tragic fate of an old smartphone
Thursday, October 15 2020
In early 2018, I upgraded my cellphone from a four-core Samsung Galaxy Core Prime to a ten-core Redmi Note 4. The old Galaxy Core Prime then became my bathtub internet device. But when Powerful moved into our basement in May, I stopped bathing in the basement bathtub and moved my Galaxy Core Prime out to the brownhouse, where I rarely used it. The other day I tried to start it up and found that it wouldn't come on, even with a fully-charged battery (which it still seemed capable of charging). Today I wanted to get to the bottom of what was wrong with it, so I removed all the screws and then watched a YouTube video to see how to extract it from the aluminum band connecting the front to the back. The YouTuber suggested using heat to delaminate the front glass, but I was impatient and thought maybe I could skip that and delaminate it cold using a credit card. That was a mistake: suddenly a web cracks spread from the corner where I was applying pressure, and it wasn't even all that much pressure. I'd apparently cracked the overlay that reads finger touches. Since it wasn't clear the phone would ever work again anyway (and had been almost unusably slow), I decided to throw it on my pile of hoplessly broken electronics. There were three lessons to be learned here: 1. There is something in the brownhouse environment, even in the summer, that eventually destroys something like a smartphone. 2. Smartphone glass is much more delicate than I'd imagined. 3. When a YouTube video tells you to apply heat, you can't skip that step.
For much of the workday I'd been preparing for a presentation to the head honcho of the company. But then it turned out that he was playing hooky, fishing in Long Island Sound, so the presentation wouldn't be until next week. That took the pressure off and I could do things like fuck around with my dead smartphone.
Meanwhile Gretchen had been making a big potato-kale soup. Yet again we'd be having socially-distanced socializing around our fire pit.
It was another unseasonably warm evening, and as I built the fire, I was wearing nothing but pants and a teeshirt. Ray, Nancy, and Jack arrived a little after 7:30pm, and soon thereafter some flashlights approached from across the street: our new friends Kacey and Konca. It was another long night of stories told around the fire. The most memorable of these was Konca saying that his family in Senegal had only converted to Islam two or three generations ago; they'd followed indigenous African spiritual practices before then. I was surprised, knowing (from Roots) that Kunta Kinte's ancestors in Gambia (which is completely surrounded by the smallish country of Senegal) were already Muslim in the early 1700s. By the time Gretchen took some initiative to wind our socializing down, it was midnight.
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