Thursday, August 26, 2010

Adventures on the BIG Wait: Or How to Turn 6.5 Hours into an iPhone 4

Easily recognizable by its logo. Even the STORE has no name on it.

OK. My last couple of posts have been kinda heavy. Sorry. Just to show you that I don't always wallow in my own self pity and because I am avoiding reading (or rather, re-reading) three chapters of a Research Methods text that I have been asked to review. (Yes, I do have a real job). They are paying me $150 to do this. I need this money. Especially after today.

As you may or may not recall, I drown my barely year-old iPhone 3GS in a flash hail storm somewhere past Field, BC on my way to Golden on Day 1 of the Golden Triangle. This is how I think it happened. I had been listening to the iPod from about Lake Louise on and I was enjoying the tunes even though the battery was nearly dead on my phone. (This is an important detail, not to go unnoticed).
And then it started to rain, so I decided to stop and put on my rain jacket. I madly stuffed my phone and my camera into the (theoretically) water proof side pocket of my panniers because they were both in my little top tube box for easy access while riding. Ultimately, I now believe they would suffered less damage to stay where they were. And then we ran for cover of the bushes as the hail pinged off our helmets and stung at any exposed bare skin like wasp bites. And then I thought it might be a good idea to take a picture because "the blog" needed a picture of the hail. So I took the picture quickly and as I slipped the camera back into the pocket I saw water run off the top of the pannier into the pocket and I betcha anything that water poured directly into the charger hole on the phone. I thought nothing of the phone not turning on when I got to Golden. I figured the battery was dead. So I plugged it in, and tried to turn it on and......... probably in that nano-second fried the electrical.

So, indirectly, I have this blog to blame for the death of my phone. Maybe it is time to sign up for ads to be placed on my blog so I can make some extra cash. Every penny counts, you know.

I'm addicted to my phone. I have several friends who make fun of me for this. I don't care. Gimme my phone. Dammit. It's been a couple of weeks of jitters and withdrawal symptoms. Ask my buddy George. I've been crying on his shoulder since I arrived back in town because I KNOW he understands my pain. He's even been the perfect co-dependent enabler (is that redundant?) calling the Apple store for me every day checking for shipments of iPhone 4s.... nothing. The damn things have been sold out everywhere since they first went on the market over a month ago. Last week, a guy at a store actually LAUGHED at me when I asked if they had any.

Till yesterday that is. My piece of crap loaner flip phone rings and there is George telling me that they got a shipment that they are going to start selling as of 0900 on Wednesday morning and I need to get down there early and expect a line-up.

But... I had the kids. This could be nasty. And I hate being one of those keeners that stand in line for things. It has been the rare in-demand object in my life that I've chased after. The Cabbage Patch Doll when I was 12 being the one exception. (And never being a doll kind of girl, this is a bizarre kind of exception, indeed). I don't think I even ever camped out for concert tickets which is like the right of passage of all coming-of-age-in-the-80s children.

The cutest ugliest things you've ever seen.

My daughter cut all the hair off that Cabbage Patch Doll when she was about 4. I was mad. I'm still mad.

And they were telling everyone who phoned, in advance, to come down for store opening. I figured this could be really really nasty (George was prepping me for a 3 hour wait). Or, on the contrary, over hyped and not too bad at all.

Given I had the kids I planned to get there just before 9. I figured, six of one half dozen of the other, if I'm gonna wait three hours anyway, I could get there at 7 and wait two hours with the store closed and an unmoving line and one hour with it open (there were bound to be nerds who got there at 6 or earlier). Or I could get there at 9 and wait the full 3 hours with the mall open and a moving line.

So I got there at about 8:45, went in the mall entrance closest to the Apple store (the one directly off Ness Ave.). I could see there was a line up that went straight out from the Apple doors itself and security guards were present. (Riot potential not withstanding). Not so bad.

