I’ve had the same cellphone for over a year. It has remained unscratched, unscathed, so I’ve had no need to replace it. This tiny device held a year’s worth of phone numbers, over 3,000 random photos, a novel’s worth of text messages I had never bothered to delete. Like a tiny electronic time capsule.
Last week I went to retrieve it, along with my keys, from their usual place on my bureau. Neither were there. Confused, I looked around, and noticed my keys on the floor by the wastebasket. I bent down to retrieve them and noticed my phone IN the wastebasket. The empty, antique, wrought iron wastebasket. The hard wastebasket. The screen completely shattered as though it had been in a 10-car pileup.
I love photography and am overly Instagrammy, so my phone is set to jump to camera mode when it’s jostled. You know, so I can instantly snap a picture of a bird flying by or my dog making a funny face when he pees on something. Upon its being pushed off the wall into the dark oblivion, a photo was snapped. This was the last photo in my gallery.
Mystery solved. My cat’s an asshole. Anyway…
I ordered a new phone online, it was delivered. The pamphlet enclosed prompted me to backup my photos and contacts via the company’s cloud. I have a computer science background, and I know things can go wrong during this process. I don’t trust tech support unless I’m the one doing it. I transferred my photos to my computer. Then I sat down to manually write down the phone numbers of my contacts in case there was some “issue.”
Friends, family, work. Doo doo doo, writing numbers over and over, whistling while I worked. Then I came across a number. Ten digits that hit me in the stomach like a sledgehammer.
I’m not special, this isn’t a special story. We all have one of these stories.
It’s a boring story, so I’ll make it brief. I knew a boy. I knew of him for years, because we had grown up in the same town and had mutual friends. I got to actually know him through a shared love of art which turned into lengthy Facebook conversations, then text. After a few weeks he invited me up to see him. I was hesitant. I’m kind of a lone wolf and to be honest, I almost didn’t go, I actually contemplated saying I was sick halfway up the NJ turnpike. I’m the anti-romantic and I really wasn’t trying to date anyone at that current time. Plus, I had on weird sweatsocks underneath my dress and I had missed a spot while shaving my legs. I really wasn’t expecting anything and was wondering how soon I could get home if I left at midnight. I didn’t even think it was a date. But for some reason I went, and within the hour I was giggling and blushing like a schoolgirl. I won’t say it was love at first sight, but to say I was smitten is an understatement. Which doesn’t ever happen to me. Ever.
We stayed up until dawn. I didn’t go home til the morning, I drove home singing with a big, stupid smile on my face. I was so embarrassingly giddy.
And he liked me too…for that night.
No more soup for you, girl. Thanks for playing.
I guess you could say I’m lucky that’s never happened to me before, but it doesn’t matter if it’s happened to you once or 50 times, it still stings like a bitch. Nobody likes rejection to begin with, but add that to the fact that I have a tendency to be a little sensitive and this was someone I really admired, on both an artistic and an intellectual level. Was I not smart enough? Not pretty enough?. Not funny enough? It took me a while to stop overanalyzing what exactly was so wrong with me. All because this one random person did not fancy me. One little person in a city full of people. In a world full of people.
Why do we spend so much time trying to repair broken friendships instead of using that time and energy to make new ones? For me, I think it had less to do with how interesting and smart I had thought this person was and more to do with the fact I did not want to admit to myself that I had been so brutally rejected. I plummeted to a fiery death, no two ways about it. I don’t know why I kept his number in my phone, I guess I was hoping at some point we could be friends again. I texted him a few times regarding an art exhibit that reminded me of him and a trip I had taken to a destination I thought he’d enjoy. He always replied. With lame three word responses. And that made me feel even worse..
So here I was, writing down my contacts, coming across his number. And something shifted inside me. It wasn’t anything dramatic, as though I felt a major organ bursting into flames. I just felt a sort of calm, as though a constant buzzing that had somehow become white noise over the past couple months had just stopped…like a motor that finally gave up. I didn’t care anymore. I felt nothing. And it was nice.
Not everyone in this world is going to like me. And one requirement of any kind of friendship is that the other person has to participate.
I didn’t write down his number. I transferred my service to my new phone.
And my contacts were lost in the process. Maybe it was the universe trying to tell me something. Unfixable phone, unfixable friendship.