make a few more attempts before placing the phone back in its plastic bag coffin. Then, I get an old, tiny purse from the closet and place the zip-bagged phone into the purse and the purse inside my backpack. I sling it over my shoulder and head out the door.
Since I was planning to go downtown even before the phone mishap, I decided that while I was down there, I would buy a new phone. It was a several hundred dollar expense that I had not planned for, nor budgeted.
When I walked into the mobile phone store, the clerk greeted me, “How can I help you today?”
“My phone drowned,” I said somberly. I didn’t overshare information with him as I did with you readers, I just told him that I accidentally dropped the phone into water and let him imagine the rest. Then, I pulled the phone out of my backpack to show. “I riced it,” I said. “But I still can’t turn it on.”
“First of all,” he said. “That’s not enough rice. You need to completely cover the phone in rice and let it sit for about 48 hours to thoroughly dry out. There’s still no guarantee that will work. And if you can’t turn it on now, it’s likely short-circuited, i.e., totally dead.” I did not say what I was thinking — smart ass.
I brought a new phone. The only good thing to come out of the debacle is that I was able to retrieve all my phone contacts, photos, etc. because I had saved that info in the iCloud. I only started saving in the cloud about a month ago. That was clearly a predestined move.
According to the Daily Info website “nearly 1 in 10 people have dropped their phones in the toilet.” Let my experience be a warning to you. Avoid carrying your phone anywhere near water. And never, EVER carry your phone in your back pocket.