i’m not the sharpest tool in the shed
August 7, 2008
I really shouldn’t be trusted with electronics. I can be a bit absentminded at times, and things get misplaced, lost, even shattered. You know how you tell kids they need to pay for their own stuff so that they’ll “value” it more, and take care of it? Someone should be saying that to me. Being on the corporate dime, you lose your edge.
When I worked for a small magazine publisher based in Palo Alto, I used to commute there about once a month for a few days. They issued me a Blackberry, which I LOVED. Until one day at church, it was in my suit coat pocket (those pockets should be sewn shut! Why aren’t they sewn shut?), and I swung around to talk to someone, and the screen of the Blackberry smashed into the corner of a desk at just the right angle, and crunch! My connectivity was suddenly not so connected. The IT guys graciously overlooked my accident because I didn’t come up with some crap excuse about being mugged, I just told them I spazzed.
And the next time I flew to Palo Alto, I left my new Blackberry in the taxi from the airport. I got that one back, I just had to make about 50 phone calls, and pay the taxi driver an entire extra fare from SFO out to Palo Alto and back. Well, when I say “I had to pay . . .” I really mean I expensed it, of course.
Right after I started with a new company in Salt Lake, I left my new phone in my pants pocket and when I couldn’t find it, Kim and I called it from the house phone. A plaintive little squeaking could be heard from the laundry pile. The CLEAN laundry pile. But since I was in charge at that company, I just told my guy to go get me a new one. The elite have their privileges.
About two months later, sporting my shiny new replacement phone, Kim and I took the family to Vegas for Maddy’s soccer tournament. During an off day, we went out to Hoover Dam for some sightseeing, and stopped at Wendy’s on the way back. When we got back to The Strip to do some rollercoaster riding and such, my phone was missing. Using skills gleaned from watching CSI: Miami, we determined that I had thrown it away with the rest of the garbage at Wendys, a 45 minute drive away. Not really expecting to find anything, we grudgingly made the drive anyway. We pulled into the same parking spot we had occupied before, and I got out while Kim called my phone with her phone. The big stone trash can sounded a happy ringtone from the bottom of the barrel, though muffled with a bit of mustard.
Six months later I was the proud owner of a recently released iPhone. One week later I had dropped it and shattered the shatter-proof glass face. Last month, my shiny purple phone stopped working altogether. Turns out you’re not supposed to use them in the shower.
It’s not just electronics and phones I guess. When I was on study abroad, living in Vienna for six months, I left my passport and Eurail pass in their special “anti-theft” holder, on the train I had just gotten off at the French/German border. That took me about 4 hours of fast talking, riding the train back and forth over the border illegally, and begging a German border agent to take pity on a stupid American student. Which he eventually did.
But I think the dumbest (most expensive) thing I did didn’t even involve losing something. During my stint with that Palo Alto company, I booked a flight to Orlando for Tech Ed, some Microsoft computer conference. I booked it well in advance, to save on all the last minute price increases. Except, about two days before departure, Elden reminded me that the conference was in Atlanta, not Orlando. Whoops. No big deal to call travel agent, have her change it (for the low low price of about $2,000), and book me last minute to Atlanta.
I wish I’d remembered to change my hotel from Orlando to Atlanta too. Showing up at Elden’s hotel with my suitcase was a bit awkward.