“What the hell was that? Was it an animal?”
“No, it was flat. It’s on the highway (Squint. Drive. End of pause). Where’s your phone?”
And that changed our Sunday.
The thing about having kids is that one has to be prepared for anything, because you are no longer as together as you once were. When a diaper has to be changed on the side of the road, the cellphone might go on the roof for a second. And it might stay there for a while after you drive off until it finally slides into oblivion.
On busy Highway 99 south of Sacramento, we knew it was a goner. But maybe it got kicked off to the side and we could retrieve it to make sure no nefarious highway wanderer could pick it up and steal our photos or other stuff stored on that thing. A fool’s errand for sure since it was nowhere to be found.
“Could it have been obliterated?”
And we were those people on the side of the road with one person wandering about looking down. Did people think we got in a fight? Was this dangerous? Was this to be the beginning of a very tragic news story?
Time to move on.
Can we get to the San Mateo Sprint store by 6? No. Was there a Sprint store nearby? Yes, in Tracy. At least there was a surviving cellphone in the car (not used by the driver, of course). Man Tracy is weird. And there is no Sprint store where this handy map app said there would be one. Maybe Livermore? Or Pleasanton? Back on 205.
From the highway we could see a Big Box development. There’s an AT&T store, a gold buying store and there it was, a Sprint store. Bingo.
And inside it with an hour before closing. “Welcome to Sprint, we will be right with you.” Two workers helping two people. I could hear the hold music in my mind. Twenty minutes later, we were up.
“Our phone is on Highway 99. We need a new one. Do you have an iPhone 5S with 32 gigabites?” (I actually said megabites).
After the initial surprise, then realization that we were indeed serious that our phone was on the highway, there was our explanation of how that happened and that we did, indeed, really need a new phone.
“We don’t have a 5S with 32, but we have a 5C with 32. It’s blue. Will that work?”
I want to say that I said something like, “Yes, fetch me the device,” but there was more questions about the differences, did we really need 32 and if the color blue was good.
I know there is no kill-switch on these phones and that legislation to enact such requirements on the devices to stave theft was killed in committee last week but I still wanted to see if we could let the Sprint people know that the phone was to be disabled somehow which I had to do by using the phone in the store. After revealing a personal fact (not telling) I was told that the Sprint people did something to alleviate my concern about the nefarious highway wanderer but I’m not sure what exactly that was. Toward the end of the conversation I was told I was eligible for a free Samsung tablet and asked if I would be interested in something like that. I wanted to say something like, “Our phone slid from the top of the car onto the highway because we had to change our daughter’s diaper on the side of the road and now we are in Tracy to replace it with just minutes to spare now before these two workers will start shooing us out the door so they can go home. Is this really the time for me to explore adding another technological device to our home and what type of data plan we might want?” Instead, I said, No, thank you.”
And with a new fancy waterproof case and a $300 charge later (happy birthday), we were off and running. Back on the road and fully armed.
Jon Mays is the editor in chief of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Jon on Twitter @jonmays.