It was one of those moments where life goes into slow-mo.
I was outside by the pool, partaking in one of my evening cleaning sessions. I find evening the best time to clean the pool, as I have yet to have anyone do a surprise cannonball at 11:00 at night.
My normal routine is to throw in my earbuds and either turn on a podcast or fire up a favorite Pandora radio station. (Discovering that Pandora had a comedy station a short while back was an enlightening experience. It must be similar to the feeling early man felt when he discovered he could hold his meat over fire.)
Anywho, this particular evening I was scrubbing down the deep end, cheerfully enjoying my evening solitude. My phone was where it often sits, nestled snugly in my Bama sweatshirt pocket. I took a step to my left and felt a tug at my ear. I glanced down and saw my phone had come out of my pocket and was heading toward the cement, yanking an earbud down with it.
The phone pulled free of the earbuds and went into free fall. It hit the concrete on its end and bounced once, thus demonstrating the tremendous bounciness of an Otterbox. It then made a beautiful Greg Louganis-style dive right into the deep end of the pool.
Cue the slow-mo.
I dropped to my belly as fast as I could. It seemed like I was just floating to the ground. (I’d like to think I was shouting, “NOOOOOOOOO!!!!” as this happened, but I have a sneaking suspicion I was shouting a different word.) I saw the phone floating toward the bottom, spinning end over end as it dropped deeper. When I hit the ground, I thrust my arm deep in the water, clutching the phone just as I went shoulder deep into the water.
I pulled it out immediately and was pleased to see that it was still working. I yanked the cover off and noticed that it actually seemed rather dry.
I breathed a sigh of relief, took off my rather soaked sweatshirt, and decided to call it a night and not tempt fate any more.
As I was heading to bed, I checked my phone one more time. It was still working, but it starting to randomly adjust the volume setting. I knew this was not a good thing. But I just figured the best thing to do would be to treat this like a medical concern: Ignore it and hope it goes away overnight.
And this is why you should never take my medical advice. I woke up the next morning to find my phone dead. I couldn’t get it to even consider turning on. I knew the first piece of advice everyone would give me would be to put it in a bag of rice, which I did, for about two days. That did nothing, except waste a box of rice. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure the rice actually does anything other than make you feel better. I’d be interested in a controlled experiment where some soaked phones were put in rice and others were just left out in the air. My hypothesis: rice is a placebo. But I mainly base that on the fact that it didn’t work for me, so I therefore resent it.
During my no-phone time, I did find it somewhat liberating not to be constantly tethered to an all-purpose anytime information device. For about 10 minutes. Then I stole my daughter’s phone because, let’s face it, when you’re sitting in line at the drive-through, a little Facebook can pass the time.
I eventually had to get a replacement phone, but I was able to restore all of my old settings, thanks to chronically backing up the phone. For what it’s worth, here are a few questions you needn’t ask me:
Why didn’t you turn it off for the night after it fell in the pool?
Why do you take your phone out to the pool?
Did you have phone insurance?
The answers for the remaining six people who have not asked me those questions, are “I have no idea,” “because I wanted to” and “yes, but it just seemed fun to shell out $150 for a new one.”
Fortunately, I came out of the entire thing with just a lighter wallet. I learned my lesson – secure your phone when you’re cleaning the pool. I’m just glad I have my phone back. And so is my daughter.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.