Then I turned the corner.......... And walked... and walked and walked. Yeah it was nearly down to the centre court elevator. So I got at the back of the line and thought what the hell am I doing here. I haven't even had my coffee yet. There was a more "mature" gentleman who got there just before me and he immediately got on his cell and said to whoever he was talking to, "Yeah, there's like 300 people in line here. I'm not staying." (SMART alert.)

It would be one thing if you could just buy the phone and walk out of the store but, you have to activate it and connect it to your cell plan and..... that is a minimum 10 minute process per person. But I NEED my phone (the need and the want line has been significantly blurred here... I do know that). I immediately start chatting with the guy behind me. He and I are an oddity among the crowd in this line in that we are over 30. I tell him the story of my phone drowning. He says that I at least have a legitimate reason for being here for an upgrade. His reasons are purely selfish. 

Soon my line-up friend (his name, I find out, is Lee) has another friend show up. This friend turns out to be "the boss" and he has to be there as he has the signing authority over the phone contracts for the company he and Lee work for. And then a 3rd guy shows up who works for the company who is younger. Body builder type.

And this was my posse for the next 6 hours. The "boss" and the bodybuilder, Brian, came and went but Lee and I were in it for the long haul. (Plus the two munchkins... you know which ones. The ones that kinda look like me. Well one looks a lot like me, the other looks much like his father -- except for the eyes.).

It is amazing how you bond with people standing in line. Within about 10 minutes the "boss" announces he's going for coffee. Can you get me one too??? I pull out my wallet to dig for change.

Ah, it's just coffee. I'll get it. Lee says he takes lots of cream and lots of sugar. What do you take? asks the "boss."

Uh, lots of cream and lots of sugar.

The "boss" shakes his head. What are you, his mother?

Hey, I don't look that old. Geeze.... I must look like crap this morning. No shower. No coffee. Sunglasses on my bed-head hair. Two kids in tow (who are presently on a mall bench playing Nintendo DS may I add. Oh the WONDERS of the Nintendo DS). I look at Lee..... (I didn't know his name yet at this point). No, he is DEFINITELY, very close to the same age as me. The "boss" however, I would gauge to be a few years younger. But then again. I'm only 22 so, what would I know. But, on the bright side, within about 10 minutes I did get some guy to buy me coffee.

Security crunches the line into an accordion and it actually moves pretty quickly. Within about an hour we have moved forward three rows. This is not so bad. This could go good. I doubt that I was taking into consideration all the people who figured they got there and would be in and out by 9:30 and went, OH F$%^k... I gotta get to WORK.  Yeah, suckers! Get out of this line-up!

It doesn't take long for the competitive mob mentality to take over.

The line pretty much grinds to a slow halt after that opening quickness. George and I are texting back and forth and I'm updating him. My 3 line-up boys are laughing at my texting skills on the loaner archaic flip phone. Are you STILL writing that message? Hahahaha. Yeah, lemme guess, you guys work in IT, don't you? (Yeah). Damn, I picked up on that quick.

There were many other clues to their job status other than the texting comment. Half the people in the line here probably work in IT though. The "boss" points out that guessing that someone works in IT these days is like the equivalent of 100 years ago guessing that someone was a farmer.

True. True.

By the way, where is the beer cart during these events? I'm just saying, someone could be making a killing. Just what they need, a drunk bunch of iPhone, geeks on a rampage.

Global TV shows up. The reporter hones in on me and my kids. Of course. Notice I am not saying much about my kids. They are being complete Angels. Angels.  It is unbelievable. I am meant to be here today. I've had a bazillion compliments on how well behaved they are. For that, I thank, Nintendo DS, and my willingness to let go of the overprotectiveness. I did let them run the mall a bit. Go to a store and come back. Ride the escalator but only once each please. Don't get me in trouble, I don't want to get kicked out. Yes you can go to the bathroom. And then I stood there and fretted with Lee the whole time they were gone (he has twin 12 year old boys and a 6 year old daughter) as I was obviously subjecting my children to the risks of the mall bathroom molester. Parent of the year award, HERE I COME.

