Being a klutz, I'm rather proud I didn't destroy my iPhone during the massive clean up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I kept it tucked in my pocket just in case I maim myself hauling 60 to 150 foot–long tree limbs uphill 1/2 an acre to the road while dodging upright trees where the branches invariably got entangled.
After receiving the heads up from the tree people who refuse to walk down my property to remove the branches and cut logs, I had no alternative, but to do most of the heavy work myself. It took a few days dragging branches and heaving them on top of the growing mountainous pile. All the while, I felt that tearing pain in my heart, something my cardiologist insists is a torn cartilage. My heart's strong as an ox. It has to be for the manual labor I do to keep my place together. Perhaps that's why my heart's so strong. The rest of me, well, meh.
Up at the road, I yanked too hard on a limb heavier than me and slipped and fell backwards on top of a small log. In the process, another thick branch tumbled, pinning me down. Winded, I looked up to see a woman from my hood walking towards me. In relief, I thought, Good, Help! Instead, she watched me flail to remove the branch and then stepped over me. When I caught my breath, I yelled, "You're the fucking milk of human kindness."
She laughed and continued her merry way.
Now you know why I hate my fucking neighbors.
During my clean up, several others slowed their cars to watch me. Even the neighborhood rescue leaf patrol that came out in full force days after the storm to blow leaves from the manicured lawns for the high net worth surrounding me stopped to watch me work. My place is a disaster area; only one other in the entire neighborhood sustained damage. At any rate, that incident was a signal to stop before I kill myself, knowing people would watch and do shit. I'm a miserable neighbor: my cottage keeps market values low and I don't retain landscape services. C'mon, this is a rural country area, not Fairlawn, New Jersey!!
There remains a huge 100' branch I gotta drag to the road. Then will have to start with the huge logs from when a guy cut half the tree from the storage shed. I don't know how I'm gonna hoist these things on top of the 20' mountain, but I'll try. If I didn't have a hernia before, pretty soon I shall.
Still and all, my iPhone remained intact through that accident and other near misses. Only my buttocks, back, arms and wrists are bruised. Just the other day, I left the house and tripped over a limb extending from the remnants of the tree currently morphing into an alien life form atop my storage shed. At least it's embedded deep into the roof and structure. I'm no longer worried that it'll roll into the adjoining utility shed which houses my electricity, well pump, water heater and propane tank. That'll be one giant KABOOM.
Which is how my iPhone fell and the entire glass face shattered.
Shit. Once again I felt isolated. To recap: when the tree fell on the storage shed, trapping me from the road, downed power lines flanking my property that made it impossible for me to walk anywhere and felled trees that continued to break which made it impossible for me to cut through the woods, I needed that phone. Oh, I failed to mention — when this happened, my iPhone was dead as a doornail because I couldn't charge it as the broken and uprooted trees brought the power lines down with them. It didn't matter — I didn't have phone service until a week later. And intermittent at best still.
An hour later, after I recuperated from my shit fit, I phoned Apple who said, "You didn't purchase the super duper insurance? Well, you can get an iPhone 5 for only $199."
That made me pause. Given my track record with Apple devices, it wasn't the first accident. During spring, I capsized in the kayak with my iPhone firmly in place in the water–resistant life vest pocket. Guess what, it wasn't water–resistant. At least that was insured. It cost $79 to replace. Since then, the insurance ran out. Now I must prioritize and don't want to throw out money I might need for, say, propane gas to heat the cottage during winter. With me, the probability of another strange iPhone accident is likely to occur so I need to conserve money.
I called AT&T, my carrier who informed me, "You can get your iPhone 4 with 32 gigabytes replaced for $149."
"One hundred forty nine dollars?" I screeched. "The product's obsolete!"
"The iPhone 4 16 gigabytes goes for $100. For a mere $199, you can get an iPhone 5 16 gigabytes and for $299 32 gigabytes."
