Day two in the wild.

Woman walks the streets of Chicago, wandering in and out of classrooms and grocery stores and houses… without a cell phone. She’s been living like this for a couple days now, since her phone went haywire. Will she make it? We’re not sure. So far, she’s had a glazed over look in her eyes and has had more conversation with the live human beings around her, but we’re not sure if this is a fluke or a trend that will continue as we observe her. 

It’s not clear whether this is a permanent or temporary state of existence, but we have seen her reach for an unknown object in her purse only to zip it back up, shaking her head a bit as if to clear it. No, no, there’s no telephonic device in there. 

It’s the second day of my cell phone-less existence. So far no buildings have blown up, no thwarted communication has made life difficult, no one has died for my lack of phone.

It seems my lot in life that every couple of years my phone will start seizing up after a software update and need to be sent in for repairs (possibly without any hope of being able to repair it).

I am free and disconnected, truly unreachable at times.

It feels wonderfully counter-cultural to be without my phone and wildly disconcerting.

Oh, my mom might know about that. I’ll call her. Oh, wait, I can’t.

Oh, my bank charged me for something stupid again. I’ll call them and threaten to change banks. Oh wait…

So I just keep Facebook and my email open on my computer and hope that the pattern of things going just fine continues.

It’s made me think about whether or not the smart phone life should be mine. Should I go back to my dumb phone with the slide out full keyboard? That thing would have lasted more than a couple years, especially if I didn’t drop it. Is it a coincidence that this has happened twice?

While I wait to find out the fate of my phone from the repair center in Texas (why don’t they have one closer to here? I don’t know), I’ll enjoy feeling more present and aware. I’ll see more of the leaves on the trees change. I won’t take pictures anywhere but my mind.

Woman seems resigned to her position without cellular device. She gets into bed with her Kindle and sets her small travel alarm clock so it will beep in the morning and keep her from wanting to press the ‘snooze’ button. 

And now I get it.

I know why people hate telemarketers now. When I called for my school to ask people for money, I didn’t understand why people were so defensive and rude right off the bat. But you haven’t even heard my sweet, little voice making a pitch for scholarship money! Listen to my plea. I just want $5! Or $50…

Really, I was quite shocked that few people were courteous enough to remember that I was human.

I had the same experience of feeling inhuman again tonight, but this time from the other end. After two hellos (the second one sounding more annoyed than the first because I hate having to say “hello” more than once… they called me, right? they should be ready to talk.), the man asked for my mom. She wasn’t available, so I asked to take a message.

I could rant about what happened afterwards, and it might feel good, but I’ll just say that I wish the conversation had gone differently. And I can think of multiple ways that it might have been better.

I could have pretended to be my mom’s sassy secretary:

Man: Is Debbie available?

Me: May I ask who’s calling?

Man:  It’s a courtesy call.

Me: Well, you don’t sound very courteous. I screen Ms. McDonald’s calls for her, and I must ask you to remove her from your list.

Man responds with something indignant, like  I’ve attacked him when he was only trying to help me.

Me: I’m sorry, sir, but if you won’t tell me who you are or what your purpose in calling is, I will have to assume that you are a criminal. Please hold while I call the police.

*Bobby McFerrin hold music*

Here’s a little song I wrote. You might want to sing it note for no-

And he hangs up. And takes us off of his “courtesy” list forever.

End of fairy tale.

When I told him that I wanted to be able to let my mom know who had been repeatedly calling all day (coming up on caller ID as “unknown name, private number”) he said, “well, isn’t that nice of you.”

Oh, my blood boils.

Too bad you can’t phone slap people.

It’s too bad you think of all your good retorts too late to speak them. Granted, I wasn’t a doormat. People don’t get to call our house and  be bullies or treat the daughter like she’s being dumb for wanting to know who is on the phone.

How does this guy keep his job? I doubt anyone wants to talk to him and even fewer want to listen to his pitch. How does he have friends if he’s so manipulative and condescending?

How the heck would Jesus respond to that guy? Would we get “you brood of vipers” Jesus or the flipping-over-tables-in-the-temple Jesus? Or would we get the “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he does” Jesus?

I’m still not sure, but I’m pretty sure that if I get to talk to that person again, I will have words for him. Hopefully the right words at the right time.

Modern day miracles

I’ve been known to think I’m hilarious when I’m home alone for an extended period of time. I tweet too much, sometimes about things like grilled cheese or dancing with my elbows. It’s a small problem, but today I’m going to solve it by going to see some technological geniuses. I’m realizing that it might be wise to continue this post after I’ve had some normal human interaction, so I will do just that.