Anyways, back to Global TV. They were doing a segment on technology in the classrooms as part of their back to school season. Could they shoot some video of the kids playing their games? (Sure why not). The reporter comments on our family and the expense of technology, gesturing at me and the kids and Lee. Oh no, they are just mine. 

She says, Oh, I though you were all together. She's obviously been eyeing up her reporter prey for a while.

No, after 3 hours in line together you tend to bond a little.

The camera guy films the kids and she chats with me. She's asking questions like it is an interview. I talk. She's casually holding her microphone in her hand in my general direction. It is horizontal and she holds it like she's gathered up a bunch of her stuff and is just carrying it around waiting to put it to use. It isn't anywhere near my mouth but I can see she has a finger on a button on the device attached to the microphone by a cord. She is recording what I am saying and she hasn't even asked. My words immediately turn to idiotic blabber. She eventually does ask if she can put me on camera. I am not going on camera with my bed head and my unshowered self. I don't say this. I just say I don't want to be on camera. She asks if she can use my words; she's liked what I said... fine. I know they will pull some fragment of a sentence I've said and use it completely out of context. Whatever.

As an aside, and only because to tell the rest of this story fits here. There was a segment on Global news. Nolan was soooooooo excited about seeing himself on TV. Emma was indifferent. I probably wouldn't even have gone looking for the segment but he couldn't stop talking about it and every 5 minutes he was asking if it was 6:00 yet. Sigh. And he watched the entire news and probably some inappropriate death and dismemberment to boot and he finally calls to me: "They said something about the school division." So I stop what I am doing (which was probably writing some email) and I go out and look and the segment is about a minute and a half long and the first 5 seconds of it is a close up of Emma's face playing her DS and she is full of concentration. But NO Nolan. Nothing of him at all. He was crushed. He cried for an hour. I wanna cry just thinking about his poor little heart broken face. What is gonna happen the first time that boy gets rejected by some girl he likes? It is going to be hell in this house.

It took an hour to get through the first 3 rows of the line up and about 5 hours to get through the last 3 rows. There were moments when they took in one person in 45 minutes. There were 70 people ahead of me in line when George showed up at 11:30 for a lunch time visit. There were 30 people ahead of me in line at 2:00 and 10 people ahead of me at 3:00. I think I got taken at sometime just shortly after 3 p.m. They had a big enough shipment to do this all over again tomorrow.

As I said to Lee sometime around hour 4 of the big wait, waiting in line is kinda like marriage. At a certain point you just accept you are committed for the long haul no matter what the length is.

Yeah, I should have been so lucky as to be committed.

And it really does have that watermark screen as background when you first turn it on. It freaked me out a bit.

So I have a phone. Finally. It is lovely. The video and screen is crystal clear and miles ahead of the 3GS. George and I tested out the video calling which works great. It would work better if your "Angelic" kids weren't chasing each other and screaming in the background. Oh, well, after all things epic, at least somethings in life will return to normal.

I said goodbye to Lee and "the boss" as if I would see them tomorrow. It is funny how you connect with people like that under heroic circumstances. We suffered a trauma together. Lee and his family live about 5 blocks from me. Crazy. And the stupid thing is that I will probably never see him again even around the area.

And the kids got ice cream on the way home from the mall.  Very much earned.


RocketSurgeon said...

Having done this kind of thing several times myself (Apple Store Grand opening, iPad launch, iPhone 4), I sympathize and felt I had to be supportive! After all, I was your enabler. haha.

Tri-Guy said...

To each their own...
I would have done a half-iron in the time it took you to get your phone.... hmmmmmmm....... I am so not a phone guy. I like not being able to be reached.... but that's just me.

Lisa said...

I'll be certain to let my SO know that you are happily connected with your new phone. He will laugh and he will still try to take it from you when you next visit us..;0)))))

Kim said...

It was beyond a doubt the silliest thing I've done. 6.5 hours of my life I won't ever get back.
And Lisa, for C... I do give up my phone....otherwise how else could I fully enjoy his stunning company....
And George... you crazy.. but I love you anyway.