Upset, I phoned my friend later on for advice. Laslo's my walking encyclopedia. That's because he loves reading all sorts of stuff online. Anything pertaining to Apple products, he's my man.
"They're giving away iPhone 4s for free at AT&T, your carrier," he advised.
"Why didn't they tell me?"
"You didn't ask."
I continued to play that evening with the iPhone for FB, twitter and email because I won't have internet until Thanksgiving. For some reason, everyone in my community has internet back up except me. I wonder whether it has anything to do with being a pest at the corporate office when charged for services I never had or wanted. Or proving a point even earlier than that.
Seven years ago, I closed my cable tv account with Time-Warner Cable out of a snit fit. I had everything: Showtime, HBO, all the channels and then some. All I saw were pixels. According to Time-Warner Cable, "You're the ONLY ONE who has this problem."
Malarky. Back then, I was President of my co-op and I knew first hand that 55 apartments had that problem. Yet, those schmucks accepted their lot in life for poor service. I'm a fighter, so I couldn't let that one go as I don't like paying for nothing. Also, I live through adversity. Dear reader, couldn't you tell by my blog?
After three months of fighting with Time-Warner Cable, taking time off work to have non-existent workers (or as I liked to say, Invisible Men) claim they were at my apartment building during that four-hour time allotment and I was absent (of course I had time and date stamped CDs from the closed circuit tv for the building I produced as evidence), I said, "FUCK YOU!" when I complained to their corporate office.
They gave me over $800 of refunds. And that's when I closed all my accounts except for cable. Since then, I used my free internet service to follow all my shows and news online for years.
As of 10/29/12, my only internet access is through the iPhone because, for some reason, I'm the only one without internet in my hood. After shredding my fingertips on the smashed glass face, I became resolute in replacing the product. The following morning, I phoned AT&T again.
"Yes, for ninety–nine cents, you can get an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes."
"How about what I have for 32 gigabytes?"
"That'll cost you $100."
"Oh–kay," I said. "That's cheaper than Apple. I'll go for the 16 gigabytes, but I currently have 17 used on my iPhone. What should I do?"
"Call your local AT&T store. They should help you out."
I phoned my local AT&T store, only 10 miles away. "Oh, the iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes is free now. But, we're all out of iPhone 4s in any gigabyte. Actually, all AT&T retail stores in New York State are out of iPhone 4s so don't waste your time phoning around. We're waiting for shipments from Pennsylvania and Connecticut. It may take upwards to a week."
"What should I do?" I asked. "I can't use the one I have without blood smears and being isolated without internet, I really should get a replacement."
"Go to Best Buy."
The closest Best Buy is 50 miles away. I phoned them and got a guy named Fennel. "Listen, do you have an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes for free?"
"Yes. We only have 6 in white."
"What about the 32 gigabytes?"
"That'll cost you."
"HOLD ONE iPHONE 4 WITH 16 GIGABYTES FOR ME!" I yelled. "I'll be down this afternoon. I live 50 miles away."
When I go on a road trip, I try to combine all my activities into one to save on gas money. Ordinarily, I would NEVER make this trip for a phone. Yet, considering what I went through during Hurricane Sandy and continuing not to have internet, grace to Time-Warner Cable, I thought it worthwhile.
Armed with bottled water, my initial stop on this journey was to see someone for a job around 15 miles away. Not as if there were any openings. I heard there may be a remote possibility. With my luck, she just left her office for an impromptu offsite meeting. After waiting 45 minutes, I gave up. Hopping back into my jalopy, I drove for 40 minutes and then stopped off at my girlfriend's beauty salon, Dazzlers in Pine Bush, New York.
