For the record, that photo has nothing to do with my story. It’s just the darkest photo I’ve taken recently, and these posts always look kind of bare without one. Also it’s from a mountaintop (well, really a plateau-top) in Chile, Cerro Tololo to be exact. The Blanco telescope is that big bump on the left-ish side of the photo, and all the smaller bumps are smaller telescopes, mostly robotic ones. More on that trip here!

Anyways, I was out running on Sunday morning, and just like that my phone rebooted itself. Or, at least, it tried, before failing and then trying again, ultimately getting stuck in an infinite bootloop that not even a factory reset could fix. The worst part is, I can’t even prove that I was out running because my Strava feed didn’t save. That’s five whole miles of my life I’ll never get back!

On the bright side, I bought the phone 11.5 months ago, so seredipitously, it was still under its original yearlong warranty and I received a newer replacement phone for free. Boom!

Speaking of serendipitous timing, not only did I barely eek into the warranty window, my phone also managed to work perfectly fine during two back-to-back weeklong work trips, during which I definitely needed a phone, and then died the day after I got back. The stars are aligned somewhere, that’s for sure. Maybe we’ll be able to see them with this giant telescope camera we’re building.

Things I learned from going without a phone for a few days:

  • A dumb phone is better than no phone. I had to chat with the Google Fi support specialists via the chat box in my browser, and when I say “specialists”, I do indeed mean more than one because man they are useless sometimes.
  • There’s this thing you can do when meeting up with friends where you pre-arrange a time and a place to meet (via email in my case), and then you actually show up on time at that place. Pretty revolutionary.
  • I couldn’t get money out of my venmo account. I went to log in to my account via the browser on my laptop, but needed duo authentication (i.e. a code that they wanted to text to me) in order to log in. I mean, if I had my phone, I wouldn’t be using my laptop in the first place. Duh!
  • I also needed duo authentication to get into some work accounts, which was annoying. There’s a workaround but it takes forever.
  • I would have gotten lost if I had tried to navigate anywhere more than five miles from my house. Luckily for me, my office is only 1.5 miles away.
  • I realized right before going to bed that I didn’t have a way to set an alarm for the morning, so I went digging in my closet and found an old-school alarm clock that I used in high school, before I had a smart phone. Man, those beeps are jarring in the morning. I am very excited to be back to waking up to nice and peaceful ocean-y sounds.
  • Trying to read a recipe off of a laptop while cooking dinner and also snacking on leftover trail mix leads to a sticky keyboard. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll skip the cooking and just stick to the trail mix.
  • I don’t actually talk to that many people anyways.

And I survived. So it worked out, I suppose.