I had a bad Apple week. You see, my iPhone died in the rain like Eponine in Les Miserables. Unlike Eponine, it was in my pocket at the time and was actually killed by the rain rather than King Louis XVI’s goons. It also didn’t sing a song as beautiful as a summer day is long while it died. It just died. Anyway, what follows is a blow-by-blow recap of my ordeal:
Day 0, 8:14pm – I depart my friend Kevin’s house after recording three amazing podcasts on my phone. One of them was about the film Jaws, impeccably timed for Shark Week. “All I have to do is keep this phone safe for the bike ride across DC and then we’ll have three more weeks of wonderful and exciting entertainment for the masses!” I think to myself gleefully. I find my way over to a Capital Bikeshare location and cha-ching my bike off the lot.
Day 0, 8:21pm – It starts to fucking downpour — no no, I mean fucking downpour. I’ve never biked through such torrential rain. I’m on the phone with my buddy, Scott, and I comment, “Hey Scott, how about this awesome iPhone?! My pocket is soaking wet but the phone is working like a champion. I’m very impressed! Scott? Scott?!!”
Day 0, 8:37pm – I hurry into my apartment, slamming the door behind me. I rush to a towel and place my phone within it like Indiana Jones rushing to give his fatally shot Sean Connery father a quick drink of water from the Holy Grail. Unlike the Last Crusade, this doesn’t work.
Day 0, 8:54pm – I put the phone in rice hoping the Internet is correct in saying that after three days it will rise, like Jesus or those stupid Pillsbury biscuits I can’t stand. A church bell rings somewhere in the distance.
Day 3, 8:54pm – I remove the phone from the rice and charge it for a few minutes. I get a red screen of death. I think about Jaws and Shark Week as I humph and weep.
Day 4, 3:45pm (this is when shit gets real) – I enter an Apple store to see if the so-called “Genius Bar” staff can help me. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I guess I assumed I’d probably have to wait a few minutes but perhaps I’d get lucky and see someone who knows how their products work right away. My wife is waiting in the car with our one-month-old daughter, after all, so if it was anything other than a 5-minute wait I’ll have to come back another time.
The young woman managing the intake tells me that there will be a 20-minute wait to see a “genius”. “Rats!” I say. “Can I make an appointment for tomorrow?” “No,” she replies, “because, although the tablet in my hand was designed by geniuses and we’re the most profitable corporation in history, for some inexplicable reason that you wouldn’t understand it is impossible for me to make you an appointment for 24 hours from now. Maybe someday our technology will improve and that will be possible, like flying cars, but for now just walk back in tomorrow and you might have to wait 10-20 minutes but then a genius will solve your problem.” I might be taking a little artistic license. I don’t remember her precise wording.
Day 5, 3:45pm – I enter the Apple store again and speak with now the young man managing the intake. I tell him my situation and he informs me that the wait will be 90 minutes. “Whoa!” I exclaim. “I was told it’d be 10-20 minutes.” “Well, it’s 90 minutes”. He’s a dick, folks. That’s right: a dick. We get into a little bit of a heated exchange, to be perfectly honest. It’s not worth going into full detail but suffice it to say that I can’t go back to the Apple store in Georgetown until that little prick’s summer vacation is over and he has to go back to school. I depart angry and hopeless.
Day 5, 6:00pm – I go online to schedule a meeting with a “genius” (because you can schedule them online). There’s a 2-day minimum wait for online booking, so I schedule an appoint for Day 7 at 1:30pm in Pentagon City, but figure that I’ll try walking in on Day 6 just in case. I mean, how long could the wait be? I’m ready for anything! Well, almost anything.
Day 6, 1:01pm – I get in my car to drive to the Pentagon City Apple store.
Day 6, 1:13pm – Driving over the 395 bridge leaving DC, I start having a panic attack about the whole ordeal but I breathe through it using a technique I learned at an Adams Morgan Buddhist meditation class last month. (Incidentally, that same technique helps me get through some of my stand-up comedy open mics.)
Day 6, 1:19pm – I have another panic attack as I enter the parking garage. I breathe through it again. That class was $10 well spent.
Day 6, a few minutes later (see cause I don’t have a working phone, I don’t wear a watch and I’m no longer in my car, so I have no idea what time it is) – I wander aimlessly around an outdoor mall near the fucking Pentagon, which seems oddly appropriate, and I have no idea where exactly on this sprawling campus of futuristic obnoxiousness — you know, the kind we killed off the Native Americans so we could have — the Apple store resides (see cause my phone broke in the rain, as we discussed, so I have no GPS or other modern tools — it was like being stuck in 1995 but with a far worse economy and a broken national infrastructure). I ask a chipper young clothing store employee for directions and he has no idea what the fuck he’s talking about but he accidentally gave me enough ideas that I was able to find the mall where the Apple store takes up space.
Day 6, a few minutes later – I enter a fucking mall.
Day 6, about 20 minutes later – I leave an Apple store unsatisfied for the third time this week. This time it wasn’t because they were booked for 20 or even 90 minutes. This time they were booked for the rest of the day. You’ve gotta be kidding me! Fuck Buddhism, someone needs to pay for this horse shit!
Day 6, about 9 minutes later – I panic in my parked car and punch the roof 14 times. I have some issues to work out. It’s not all Apple’s fault, but damn it if they didn’t instigate this one.
Day 7, 1:26pm – I enter the Apple store to keep my appointment with a “genius”. After waiting 20 minutes, I meet with a perfectly knowledgable person (but genius?). She takes my phone into the back of the store and doesn’t let me follow her. It was like when they took my dying dog away from me. I never got to say goodbye. “Goodbye, Mikey! Goodbye!!!” Unlike at the vet that dark day, she comes back with a brand new phone, for free. Holy shit! “Is my podcast about Jaws on this phone?” “Sorry,” she says. “It drowned.”
Then I tell her I’m in a rush and need food on the go: “Where’s the nearest Chipotle?” She replies, “The Chipotle in the mall isn’t very good” — funny how some Chipotle locations just aren’t that good — “but the Nordstrom cafe is great”. She recommends the Cilantro Chicken Lime Salad. I make my way up there, powering up my new phone and finally smiling after an experience at an Apple store.
Feeling rushed as I place my order, my thoughts are caught on my daughter and wife back home, struggling to get along without me while I try repeatedly to deal with modern technology and its inability to handle water (the most basic chemical compound). I’m eager to grab my bag of food and run when the clerk informs me: “Sir, your Cilantro Chicken Lime Salad will be ready… in 20 minutes.”