A couple of days ago I was doing some long overdue laying out. I’d laid out a tiny bit in Palm Springs whilst visiting my friend Chris, but no more than a few minutes at a time. This was the first time I’d purposely decided to lay out without any cares, at least for 30 minutes or so. Well–and I must laugh now–such was not the case. Even just having my phone out in the heat that long fried it…it spazzed out and I ended up taking it during a freak desert thunderstorm to my local AT&T store, where my options were to purchase a new one for $______ ($500+), or wait until I’m due for a renewal in 90 days and go from there. So I went home to fetch my old phone, which was coincidentally a Blackberry which my sister had given me after my previous phone died in the rain in Kennesaw, nearly three years ago. The staff at the store were more than gracious enough to switch out the SIM cards (kudos to the testament of AT&T customer service right there), and I got home and charged the four year-old phone. Once it was up and running, I hated it. Like, LOATHED it. I’ve never been one to covet a cell phone, but this one seemed so old and out of date! I had my little hissy fit and calmed myself down; “I can tolerate this for 90 days,” I told myself. It’s just a dumb phone, and all I use it for is to take calls, take a few pics, and check my Facebook when I don’t have my laptop handy. I took a pic…it must’ve been 2 megapixels, max. FML, I thought. All of a sudden, I no-holds-barred was coveting a new phone, though I was ashamed to admit it. (Not really, though…the pic I took was horrendous…I won’t even share it here. I’ve decided to just start toting my digital camera around to take pics until I get a new phone…which is what I used to do before I had this Samsung Note which just melted down.)
Then I thought back to a video I’d also–coincidentally, no joke–watched on YouTube earlier in the day. I’d actually been watching videos on a channel I subscribe to re: abandoned places. Most of them are abandoned amusement parks, abandoned rides inside amusement parks…you get the picture…kind of silly fun. Well, YouTube suggested one to me entitled, “China’s Empty Cities House 64 Million Empty Apartments.” I couldn’t resist watching, even though I’d seen another YouTube video on China’s ridiculous, non-sensical overbuilding phenomenon awhile back. WordPress won’t let me insert the link properly, but here it is…watching this put all my #whitewhine cell phone debacleness in perspective. I have a roof over my head, I have my own bathroom, I live in a very nice, cookie cutter subdivision in a country where our government doesn’t–how shall I put this delicately–do many things with our $$$ which aren’t helpful to the high majority of the population. Anyway: here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm7rOKT151Y The whole video is astounding, but if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, start at 8:20 to see the story of the Beijing couple living in their 1-BR slum down a long alley. That’s essentially what I thought back to when I had my little meltdown over reverting to a four year-old phone. This couple has a daughter they only get to see once a year; they share a sink/bathroom/common outdoor kitchen area with what I gathered was about 10 other 1-BR apartments. Right then and there, where are the validity of my complaints? Cutting to the chase, do I think it’s any coincidence I viewed this video on the same day I experienced such a–and i use HUGE quotes–“such a material loss?” The answer, very clearly, is not at all. I still have a phone…I still have my own room, my own bathroom, an indoor kitchen I only share with three other people, and I can fly home to see my family any time I dang well please. Forget frying a cell phone whilst laying out in a clean, open-air backyard…those are small (fried) potatoes.
There’s not much more I need to say except that I’m impossibly humbled. Please take the time to watch the video link I shared above…you’ll concur with me. Hope everyone’s having a safe and happy summer. My friend Chris is making great strides in his recovery from his stroke…thanks for all the prayers and concerns sent his way. He’s now able to stand and make small sounds out of his vocal cords. I’m thankful every single day that he’s made such progress in such a relatively small amount of time.
Be thankful for what you’re given, and when it’s given to you when you need it most.