2.5 hours later, I’m back with a good story sans bad jokes. After I left you, I headed to Best Buy to visit the Samsung people to see if they could do anything for her. Poor Pearl had her battery taken out again and again as they tried to do a factory reset then tried to get her into download mode.

I withheld my comments about how I felt like they were surgeons operating on my child because people don’t always appreciate metaphors. I also withheld comments like “Will that work?” and “What are you trying now?” because I figured that would be annoying. I support my decision to sit with my hands in my lap and try to not worry about expenses. I also support my decision to ask Jesus to fix it. I mean, why not?

Bobby the Geek (that’s not derogatory. That’s what they call themselves.) got to a point where he didn’t think there was any hope (in my vivid imagination, we were in a hospital, and the heart rate monitor was slowing down while he held the defibrillator paddles and hung his head in defeat while clothed in a white lab coat). He sent me back over to the Samsung area to look at expensive phones that I can’t afford. When I explained to the woman there (who was incredibly nice and had been my initial contact, so she knew about my difficulty) that I wasn’t in a place to drop $300 on a phone, we went to the cheap phone area where Matt (or Mark or something like that) explained that the cheapest phone that would still fit the bill was $80. I didn’t have time to buy it then since I was headed to a bang trim at 3, so I told him I’d come back tonight after I talk to my parents and get things figured out.

I went back over to Bobby to pick up Pearl’s corpse, but he had made progress. It was in download mode! We watched with baited breath as he downloaded the Android operating system on it, saying “I don’t know how I got it to this mode, so don’t ask questions” and “This may work or it may not.” That worked. Then he downloaded the software, again giving disclaimers as he went.

I just kept asking Jesus to fix it. Look, Jesus, I know that this isn’t that big of a deal, and it’s just a phone. I know that it can be a distraction, but you know I don’t have the money to buy even an $80 phone right now. You know that I would be so happy to just be able to wear this one out and save up for when my contract runs out. That would be just fine. You are bigger than this glitch. You are bigger than Pearl’s epilepsy. You do modern day miracles with technology. You could totally use Bobby to fix her. Please, God. Fix it.

As I watched without breathing as Pearl turned on and came back to life, I was reminded that Jesus cares about my life. Jesus is fully aware that this matters to me, and even more than that, He’s involved. He’s seen my bank accounts and knows that Pearl was my alarm clock, communications manager, guide, and sometimes my lifeline. He gave me three days without her. Then He lead me to Bobby, who said “It’s a good thing you came in when you did, because I think I’m the only one here who knows how to do that.” Yeah, Jesus. You’ve got good timing. That’s why I felt the need to make a grilled cheese with avocado before heading out…

Yes, Jesus does modern day miracles. Our technology isn’t too advanced for Him. He isn’t mystified by cellular seizures and taught the best of the best how to troubleshoot. Even if Pearl dies soon, I’m thankful for the extra time and that I at least have a phone for the start of school. That’s good enough for now.

The weekend Pearl went on strike.

Pearl went on strike this weekend. She told me that she wanted higher wages, and I told her, “I don’t pay you. You’re my phone. I pay other people to use you.”

That’s when she started having seizures.

I did everything I could, and so did Will, the AT&T guy. We tried and we did factory resets, and she just kept relapsing. I have to say goodbye to my poor, epileptic phone this week.

And say hello to some kind of replacement.

You see, I thought about this. I thought to myself,  I would really like to not be governed by stuff. Who says I need a phone? Okay, well maybe that’s a smart choice for living in the city on your own. Maybe you’d like to keep in touch with your parents and friends and sister and grandma who doesn’t have facebook? You’re locked in to paying a data plan until next March. Are you really going to fork over all that money for nothing? Yeah, exactly. Find a used smartphone that will last you for six months.

I really wanted to be the kind of person who could have their phone break and be okay with it. I mean, I am okay with it. I haven’t cried or broken down. I’ve been pretty stable… minus all the times I’ve looked at people using their phones and think YOU DON’T KNOW HOW GOOD YOU HAVE IT.

I miss my friend, Pearl. I wish she’d stuck around for the rest of our contract together. I wish she would get better and stay with me. But sometimes you have to let things go. Goodbye, Pearl. I hope you get rid of your epilepsy someday.

Technology challenge day number 2.

Today, it’s May, and I’m trying to figure out what faith looks like when your phone is out of commission.

Photo on 5-1-13 at 5.17 PM

For real though.  I think Jesus cares about me when I lose my main method of communication.  So, I don’t think it was entirely stupid or shallow of me to pray over my phone when it started having seizures this morning. (This has happened before… sketch.  Here’s the post from the first time.)

