I didn’t realize that all my friends live in my phone, until my phone died. My iPhone lies there, the black screen revealing a lifeless life line, and at first I looked at it like, everyone I know just died too. Then I had the uncomfortable realization that I may be sick in the head, because I didn’t panic, or immediately leave the house in a sprint to the nearest Verizon Wireless store. No, I just stood there looking at my dead phone and I thought: they can all be dead for a week or so….and then I looked at myself in the mirror- is that something a serial killer would think? My face began transforming into Jodie Arias and I knew who I needed to consult.
“Just leave it dead! So people can’t message you all day long? Re-enter life! Talk to people who are standing right in front of you!” My dad was resting and watching golf on television. “Ok.. but, people could be sending me messages and I’m not responding,” I told him, my eyes spinning around in circles like a cartoon. “So what? Your real friends will find a way to get a hold of you.” I thought about this, “But how?” In Ancient China, soldiers stationed along the Great Wall would alert each other of impending enemy attack by signaling from tower to tower using smoke signals. I’m sure it only took a few hours. I could go in the backyard and burn the apricot tree down, but I’m not sure if my friend Elle would be able to see the black billowing smoke in Hollywood, let alone know it was me saying hey Elle, what’s up? “No, I don’t think you should burn down the apricot tree, that’s not at all what I’m talking about,” my dad said, and I could tell he was done chatting and just wanted me to fill up his empty glass with red Powerade and leave him to heal.
There is always email, but without my phone I just wander around unplugged from any sort of Wi-Fi connection. For example, if I’m driving in my car without a phone, I am unreachable, unable to get incoming messages. I drive around now and just feel anxious, where is everybody, I’m all alone. I could surrender living my life and sit at my computer all day long, sending out emails or writing Facebook messages to friends who I would usually text- I kind of like Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball song, I don’t care anymore that she’s naked and swinging from a chain in the music video. But in an email, short messages like that just look unnecessary. Email is not for that, email is for sending funny YouTube videos and resumes- not to the same people of course. I could write an email in a letter form but that requires a lot of effort and who has that kind of time. Sending snail mail is out of the question because that takes days and paper and pens are school supplies that only school children learning how to write their name in cursive are in possession of.
I was eyeing a tiny, unidentifiable bird who was hanging around in my mom’s garden and I had the idea of catching and training it to send my Miley Cyrus wrecking ball message in a tiny scroll that it would carry in its claws to my friend Alis in Hawaii, but that could take the rest of my life to accomplish. Alis would be ninety years old, wobbling around her house with a cane and a tired, beaten down looking bird would land on her balcony and die, a tiny piece of crumpled weathered paper falling from its rigamortis claw, the ink all smudged, the only legible word being Miley.
It’s obvious I have two options- I can either get a new phone and continue staying connected like Tom Riddle in Harry Potter, or I can burn down the apricot tree in my parent’s backyard and hope that it carries all the way to Downtown LA and my friend Connor knows the smoke is me, letting him know that I’m interviewing for jobs in Santa Barbara.