Phoning it in

Technology is a funny thing: First it astounds you; then you get accustomed to it; and finally, when the novelty and wonder wear off, you take technology for granted.

This cycle is natural and inevitable, I think — unless something disrupts it. Like, for instance, the technology suddenly stops working.

I’d noticed that my iPhone was getting sluggish, but I was surprised last night to find it utterly unresponsive. The “slide to unlock” bar would appear, but that was all. I shrugged and rebooted. Nope.

It was getting dark outside. “Where’s Esteban?” I wondered. I instinctively poked the “home” button — only to realize I couldn’t text or call him. I felt a flash of anxiety at being involuntarily out of touch.

I’ll save you the tedium of the research that followed, save to explain one thing: One of my apps had apparently become corrupt and was running relentlessly in the background, churning out data in an infinite loop of pointless productivity. (Or at least that’s my best alliterative guess.)

I dutifully followed the suggested fixes — step by step, by agonizing step — but nothing worked. Only one option remained:


I hovered over the Restore button as I pondered the consequences. “Eh, I can just reload my music and photos. Sure, yeah … restore.” *Click.*

“WAIT! NOOO! What about Esteban’s text messages?!” A wave of sadness washed over me as I realized I’d just erased three years of memories and correspondence.

The story has a happy ending: Esteban came home safely about an hour later! Oh, and also, I’d backed up my phone about a week ago, so I was able to restore most of my data (including Esteban’s voicemails and text messages).

Today I indulged myself with an hour-long trip back in time, and I was struck by the consistent love and patience Esteban’s messages conveyed. (I was especially touched by the messages we’d exchanged last January, when I was living it up in Paris — without even the slightest clue that he was fighting desperately to save our home. I am still in awe of his selflessness.)

But most of all, I was delighted to see the little moments of humor that punctuated our everyday conversations. In hindsight, I realize that the thing I most take for granted about technology isn’t its ubiquity, or its design, or even its capabilities; it’s its ability to connect me with those I love.

The moral of the story? Back up your data. And keep a second iPhone handy, just in case …

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