But then should I have expected it to immediately start right up?  Should I presume that Jesus wants to fix my phone?  What if He was the one who made it go haywire?  Maybe I should thank Him in advance for the lesson He’s going to teach me through this period of time without my mobile device.

Maybe Jesus wants me to simplify my life, go back to having a flip phone (actually, I didn’t have a flip phone… it was a sliding one).  Maybe I need to live without a phone in order to appreciate what I had when I had one.

Since Pearl seizes up every time the battery is in her, I took the battery out.  I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that I have put the battery in about 5 times today, just to see if she had a miraculous recovery.  Is that what faith looks like?  Checking up to see if Jesus has answered my prayer in the way I wanted?

I’m not sure if that’s how a faith-filled person should act.  Here is what I am sure about:

  • I shouldn’t be devastated when my nice, little smartphone stops working
  • There’s definitely something to be learned from this.
  • I will survive.  Maybe even thrive.

So, that’s Wednesday for you.  Trying to figure out how faith fits into technology crises.

How to get rid of a telemarketer.

I get it.  You’re all busy people with life to live.  You have better things to do than to listen to someone ask you for money, support for a political candidate, or for someone who doesn’t live at your house.  I’m sure you’d rather just have your friends and family call you.  Or people who want to give you money or support.

I get that. I’m the same way.

However, I’m also the person who frequently gets the short end of the stick in these matters.  Caller ID is a fabulous tool, but I implore you to not use it to figure out which numbers to pick-up/hang-up on. (If you aren’t familiar with the pick-up/hang-up tactic, then you’re going to have to go somewhere else to learn about it.  I’m not about to teach that.)

Sometimes I just want to say to people: I understand how much you don’t want me to call you.  I get that you aren’t really willing to have a chat with me right now.  But hanging up on me or just not picking up – even though we’ve called you ten times – is far from the right way to get rid of me.

It’s true.  For one thing, I’m a human being.  I’m just a human.  I’m a student who works this job partly because I like it a lot (minus the people who are less than kind) and partly because I needed a job.  That’s most people’s case: they’re just human beings who needed employment.  They’re doing their best.  Probably… So don’t hang up.  Even if hanging up on me did work to get rid of me, it would dampen my spirits a bit.

Plus, that’s just not a nice way to treat people.

I don’t know if this is consistent with other callers, but at my job, we have to keep calling until we get a hold of you.  For almost every segment, that means that we need a yes or no.  Picking up and hanging up won’t take you off of the call list.

Here’s a more appropriate response to a person that has a message that you aren’t interested in accepting:

Step 1: Friendly hello.  When they ask you how you are, respond and ASK THEM. Trust me, you’ll be in the minority of people.

Step 2: Listen.  Hear them out.  Don’t do the cut off thing.

Step 3: Politely decline.  Put some real regret in your voice.  Give a good reason why you don’t want to.  (make it true too.)

Step 4: Ask if they would mind taking you off of their call list (if you don’t want to be called again, that is).

Step 5: Wish them a nice evening and good luck with their other calls.

You will have been Jesus to that person, undoubtedly.  It would be even nicer of you to donate/do what they ask, but that’s not always possible or good.

I hope this is helpful.  It seems like the world at large needs to hear this message.

Technology challenge day.

Today hasn’t been the most productive of days, and I blame that on the fact that facebook has suspiciously been unavailable on the school wifi.  I think it’s a social experiment, personally.  I know that facebook is typically thought of as a distraction, but I think I get more done when I know what everyone is doing.

Just kidding.  I definitely don’t get anything more done.

The other thing to blame is that Pearl went insane this morning.  (Pearl is my phone, by the way.)  After a couple conversations with the Samsung people, I have learned that the only way to change things is to take her in to the AT&T store.

So, that’s how I’ll spend my Saturday night.  I won’t finish my annotated bibliography right now.  I’ll just set things aside and go downtown to the support place.

As difficult as dealing with tech support can be at times, I’m thankful that it exists.  Pearl has been vibrating and blank screening since 9am, which I suppose is kind of like a smart phone seizure.  Poor girl, she must be sick.

Yesterday I needed my own type of tech support.  I was malfunctioning.  I don’t believe I’ve talked about Street Ministry before, but it’s where we spend some time with our friends who are homeless.  We share a meal with them from 9:30 to 11:30 on Friday nights.  I really can’t think of a better way to spend my time, and I always leave feeling quite happy.

