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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Uh-oh, I Wet My Cellphone

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 3/21/2023
Posted: 10/17/2010
Page Views: 5161
Topics: #Cellphone
Blog Entry posted October 17, 2010, in which I have another cellphone misadventure.

I do not have a long history of bad luck with cellphones. In fact, they've done pretty well for me. But two weeks ago, one of Zach's friends swiped mine; I got it back, but yesterday I fell into the pool with it. So either my luck has changed for the worse, or it was really time to get a new phone.

There's no reason for this to have happened. I was in my "uniform" (shorts and sleeveless T-shirt) doing a few household chores—dishes, laundry—and thought I'd check the pool, since there was a severe dust storm Friday night. Sure enough, there were leaves and flowers in two layers: One, floating on the water; the other, resting on the bottom. So I turned on the pump (it's on a timer, normally runs from about 6 pm to midnight) and scooped up as many leaves as I could with the skimmer. Then I noticed that the automatic pool vacuum's hose was kind of tangled up. So I decided to untangle it.

I sat on the end of one of the chaise lounges Michael had gotten from Wal-Mart, and which I had assembled. I leaned forward to grab the tangled hose, and the legs on the lounge completely crumpled. Next thing I knew, I was in the water.

With my sandals, my shorts, my cellphone, my flash drive, my keys.

I got the electronics out of my pocket as quickly as I could and placed them at the side of the pool. Surely they hadn't been wet more than ten or fifteen seconds.

I got out of the pool and grabbed a towel (we keep dry towels on a rack there), got the worst of the water off me, then opened the phone and dabbed, pulling out the battery. The little moisture-sensitive sticker on the battery was already red, showing the device had been damaged. And there was already water between the plastic cover and the LCD panel.

I looked up "how to rescue wet cellphone" on Google. Several people recommended a blow drier; but others who claimed to work for cellphone companies warned that a blow drier could cause even more damage to the phone. Others recommended putting the phone in a Ziplock bag full of uncooked rice for 24 hours; the dried rice is supposed to suck the water out of the device. But we didn't happen to have any uncooked rice in the house (I had cooked the last of it two days earlier).

Several people suggested I get a "Cellphone Rescue Kit", though most added it should be purchased in advance of need, since the minutes it would take to run to a store and buy one could be crucial.

But, in lieu of rice or rescue kit, the consensus seemed to be to soak the phone in an alcohol bath. The alcohol would displace the water, and then dries relatively easily.

However, we didn't have any alcohol in the house either!

So I jumped into the car and headed for the CVS on the corner.

I ran in, where the manager was standing by the door, practically waiting for me. I was about to ask what row the rubbing alcohol was on, when I had a second thought. "I know the odds are against it," I hedged, "but do you by any chance have a Cellphone Rescue Kit?"

The manager shook his head sadly. "Sorry," he said. "I wish I did."

My shoulders slumped. "Okay," I acknowledged. "Where's the alcohol?"

"Aisle 7," he replied. I went to aisle 7, and was somewhat startled to see bottle after bottle of wine, scotch, rum, and vodka.

"No," I called. "Rubbing alcohol!"

So I got the stuff home, and did the soaking and then the drying.

After driving to the drug store and back, I realized I was not wearing my glasses, and that they had probably fallen off when I tumbled into the pool. However, I couldn't see them from outside the pool. I asked Michael to help hunt for them, and he said he would, but didn't actually get out of his chair. So I put on some underwater goggles and went hunting for them myself. I surprised at how much cooler the pool water felt when I entered the usual way, compared to falling in. I had to search the entire bottom of the pool, before finally spotting them, lens-down and temples pointing up like two antennae.

So I then set out to live an afternoon and evening without my phone, which was pretty much like spending a few hours without my legs.

Today I tried re-inserting the battery and powering up. The phone vibrated momentarily, as it does when turning on, but there was nothing on the screen. The phone itself might or might not be working; but with a dead screen I would never be able to use it.

So…off to T-Mobile. The woman there asked if I had insurance. I had no idea, so she looked it up. I did not.

Now, I do not like extended warranties. But insurance is different. This phone was expensive, and the insurance is only $6 a month. It seems to me, if anyone had asked, I'd have gotten it.

But, whatever. I got a replacement phone, with the insurance, and it turns out it's a small upgrade to the one I had. This one has a direct headphone jack, which is nice—one of the things I use my phone for, is as an MP3 player while I'm working out at the gym; and I'd lost the special cable for that a few months ago.

Also, the back cover of my old phone was loose and was always falling off. This cover is more snug.

So, except that I have to remember what apps I had, find them, and re-download them, I am now back where I was…before I started cleaning the pool.