Friday, March 6, 2015

The tribulations of country life

I had to get a new phone a week or so ago. My phone stopped working quite suddenly, and in a rather peculiar way. It worked fine as a smart phone (I could check my email, look things up on google, etc., etc.) and I could call people and they could hear me, but I could not hear them.

This happened after I put my phone in my pocket early in the morning while I was out doing barn chores. (I'll tell you all about that another day.) I put the phone in my right hand barn coat pocket; it didn't want to slide in, so I gave it a shove, and it went in. Ten minutes later, I wanted to look at the weather to see whether I could safely take the horses' turnouts off them (I couldn't. Who are we kidding? It hasn't been above 15 degrees in months) and when I pulled my phone out it was covered in egg. Half-frozen egg.

Apparently I had picked up a frozen egg from the hen house the night before when I went to shut the hens up after evening barn chores, hung the coat in the entryway and forgotten all about the egg. I wiped the egg off the phone, and pressed the home button.

"The audio jack you are attempting to use is incompatible with this device. Please remove it and try another jack."

Yeah. Egg white, even half-frozen, makes a lousy audio jack. So when I got home from the the barn I tried clearing out the audio jack what-ever-you-call-it (port, that's it) with various implements and eventually I stopped getting the incompatible dialog box. So I assumed it was healed. But when someone tried to call me, I could hear them, but they could not hear me. I could make calls, but the ring was inaudible and when the callee picked up they could hear me, but I could not hear them. I tried plugging in a pair of headphones. No improvement. In an inspired moment I tried putting the phone into speaker mode: Success! But then I was permanantly in speakerphone mode. Not really how I want to make my phone calls.

I went down to Verizon and said, "My phone is not working. I think maybe there is something wrong with the audio port." They look in with their iPhone flashlight and see nothing. (Egg white is pretty inobtrusive, after all.) I explain about how it works on speakerphone but no other way. They run some diagnostics and agree: your phone is borked. We don't know why. You should replace it.

As it happened, I was only three weeks short of an official upgrade, so I called corporate headquarters and pleaded my case and was given permission to purchase a new iPhone. (Which, by the way, I love. Way better than my old one. Even Siri is less like a bad secretary and more like an actual useful cyborg being.) So, I have a new phone.

I didn't bother to wash my barn coat -- I just dumped the squashed egg and egg shell out of it and carried on. I'll wash it in May. Or maybe I'll just burn it.

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