My phone has gotten to the point where it’s starving by mid-afternoon. I charge it every night; but its battery has gotten wimpy with age. (Not like me!)
Apple doesn’t build a battery door into their phones; they’d rather you buy a new phone. But I found a shop that will put a new battery in your Apple phone, voiding your warranty and phone insurance while you wait.
I made an appointment on the shop’s website, and plotted a trip to the shop with Google Maps. An hour later, I walked in the door. I saw a lot of car batteries and I guess other manly stuff for cars. I walked over to the glass counter. Anthony stood on the other side, muscular, lavishly tattooed arms crossed on his black uniform shirt.
“Hi, I have a 4:30 appointment to put a new battery in my iPhone,” I said.
He stooped and peered into his computer; asked me my name; and turned to his assistant. “Jason, when a confirmed appointment comes in, you need to print it and put the printout with the merchandise. Now I’ve got to do this job, and there’s nobody here to mind the store but me, and you.”
“I could come back another time,” I offered.
“There’s no problem. I’m just communicating with my employee,” he assured me. He ran some tests on my phone and had me sign a waiver. “I’ll need 45 minutes. Do you have another contact number?”
“I only have the one cell phone.”
“Oh. Well, come back after five, and it should be ready.” Jason had disappeared into the back of the store; he started doing something that made a rhythmic whapping noise. “JASON, I need you to stop doing that about 30 seconds ago,” Anthony commanded. “It sounds like you’re shooting somebody.”
I didn’t want to sit on a car battery display, so I left. Maybe there was a park nearby where I could text Pat and look at Facebook. Wrong! I’d search on Google Maps for nearby parks. Or not! I walked up to Northgate Mall. I’d hang out there until five and head back.
I entered the mall next to an Azteca Mexican Restaurant and started looking for a clock. There was a time when towns were proud of their public clocks. Even in the 16th century when clocks only had hour hands, a public clock was borne aloft by the tower of every cathedral and city hall. And I remember, as a child, large clocks gracing the walls and halls of public spaces. Seattle had ornate four-sided clocks on pedestals on downtown street corners. I remember the streamlined glassless clock over the elevators in the pillared main floor of Fredrick And Nelson’s sweeping away tardiness and disorder with its giant second-hand.
But now I walked the length and breadth of Northgate Mall without finding a single clock. I peered into some jewelry stores, but all I could see inside was jewelry. I went into Macy’s, the inheritor of Fredrick And Nelson’s legacy of quality and service, and looked around; no clock. I didn’t want to pester people for the time every few minutes. I own a watch, but I hadn’t thought to wear it; I just look at my phone for the time.
Finally I found a T-Mobile booth in the central hall that had some demo phones on display. When I woke up the first one it showed an obviously wrong time, 11:24 PM; maybe it was set to a different time zone. But I found two others that agreed on the same apparently current time. I looked at badly-made shoes in Payless for a while and went back to the phones. 4:55; close enough.
Back in the battery store, Jason was in command of the glass counter (Anthony was eating his dinner). He tested my phone competently and we completed our transaction. I stepped out and googled a route home; a 41 express was going to pull up across the street in five minutes. While I waited, I texted Pat that I was on my way, and checked my mail.
I got on the bus and looked around at the other passengers. It’s a little game I play; how many of the people whose hands I can see are using phones? Tonight I could see six people’s hands. Five of them were holding phones. The last one was holding a phone in one hand and an e-book reader in the other. What a bunch of zombies!