I’ve said it–verbatim–about 6 thousand times since I moved to San Francisco: “I don’t have an iPhone! It’s so embarrassing! And while I have total iPhone envy and am clearly a total loser because I don’t have apps…when it really comes to down to it, I’m the only one in San Francisco that can actually make a phone call.”
It’s true. While AT&T is dropping calls left, right and center, I am uninterruptedly having uncomfortable phone conversations that I desperately wish were taking place over text or gchat. No such luck–I’m on a BlackBerry powered by Verizon, and yes, I can hear you now.
Truth be told, the longer I hang out in the Bay Area, the more weird I feel about pulling out my BlackBerry. In the beginning I felt as though I’m whipping out a pay-phone, but now it feels more like a sign that says, “I’m not cool at all.” However, last week, I got the final piece of conclusive evidence I needed to confirm that you do not want a BlackBerry– you want an iPhone.
One of my favorite people ever, let’s call her “J,” was visiting me from New York. She was spending the day at Berkeley because she is cool and smart and applying to get her PhD in English. I asked her to meet me at my yoga studio, a place where–a few awkward encounters aside–I have always felt relatively safe.
Unfortunately, while J. was standing outside the yoga studio holding her iPhone, someone ran by and stole it. By time I got downstairs prepared to throw my arms around her and relish in the company of a fellow tough New Yorker, she was asking me to call the police.
When they arrived, all she could tell them was that someone in a black hoodie who was about 5″10 had stolen her phone. Amazingly, the cops were able to nab someone on Mission street who fit this description, and J. was ushered into a cop car to ID the guy.
The police told me to wait on the street with her suitcase and my bike. Now, given the course of events , I had zero desire to stand on the street and wait. I called my yoga teacher and tried to get back into the yoga studio–no luck. So I did what any panicky person with time on their hands would do: I locked up my bike and went to Walgreens.
If I bought J. peanut M&Ms, I reasoned, she would probably totally forget that her phone got stolen the minute she stepped off Bart and start having pleasant, chocolately memories of SF. But what if she didn’t like peanuts? Should I get regular? Regular was boring. But the possibility that she didn’t like peanuts loomed large. Suffice it to say–I spent perhaps a little more time agonizing over the choices in Walgreens than I should have.
When I finally made it to the line, I was bored and decided to see if anything exciting had happened at work in the 20 minutes since I’d worried about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t seem to have my BlackBerry. Given the rampant disorder that dominates my life, frequently I seem not to have things, but ultimately locate them. Not the case here. The BlackBerry was gone.
I dropped everything and sprinted out of the store, nearly colliding with another student from the yoga studio, who informed me that one of my teachers had my phone. I was relieved, but confused. She explained that someone had phone my phone on the street, picked it up, called the last number (my teacher) and waited while she came back to retrieve it.
My friend called my teacher while I dragged her across the street to fetch my friend out of the cop car, which had returned at some point during my epic M&M indecision. As I was peering into the back seat to what happened, three of my yoga teachers rounded the corner to return my BlackBerry.
They explained that some incredibly nice man had picked up my phone, called them, waited for them to come back so he could return it, and that I was really lucky and also he was really tall so maybe I should put up a Craigslist Missed Connection “Thank You” ad for him and see what happened.
All I could think was a) I have proved to my yoga teachers that I know nothing about mindfulness and concentration and this is really embarrassing and b) my BlackBerry is so undesirable that this dude didn’t even want to steal it.
While J. had her iPhone ripped out of her hands, I had left my BlackBerry out as a present to the Universe and it was rejected.
While J. was articulate and being taken very seriously by the police, I was stammering helplessly and being (gently) teased by my yoga teachers.
While if I had lost my BlackBerry, the only thing I would have missed was the blue rubber case, J. suddenly stopped in the middle of the street on our way home and shouted, “Sh*t! Now I’m going to have to beat Angry Birds all over again!”
An iPhone was a universe, I realized. My BlackBerry was a just a phone that worked consistently and allowed me to send email and Google things.
If there were a Rolling Stones lyric that described my BlackBerry it would be: “I can’t give it away on 7th Avenue.” I was in the Bay Area’s lowest caste!
By time we arrived at my house, we had no motivation to go out, and little motivation to have fun. She was on the phone with her girlfriend, I was nervously munching veggies while alternating between apologizing for the smell of steamed Brussels Sprouts and wrecking her life.
Suddenly, a thought popped into my head: chocolate. Chocolately memories of San Francisco. And we put on our shoes and we trekked to Safeway. We wandered through the isles, we said embarrassing things at the tops of our lungs so everyone would hear, we made friends with people on line. By time we found ourselves on Mission Street with two chocolate bars, a bag of Goldfish, two apples and a bottle of that diet white grape soda that we were pretending to fight over, we were laughing.
We were laughing when we walked to Bart together, in the dark, 4 hours later at 5am. And I guess in hindsight, I’m sort of lucky that I have a BlackBerry. At least it taught me to navigate life without GPS.
Note: J replaced her iPhone with Droid, but hated it, returned it and got another iPhone. She wanted me to mention that.