Having a smashed iPhone has led to an unanticipated consequence: unsolicited sympathy from complete strangers. And I don’t mean all of you – you’re no strangers to me. I mean real strangers. Like the kind you meet in 3D. The kind you wish would offer you candy now and then.

Three times now I have connected with total strangers over the sad state of my iPhone while I was struggling to read through the cracks.

“Ouch! That looks painful!”

“It is. Like you can’t imagine.”

I look up from my broke-down phone for a minute to connect eyes with the man next to me on the train, and we nod silently. I feel a lump in my throat.

Later, a twenty-something redhead asks me how it happened. When I explain, she looks down at her own iPhone and gently touches it.

“Take good care of her. You never know when she could be called home,” I say, with a wisdom that only comes from tragedy.

The third encounter happened on my way home today as I walked past a man whose Blackberry had a single long crack down the middle of it. I held up my phone from across the aisle, “Could be worse. Could be worse.”

He grimaced, “Oooh. I’m so sorry.”

“Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away.”

“Amen to that.”

The only other time I’ve felt this level of random kindness was when I sprained my ankle in college and people would run to hold doors for me and help me with my books as I hobbled down stairs. Everyone had their own crutches story to share, and for a brief moment, we were all a little less alone.

Maybe I’ll keep the cracks for just a little while longer.

8 Responses to “Bonded”

  1. Dave2 Says:

    I hugged my iPhone a little tighter tonight before I plugged it in…

  2. shari Says:

    When you get the replacement, check with the phone-guy to see if you can keep this one just to use as a prop on the train or other public places. Oh, the collection of short stories you could write if you keep a log of all the interactions! In fact, you could give up bee-keeping altogether once you’ve launched your new career as an author, or better yet!, use the proceeds from your best-selling (phone) book to launch your bee-keeping dreams.

    Or y’know, move to Wenatchee. We have bees here too. Whichever.

  3. Cheryl Says:

    When the iPhone first came out, it was the star of every party I went to–whoever had one would have a big crowd around them. So it only follows that when one dies, it’s like the death of a rock star. Don’t be surprised if an impromptu shrine sprouts on the sidewalk next to where you dropped it.

  4. Capricorn Cringe Says:

    Thank you for sharing your heartbreak with us. I know it must have been difficult for you, but you’ve reminded us all to cherish what we have and treat it with a little kindness and much respect.

    My inferior Kyocera Wildcard thanks you for it.

  5. vahid Says:

    Steve Jobs called, he says he will sell you apps at half-price from now on, so great is his sorrow at your plight.

  6. Jenny Says:

    dave2: hold it and never let it go. ever.

    shari: my god, the possibilities are ENDLESS!

    cheryl: i’d like to think of my iPhone as elvis.

    capricorn cringe: it’s hard, but sharing my story does ease the pain a bit.

    vahid: OMG – i’m totally buying that really expensive bird-watching app now… eventually, my new iPhone will have paid for itself!

  7. Don Says:

    OMG, I haven’t been here awhile, and you have only become more brilliant. I am in awe, and feel deeply remiss that I’ve been letting all writing slip just so I could concentrate on, on, whatever else it is I do.

    This reminds me of my similar story but that, it quickly points out, was inspired by you, so, huh, interesting.

  8. jenny Says:

    Don: you are always far too kind! I’m glad you found your way to my new digs. And I’m glad you can empathize with the loss of a beloved gadget. Plus, your entry reminded me of my lovely mittens – I just can’t have nice things, I guess.

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