The beauty of small towns is in the quaint stores that hold hidden surprises. Hidden for those people who aren't from the area. In my village, the bakery/cafe, The Bake House, is where the famous artisan 7 grain bread is baked, sold and eaten in a 200 mile radius. Also sold in farmers markets in NYC. In Pine Bush, there's Dazzlers. Michelle Vasquez, the proprietess and chief beautician (since I never know what word to use to describe her vocation, I only cringe should she find out I used the wrong one) is exceedingly talented. Effortless, she cuts, dyes, blow dries an array of hair styles to perfection. People enter as the wrecks of Hesperus and leave looking ready for a soiree.
I love making grand unannounced entrances into Dazzlers. That's because my hair's very long and unruly with its kinky curls. Okay, admittedly, it's an unholy mess. Many times in the warmer weather Michelle picks out trapped live beetles and twigs while doing my hair. "You're the only one," she says to reassure me that this isn't a common occurrence.
"But I live in the country."
"All of us here live in the country," she states to appease me. "I don't know what you do up there at your house. On second thought, I really don't want to know."
When the salon's full to capacity with people I never met before, I usually do the following routine:
"What did you do to my hair? You call THIS a perm?"
Rolling her eyes, Michelle intervenes to stop patrons from fleeing the premises. While casting me daggered looks, she tersely states, "Don't pay attention to her, she's joking."
This time, I arrived at the same time as her mother. A total fluke and a pleasure. I love her mom as well and the interactions between mother and daughter remind me of those between my mother and myself. While they're at each others' throats, my eyes well up with tears: I miss my mom enormously at those moments. Joking aside, the two are close as peas in a pod. I feel comfortable in their midst.
Reluctantly, I had to leave to make my way to Best Buy. Using back roads, I finally got there and walked right up to the empty Mobile Phone portion of the store to the man seated behind the counter.
"You've an iPhone 4 16 gigabyte in white held for me. It's the free one."
"Yes, I know. We spoke. I'm Fennel."
"Ah. Fennel. I've a problem. There're 17 gigabytes already used on this phone. I don't know what to do. Would that be a problem?"
He ignored the question. Another salesperson came over. "I hope you don't mind, but I really need to go on a break. Cayenne will help you."
I sat on the bench in front of the counter and noticed others surrounding the area were rapidly filling up.
Cayenne took Fennel's recently vacated post. When I saw her nails, I almost reeled. They looked like weapons: long, painted with crystal bows and decorations glued on top. They must've weighed five pounds on each hand!
"It's evident you don't do manual labor," I said and displayed my short unpolished nails.
She laughed and then inputted information into the system. While she typed, I said, "I've 17 gigabytes of memory. And this has 16 gigabytes. Would that pose a problem?"
She ignored my question as well. Meanwhile, more customers lined up behind me. Twenty minutes later, she got the iPhone out of storage and opened it up. "Here's your iPhone 4 with 8 gigabyte memory." Fennel popped up next to her.
"Eight gigabytes?" I screeched. "What about the 16 gigabytes?"
"Oh, that was discontinued."
"Discontinued?" I looked at Fennel.
"Discontinued," she repeated. "For $100, you can get an iPhone 4S with 16 gigabytes."
"Wait a sec," I said. "Fennel, why did you tell me that I can get an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes on the phone for free when it's discontinued?"
At this point, I heard slight rumblings which I assumed were other customers.
He peered at me. "It was a misunderstanding."
"How could it be a misunderstanding?" Floored, I said, "Apple didn't say it was discontinued. Neither did AT&T. How many times did I say I wanted an iPhone 4 16 gigabytes while on the phone to you?" Then I added, "How many times did I ask here about my gigabyte usage and concern that it couldn't be transferred into the 16 gigabyte phone?"
He repeated, "It was a misunderstanding."
Cayenne added, "You can still get the 4 with 8 gigabytes—"
"That won't meet my needs," I said. "I take tons of pictures. Particularly of a tree incrementally crushing my shed for the insurance people. I can't believe this! I traveled 50 miles for nothing!"
Fennel sighed, "It was a misunderstanding."
I said, "Please get me a supervisor."
The customers behind me groaned.
