September 10, 2008

My Own Personal Black Death

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I never actually had a dog, so I don’t know what it’s like to have my dog die, but I’d imagine this was a similar feeling. I had a couple cats, and they both died violent deaths (Patches got run over by some gardeners who were so sad for our loss, I’m sure, and Tiger ate some deliciously rancid garbage), so I guess I can compare this experience to that.
When Patches died, I was 11 and it was my first encounter with death. I told my parents, “If Patchie is dead, I don’t want to live anymore either.” Their response was to have a family grief counseling session. Yeah, I guess I kind of felt like that when my phone was brutally murdered this past summer.
I first was introduced to the fantastical world of smartphone technology by my King-of-the-Nerds, Silicon Valley legend father (look him up on Wikipedia — make sure to visit the link to the website he built about himself when the internet was invented!) and thus, his main hobby is collecting gadgets. Not just any gadgets; it always seems to be that my dad is just ahead of the curve enough to get things right as they come out, and right before they are eclipsed by the more socially standard products. Instead of going straight to VHS, Chuck Weiss had a tumultuous love affair with Betamax. When he threw up the white flag on that one, I was watching Bambi and The Little Mermaid on my bigger-than-a-frisbee Laser Discs. My father bought four ReplayTVs (a.k.a. the other TiVo) for the many different rooms in our house where he likes to do back stretches while watching the evening news (apparently this is a Weiss family trait I am destined to grow into). Thus, I was playing BrickBreaker on my dad’s Palm Pilots from the age of 10, onward.
And so it was that I realized I was naked without a fruity little phone when my brahhh Jonny Lieberman ’08, newly elected editor-in-chief of the Sun at the time told me, well, “You’re naked without a BlackBerry.” I had just gotten elected to the now-defunct position (so I keep my title forever) of Associate Arts Editor, and he kindly and responsibly informed me that everyone had one but me, and I couldn’t really perform my functions as a Sun editor without such email-phone-brickbreaker machinery. My successor, Peter Finocchiaro ’10, was apparantly also peer-pressured, because last year in the, say, five hours between our Sun elections and the celebratory Sun bar tab that night, Peter bought himself a BlackBerry as well. I was always impressed with that “go-gettem” attitude, Pete. Kudos. The gadget was with me through good times and bad. Most durable thing I ever had! It survived the, like, 80 times I dropped it. Sometimes I’d even drop it to demonstrate how formidable it was.
So this past summer, I was studying in Florence, Italy —because I tend to speak a lot of foreign languages and whatev. There I had three quite-high-maintenance-but-lovely roommates. One night, Kristal peer-pressured me into imbibing some absinthe, or, as I more accurately refer to it, “Licorice Gasoline.” I’d had absinthe before, as — when I was rummaging through my parents’ wine collection the summer after freshman year — I found a weird green bottle with weird scratchy writing on it (Hebrew, so they call it?). It made one of my wiser-in-the-ways-of-the-alcoholic friends drop his jaw right down to our kitchen tiles. (We decided to have an adventure that night, slotted spoon and all, and I basically just remember rolling on the floor at my friend’s house, gurgling “I LOFF COOKAYS” and laughing hysterically. Then I saw a giant crab named Brendan who followed me throughout the night.) So I knew what I was in for in Italy, and indeed, on that fateful night I lost my chin, and my left kneecap was going in and out of consciousness. Kristal was more up and at ’em the next day than I, and our school was sponsoring a wine tasting in Tuscany. She kept yelling at me to get less hungover because we had to drink more, and Kristal has a background in musical theater so baby girl’s voice could project! She threw a waterbottle into my purse and screamed at me that we had just 10 minutes or our free lunch was over, so I got up and we left.
Then on our way to the Santa Maria Novella train station I realized my side was wet. And my purse was wet. And that Kristal had put an open water bottle into my purse, and … and …
It’s really too painful to go over again.
So here on this newsprint you’ll throw on the floor and use to mop up your fake General Tso’s grease lies my ode to my dear friend Blackie, and to all of the information on her that drowned when my bag was inundated with water so brutally and senselessly, much like the most pivotal movie in the course of my life, Titanic (another story for another day). What exactly did I lose when Blackie passed? Here are some of my most important memos that perished in the icy waters:
Brocations: When Jonny and I were in China last winter break for The Sun with Rebecca Shoval ’08 and Matt Hintsa ’10, we often had to split-up to cab different places in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing. Rebecca and Matt wouldn’t have tolerated this, likely, so when just me and J-hon were cabbing for 40 minutes to everywhere in Beijing (always how long it took), we created a list of all of the locations in the world in which we could insert the word “bro”. Favorites were Bro-klahoma, San Dieg-Bro, and, of course, Brogadishu, Bromalia. This is probably my most depressing loss caused by the premature death of my phone.
Journal Entries: Being some sort of weird pseudo-journalist, I keep a weird pseudo-journal on my phone. I can’t remember things that happened an hour ago, so I have a write-as-I-go tendency rather than the old “Dear Diary, Today I love Carson more than I love Jason”-style with the little hearts around the initials on the top corner of my diary to match the ones I write on the palms of my hands (they’re secret that way.)
So no, for the last time, I’m not always texting other people on my BlackBerry when I’m with you. Nay, I’m actually keeping a creepy log of everything that you say and do that intrigues me. Or typing shit about you. But my attention really is still focused on you. I pretty much lost half of the Italy trip when Kristal poured that refreshing San Bendetto into my purse. Whatevs, I ate some pasta, I drank some wine, I got sketched on by some dudes. I think I know what went down.
What animals people remind me of: A classmate of mine named Catherine at my high school once told me, “Rebecca, if you were an animal, you’d be a cinnamon muffin.” So I liked to keep up that tradition. I take a more conservative approach, though, where I just stick to animals. For example: My editor and protégé Peter reminds me of a rabbit — but, like, a really ferocious rabbit that knows martial arts.
Anyway, my parents tend to get insurance for things I come into contact with, so I was able to exchange this phone corpse for another. It’s not the same, but I’m making do. I’m trying to keep my phone away from rancid garbage and, as my mom suggested, “in a Ziploc bag.” I think it’s giving me carpal tunnel though — BlackBerry thumb, so they say. I might have to get an iPhone.