Sunday, December 2, 2012

The End of an Era

Three or four times a week, Sundy has to be to work by 6:25 am. As we are a one-car household, this leaves me with two choices of how to get to school on those mornings: have her drop me off at the bus stop at 6:15 or wait and walk the mile to the bus stop an hour later. I generally (well, make that always) choose the latter option. This gives me some time to work out, though lately I've been using the time to get some extra sleep (as my Thanksgiving-altered waistline can attest).

Usually the bus gets me to campus a few minutes before class starts, but the first two days of last week the bus was running late and I missed the first few minutes of lecture. On Wednesday, then, I left twenty minutes earlier, planning to catch an earlier bus in order to make it on time.

It was a beautiful morning, the sun coming up over the eastern plains, the late fall air crisp and clean, the traffic on Mississippi Avenue light and quiet. I took it all in and enjoyed the walk, listening to the latest This American Life episode on my iPod and appreciating the fact that it was most likely the only exercise I would be getting that day (it was one of those days I elected extra sleep over working out).

As I cut through a parking lot, I noticed the bus waiting at a light just before my stop. Concerned about missing it (rendering the loss of extra sleep vain), I ran to catch the bus. Which I did (and discovered that even though I've picked up a few extra pounds, I'm still in shape enough to run to catch the bus).

As a bit of a news junkie, I take advantage of the bus ride to catch up on the day's headlines. Sundy and I got smartphones for our jobs when we lived in Oregon, and though we no longer have a data plan, the phones have WiFi capability. I take advantage of that to load up the digests for Slate and the BBC before leaving home, in preparation for reading them on the bus. That day had been no different. After settling in my seat, I reached in my pocket to pull out my phone, but it wasn't there.

I searched my other pockets, then my backpack, but found nothing. I remembered grabbing my phone before leaving the house, so I was fairly certain I hadn't forgotten it. Then my heart sank. What if the phone had fallen out of my pocket when I was running? I got off the bus at the next stop and began the long walk back to the parking lot to search for it.

And I found it. Face down in the parking lot. But when I picked it up, this is what I saw:
Spiderweb screen.
Forlorn and dejected, I started walking home. I was already late for class, and I knew that Sundy wouldn't be able to get a hold of me to coordinate picking me up after school. My class lectures are recorded and broadcast online, so I decided that rather than go back to school I would head home and mourn the loss of my beloved phone.

Before moving, to break our phone contract and get rid of data on our phones, we had to purchase another phone at full price. I bought the cheapest phone they had, and we kept that little phone with us through all our moves. Fortunately, then, I had a phone I could use (as much as I'd like to do it, it's hard to imagine life without a cell phone in this day and age):
My new, bottom-of-the-line phone.

When Sundy got home and heard the sad news, she said, "It's the end of an era." Smartphones were the last relic of our DINC (dual-income, no children) days. It's unlikely that we'll have the money for another smartphone (and the contractual data plan that comes with it) before finishing medical school. So I guess I'll have to find another way to read the news on the way to school. I wonder if I can find any good deals on newspaper subscriptions...

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