But yesterday after classes and yoga, I was just feeling so sleepy.  I’d forgotten that I really do enjoy spending time with my friends on the street.  I’d forgotten that there is such a blessing to be had in spending time with people that I don’t normally associate with – people that are typically on the fringe of society.  I leave feeling so full, something that I never feel after 10pm.

Jesus offers good tech support when I malfunction.  I’m thankful for that.

Targetting and attractions.

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when you are at Target and don’t expect the bathroom door to be quite so resilient against your push? So when the door doesn’t swing wide open like you expected it to, and it opens just barely wide enough for you to squeeze yourself through, you find yourself feeling as though anyone who can see you thinks your trying to be sneaky?  I had that experience today. Maybe I’m the only one who has ever been so unfortunate as to misjudge a door’s weight.
I was targetting a wider entry point, but instead I got a sliver of opening to slide through.
Oh, Target.
Today was a day of many small purchases. After my mom treated Brooke and me t
o spring break pedicures, we popped over to Tuesday Morning to just see what they had.
I wasn’t expecting to find anything super exciting. But I walked out if there with a shopping bag containing two Chinese-printed coffee mugs and a little jar of buttons.
I don’t even understand why I was so attracted to those things. Well, I sort if understand. The mugs had a similar print to some dishes that my grandma has in her house in Bartlesville, ones that I love using when I go visit her. The buttons? Well, I guess I thought there might be something creative I could do with them. So I followed my strong attraction to them and made the purchase.
Then, when I got home, Pinterest helped me to figure out what they would become. After it’s all finished I’ll post pictures.
Maybe this is just me, but my decision-making process when I’m shopping has a lot more to do with emotions and instinct (and price tag) than it has to do with logic.  If there’s a really strong attachment to something, I only use logic to rationalize the purchase or to dissuade myself from borrowing $309 from my mom for the beautiful dress I found. (Though that was a completely hypothetical example, I do tend to have expensive taste in clothes. But then again, I also have patience to look through clearance racks).
No, I usually go with my gut as long as my gut is being reasonable about price and as long as whatever the item is will fit in my room. And today, my gut said buttons. And Asian mugs.
I like that.
The spontaneity and small bit of happiness that comes from spending $7 on slightly frivolous yet also slightly useful items is just plain fun. Not that all of life needs to be fun or happy. But when it can come at such a small price, it’s nice.
I also get joy from smiling at people. Or when I see people I know in Target – and one of them tells me she likes reading my blog :). Or when I get a handwritten letter in the mail that isn’t a cleverly disguised piece of college mail.
So many thing to be thankful for.
Still working on coming up with a name for my phone.
The contenders thus far: Gwenyth, Dotty (because of her polka dot case), Twila, Zeke, Jeffery, and Newton.

Words I like.

Trying to remember how Photo Booth works…

Oh, right.  We just press the button in the middle.  This, folks, is my new phone.  He/She will be helping blog on-the-go (apparently mobiley isn’t a word) and helping me moderate comments faster!  Hooray!

He/She needs a name, however.  And I would like to request your help in naming him/her.  It’s just so boring to refer to it as “my phone.”  And I want him/her to be personalized, to have a gender, to be my friend.

Suggestions thus far: Gigi (since she’s a samsung galaxy s2 skyrocket), my mom suggested naming her after the female astronaut…. but then we couldn’t remember her name, Charles – after my favorite author

That’s all I’ve got so far.  Comment with your suggestions and why you think it fits!

I’ll leave that alone for now.

I was in church yesterday – twice, which makes me a super-Christian, obviously – and during the evening service, I kept hearing words that I liked.  Maybe you can relate to this, hearing a word and thinking ooooh, yes.  I like that one. Because of meaning or sound, or how people never use it.

Some of these words for me are:

authentic – because it means real, and because it makes me think of being in an antique shop or art gallery. (post coming on church  about that!)

submerged – because it gives me a picture of coming out of a swimming pool as kid.  Being completely soaked, dripping water all over everything while I looked for my towel.  Also, it brings back fond memories of vacations and summers spent at the community center pool without a care in the world.

intentional – because it indicates purpose

uncommon – because that’s what I want to be.

I particularly love the last one.  Every time someone uses it, I feel my heart pound a little harder, like I know it’s my calling to be uncommon.  The word common just has such negative connotations for me, thinking about things that are called common: houseflies, the flu, cold, man, wealth of the bahamas…  Other than the commonwealth of the bahamas, those are all pretty undesirable or negative things.  Uncommon connotes creativity and ingenuity and innovation.

I think I would like that to describe me.  Feel free to use it if it applies.