The supervisor, Leek, came over. Now I had three people huddled around me. And fifty irate customers behind me. Which explains why Best Buy has so many benches in that area.
"Listen, AT&T told me that I could have an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes for ninety–nine cents except they're sold out now. They told me to come here to Best Buy. Because I live 50 miles away, I called and Fennel here told me you had 6 white iPhone 4 16 gigabytes left."
Fennel moaned, "It was a misunderstanding."
Cayenne piped in, "They're discontinued."
"Discontinued? This is a new conversation. Neither Apple nor AT&T said the iPhone 4 16 was discontinued. Until now. Here. At Best Buy. Great. I made a 100 mile round trip journey for nothing."
"It was a misunderstanding," Fennel groaned.
"I understand that. It was a misunderstanding despite me repeating 16 like a maniac. But, I'm the one who's out of pocket. I could've waited a few days and only gone 10 miles. Instead, I make this 100–mile journey after speaking to Fennel. For nothing. I'm the one who's out the gas, time and now money."
Leek stood there silent until he made a managerial decision. No doubt, he wanted to get rid of me, especially since the conga line behind me grew because he stated, "It was a misunderstanding. I can't give it away for free. How about this — I'll give it to you for $50?"
I sat there stunned. I didn't expect anything; I just wanted to finally be heard. "Okay then. Thank you."
There was applause in the store.
Fennel glared at me. Cayenne's eyes couldn't meet mine. Talk about uncomfortable. It took over two and a half hours to transfer the data from one phone to another. During that time, I toyed with the Apple machines, went for a bite to eat in the nearby mall and then dozed on one of the benches for an hour. The nap worried me because it was so deep; the auditory overload got to me, not to mention the fatigue from lip reading.
Some of you repeat reader–offenders of this blog know I suffer from a rare neurological deafness. I'm a demon on phone because I get only pieces of what's being said. Most conversations sound like Klingons singing war songs through a sound tunnel. I make people repeat themselves to the point where resistance is futile. To give you an idea, this is how the phone conversation with Fennel really went down from my perspective:
"Listen, do you have an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes for free?"
"Yes. Yada yada yada yada."
"I'm sorry. Can you repeat that?"
"Yes. Yada yada yada yada."
"Yes. Yada yada yada yada."
"Something's wrong with my iPhone." At this stage, I rather blame the phone than me. "Let me ask again. Do you have an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes for free?"
"Yes. Yada yada 6 in white."
"You're saying you have an iPhone 4 with 16 gigabytes for free?"
"YES! Yada yada yada 6 in white."
"I take it you said you have 6 iPhone 4s in 16 gigabytes in white for free."
"Good. What about the 32 gigabytes?"
"Yada yada yada yada."
"Yada yada yada yada."
"Do you mind repeating that once again?"
"It'll cost you."
"HOLD ONE APPLE 4 WITH 16 GIGABYTES FOR ME!" I yelled. "I'll be down this afternoon. I live 50 miles away."
That's how I knew I was clear about the 16 gigabytes for free — I repeated it oft enough. And, the man knew who I was the moment he met me; I made quite an impression. Afterwards, I'm sure he wanted to strangle me. Yet, I'm the deaf one. Clearly, he didn't listen. Or worse...
Finally, the transfer was made. I left Best Buy after 4 hours armed with my iPhone 4S.
And guess what — I was a victim of BAIT AND SWITCH!
This morning, I phoned Apple and asked them about the discontinued iPhone 4 16 gigabytes.
"What're you talking about? We NEVER discontinued that model!"
"WHAT?" I shrieked. "Best Buy told me you discontinued that model."
"Sorry, Ma'am. That simply ain't so."
Thank you, Best Buy, for your bait and switch methods. Leek, you did me some favor. No wonder Fennel was upset — the share of his pie shrank. Still, making me pay $50 for a FREE product, well, fuck you all.
MISUNDERSTANDING MY ASS!
Best Buy, on top of it all, you still owe me gas money.
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