Last night I went into Verizon (store, not arena) with the intention of getting my Treo fixed. The camera had never really worked properly on it, the whole phone was turning itself off constantly, and the connection for the charger was loose. But in the controlled melée that was the Verizon store at 5:30 on a weekday (seriously, you’ve never seen so many incredibly irritated 27-year-old white chicks trying to figure out what Jesus would do if confronted with such incompetence delaying His arrival at yogalates class) I found myself having to make a split-second decision. The tech support people told me the whole phone was pretty much shot so they’d just give me a new one for free since I’d been paying the extra five clams a month for insurance. But the only thing they could transfer to a new phone was my contacts list. I’d lose everything else.
More than two years of text messages, pictures, and videos I’d been saving for one reason or another would be gone. I’d lose the clip of my 2-year-old niece relaying her extemporaneous story about the ant crossing the river (“How did he get across the river?” I’d asked, compelling her to look into the cell camera lens like I was a blithering idiot and respond, “On the spider’s back.” If she hadn’t been taught that saying, “Duhhh” to an adult was rude, she would have surely added that.) I’d lose the voice memo of my fiancé singing “Juke Box Hero” to me in the truck one afternoon, his wailing almost totally obscured by my peals of laughter. I’d lose the photograph of soybean fields stretching alongside Highway 13 outside of Bethel, North Carolina, on a relentlessly beautiful day endcapping a roadtrip a couple summers ago. I’d lose all the “Congratulations!” text messages sent on September 1, 2007.
With the Junior League impatiently tapping its Tory Burch flats behind me I blurted out: “Fine. I don’t need the rest of it I guess.” And just like that, I had a new, empty Treo in my hands. Suddenly, I was 9-years-old again, informing the hairstylist that I wanted her to cut off my 16 inches of red curly hair and give me a just-below-the ears ‘do. I was lighter. Unencumbered. And a little freaked out to have said goodbye.