I Got Lost In Hoboken And It Turns Out I Can't Live Without My Phone

If this article had a soundtrack, it would just be Britney singing "Slave 4 U" over and over and over.
Publish date:
July 11, 2013
phones, directions, new york city, Daniel Day-Lewis, iPhone

As mentioned earlier this week, after an unfortunate incident involving me, an iPhone, and all of the sweat of my body, my poor little mobile device has been benched since Sunday. Being only one broom skirt paired with floral crown away from being a total hippie (anti-war, anti-hair removal, very much in favor sage smudging, jazz flute and free love, man) I did not think that the two to three days the tech guy had estimated I’d be without my phone would be a big deal.

Ha, ha, ha, oh, self, you lovable fool.

Before I left my phone to the no-doubt careful and skilled ministrations of a man claiming to have a PhD in iPhone science, I anxiously asked a barrage of questions. This should have been the first sign that my relationship with my smartphone has escalated from your average owner and machine to something much more complex and unhealthy.

“Sooooo,” I asked nervously while he hit the home button over and over again, “What are my potential outcomes here?”

The guy wasn’t making eye contact with me, because as I spent an essay discussing, I am a sweat monster.

“Well, either we can fix it, or we can’t.”

This was sound enough wisdom, if unsettling. I considered asking him if I could set up a cot in the lobby and just wait it out, but realizing this would have been, you know, insane. Instead, I settled for asking when I could expect to hear from them.

“We’ll call you when it’s done.”

After a non-hilarious who’s-on-first-like back and forth wherein I explained that this was, in fact, impossible given that he had my phone, I was just short of forcibly removed from the building with promises of an email being sent my way when the verdict was in.

OK, I thought, two days no phone, I can do this. There is Skype, and radios, and real-life banks, and stuff like paper! Instead of tweeting one-liners, I can just say them out loud on the street -- this is probably how adults make friends! Plus, I hate talking on the phone anyway! This will be my Zen vacation.

This lasted until I left my home Sunday evening for Hoboken. At the behest of a friend moving from the city, I’d agreed to meet her at the Melting Pot -- a hot pot, fondue, chain place -- in Hoboken for a celebratory meal. I checked the directions on HopStop multiple times. Or so I thought.

It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized I’d only checked the train directions. I was so used to whipping out my phone once I was above ground and getting walking directions that I hadn’t actually looked up the restaurant’s address. Thus it was I walked two miles out of my way, only to eventually accidentally pass the restaurant as I was heading back to the train, sobbing. There wasn’t enough melted cheese inside its hallowed halls to staunch my embarrassment at my own apparent helplessness. Believe me, I inquired.

Being who I am, I had the good sense to make fun of myself for this adventure. Plus, when I called my dad on Monday to wish him happy birthday from my computer, it was worth it just to have him basically be like, “WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?” Still, I began daydreaming about who might have called me while my phone was off -- a cute boy perhaps? My dentist? A woman locked in the back of a car by a crazed kidnapped who was in need of my help? I began to panic.

Monday evening, I promised to meet a friend at York Street in Brooklyn so that we might go and listen to an author give a talk on a book, because verily, we are classy broads. She had heard of my Hoboken disaster and gave me strict instructions to wait at the station for her.

I got off the train and panicked -- should I wait right there on the platform? Should I go upstairs and wait outside? Maybe I’ll just find a place with Wi-Fi and send an email telling her to meet me there? She showed up and I nearly wept with relief.

With the assistance of her GPS, we found our destination and discussed plans on how to get me a functioning phone as soon as possible. Still, I insisted I'd be fine until I heard from the repair people. I am a self-sufficient, smart, competent woman. I pay my own bills and solve my own problems. I cannot express how lame it felt worrying I wasn’t going to be able to find my friend, the only person who could tell me how to get home.

Less hilarious was how quickly it became clear that texting -- for better or worse -- is how I nurture my relationships. When I got home that night, my anxious roommate thought that I was furious with her. She had forgotten my phone was on the fritz and had sent me a series of increasingly fraught texts, thinking I was giving her the silent treatment.

When I received word that my iPhone was truly a goner, I thought for a minute of maybe letting the dead rest. Maybe it was time for me to stop texting, to only check my email on my computer, to spend more time looking around me, to examine this brave new world and get to know it.

Then ATT told me if I early-renewed my contract they would give me an iPhone 5 and then I spent the rest of my night making Siri transcribe texts like “Mushrooms dickface butthole exclamation” and send them to my brother. Which is also good.