Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If I could save time in a bottle (or cell phone)

Whenever I'm in desperate need of a break from my desk and chair, I've been doing a little spring cleaning around the house, getting rid of the dust bunnies, etc. Today, I came across my recently-departed Motorola cell phone. It was time for another shipment to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

If you haven't heard of it, it's a great charity that collects old cell phones and takes the profits from repurposing them to buy phone cards for U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq so they can call home. It was founded by a teenage brother/sister in their Norwell, MA, garage and has since grown to a national organization supported by companies such as AT&T. www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com

Anyway, I boxed up the Motorola (which had been a faithful servant up until this Jan. when I upgraded to the BlackBerry Pearl) and began to tape the package when it occurred to me that all of my contacts (and perhaps some questionable photos) were still on the camera phone. I quickly unwrapped the box.

Although I'm sure the charity wipes the SIM card or whatever, I'm too paranoid to take any chances. All those years of my Mom warning me about David Walsh got me thinking of scenarios worthy of a Hollywood script (weirdo in upstate NY doublewide gets my recycled phone -- contacts, photos and all -- then falls in love with a photo of my teeth and calls all of my friends in an attempt to track me down, finally succeeding when an unsuspecting family member divulges the location of my pearly whites).

Deleting the photos proved harder than the arduous task of erasing my 100+ contacts. It was like I'd opened a time capsule from the last year of my life and couldn't rescue any of it (the phone no longer has service and nothing to attach to a PC to retrieve data).

It's amazing how one can slip right back to a time/place with a simple trigger like a song, scent or image. The pic of cloud-to-ground lightning just beyond Yankee Stadium's outfield immediately evoked the feeling of my hair being blown about as I juggled peanuts, soda and hot dogs while laughing with Bolo about how we were about to die watching A-Rod's quest for #500.

The strong sensory link is why I never wear perfume again once I abandon it -- it seals that time of my life in a bottle forever (e.g. Tommy Girl is sooooo waiting tables in Boca Raton circa '96).

A bit blurry (and trippy considering it's a camera phone taking a picture of a camera phone) but you get the idea.

Anyway, as I grudgingly deleted photo after photo, I laughed at what the weirdo upstate might think of some of them:

7/18/07 -- 1 photo of blue parakeet on sidewalk
"Was she walking her pet budgie?"
(More sane than it looks: walking to the train @ 110th/Broadway after work, looked down at the sidewalk to see an odd blue bird hopping around with the other li'l brown city birds. WTF? Yes, it was a parakeet quite healthy and at ease with the others, just looking for spare change, I guess.)

8/24/07 -- 2 pics of man working out at gym
"Is she a stalker like me?"
(Sometimes, but this was consensual shower-nozzle masturbation material of my man)

9/12/07 -- 3 shots of my teeth
"Practicing for Rocky Horror audition?"
(Nope, just before/after pics of my left front tooth; there was a long-standing chip in it courtesy of a Wild Turkey binge at Andrea's when I was 14. I didn't want it fixed for sentimental reasons but the dentist insisted; it has since reverted to its former chipped self...yay!)

1/5/08 -- 5 pics of giant brown wet thing and nest of hair
"Have I died and gone to heaven?"
(No, perv. My goddaughter Jordyn has free reign of my cameras, including cellular. This was a self-portrait of her eye and younger brother Phoenix's dreadlocks)
Since it wasn't classified material, I decided against deleting my 20+ photos of various flowers (I'm a big fan of them as screensavers) and 10+ photos from the Bjork concert at Radio City (that way, whoever gets my phone will think I'm a really cool botanist).

I also decided to leave the mysterious photos of my man and I on Roosevelt Island's elevated tram (with the 59th Street bridge glowing eerily in the background); I just didn't have the heart to delete such a fond bit of memory. (sigh)

What really surprised me about all this was that the phone's battery was still full at 3 bars despite sitting in a dark corner of my closet since January. Is that what happens when we don't use them 24/7?

BTW, if any of you know how to quickly wipe the memory from a Motorola 5236A, kindly keep that info to yourselves. Thanks!

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