127 Minutes

Let’s see…I think I have credibly established that I’m a procrastinator.  I think it’s incumbent upon me to clarify, however, that just because I procrastinate it shouldn’t be assumed that I am a planner.

No way.

No shape.

No form.

I just spent three days choosing a restaurant in my own neighborhood for my birthday dinner next Saturday.

So my family can all haul ass 30 miles into town to celebrate my favorite person.  So much pressure.

Rituals.  Now, those I can get behind.  Give me a routine and I’m fairly likely to execute.  Give me routine and I’m content.  Gets me out of the house.  Affords me the opportunity to avoid spontaneity because I have standing plans.  Hell, it allows me to procrastinate!  If I know I gotta be somewhere in three hours, I’m not starting anything that might distract me and make me late.

Or that might be more fun and make me resent my routine.

I’m complex.

Here’s an example of routine:  I have coffee with The Silver Fox every Friday morning.  It’s our thing.  We sit and chat, just two old geezers sitting in a cafe watching the world go by.

And by “the world” I probably mean 30-something guys in sweatpants and workout clothes…our coffeehouse of choice is deliciously close to our gym.

We catch up on the week of temporary estrangement my work schedule creates. His weeks are usually way more eventful than mine, a perk of his retirement status.  Invariably, whether or not I plan to work out on my weekend comes up.  I usually want to, but typically don’t commit.  Unlike me, The Fox is a planner.  In my mind, me committing to going to the gym ends in him standing up to reveal that his clothes were simply an outer layer that – in a fit of stripper flair – yield way to the gym clothes beneath.

I don’t need that type of pressure.

Fortunately, my best friend knows me well enough to try and suss out my exercise interest level before we set out and dress accordingly – although, he has learned that I’m not committed to anything simply because of how I’m dressed.  I’ve donned my gym apparel on more than one occasion just to decide during our coffee catch up that I don’t want to work out.  Essentially, this is a enabling side effect of living in the Pearl, where half of the population seems to spend their days in yoga pants so my attire won’t stand out.  It’s not me, it’s them.  Swearsies.

On this past Friday morning – the 13th – he pre-emptively announced it was too cold to work out.  It was 19 degrees and day three of our third snowmageddon of the winter.  I readily agreed to his terms, not wondering for several hours if that was an attempt at slyness, using reverse psychology on me.  I guarantee, telling me what I want to hear will probably never result in anything approaching the anticipated outcome of reverse psychology.  

It will result in me shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Ok” like I knew you’d come around eventually…but I didn’t care when.

Why do I have friends?  I must be their purgatory.

So, we’re sitting there, catching up.  Randomly getting sucked into our phones as we share a story with the other that we recently read (him), which prompts the other (me) to check his phone.  That usually just results in me playing Words With Friends until I remember we’re supposed to be spending time together, finish my play and pointedly put my phone down and wait for his attention to shift back to me from whatever news rabbit hole he fell into.

We’re quite a pair.

This past Friday, I was rather agitated about all things cell phone.  My iPhone has been randomly dying over the last six to nine months even though the charge level still claims to be well into the 20-40% range.  I’ve been putting up with it, working around the problem by getting a Mophie this past November.

A few months ago The Silver Fox mentioned to me that Apple was offering to switch out batteries on the 6s because so many of them were doing just what mine were doing.  Not surprisingly, I hadn’t made time to go make the swap and once the Mophie came along, my urgency around that trip to the Apple Store fell even lower.

Until something happened with my Mophie/iPhone relationship and the iPhone would simply stop charging a minute or so after I switched on the Mophie.  This past Thursday night, I went to bed with my Mophie plugged in – which usually charges the Mophie and the iPhone – and woke up to a fully charged Mophie and an iPhone charged to 30%…after nine hours of sleep!

As I lay in bed catching up on everything that had happened over night, I’m watching my phone battery’s charge dwindle to the teens.  I flip on the Mophie and it charges for a minute then stops.

I do this at least 20 times over the next half hour before it takes.  I get in the shower and check when I get out to make sure it’s still charging.  

It is, but the battery life has actually fallen from 13% to 9% while it was allegedly charging.

I get dressed and head out for coffee, during which I share my frustration with The Fox and he suggests going to the Apple Store.  I agree it’s a good idea and we decide to head out once the coffee is gone.  This being Friday the goddamned 13th, though, I’ve woken up from a good night’s sleep with a pain in my foot that makes walking both painful and difficult.  Also, Portland is essentially a sheet of ice.

A sleep-related injury.

You can’t make my life up.

I know this is an old injury resurfacing, but how I exacerbated it while sleeping…no idea.

The Fox makes some sounds about how maybe I shouldn’t walk that far if my foot is injured, but I’ve got a burr in my saddle now and I reply, “Nonsense, this is happening!”

We agree that while we’re in the neighborhood, we should grab lunch at Grassa.  It’s, like, 9:30 am and we’re talking lunch at a place that doesn’t even open until 11:00.  But this is Grassa…not to be missed, in my opinion.  I already know what I’m getting: carbonara.  That’s not a plan, btw.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We hike across the glacier that is Portland; rather, we hobble.  We make it to the Apple Store and we’re immediately directed at the front door to go meet Seth.  Actually, we’re told to go talk to Seth, who I notice is already talking to someone, so I ask, “Just knock his mom out of the way and start talking or is this a ‘wait my turn’ type of thing?”

She tells me to go ahead and knock his mom out of the way.  I like this woman, she’s cut throat. 

I decide to wait my turn anyway. Upon hearing my complaint, Seth takes some information and tells me to meet a technician at a table over yonder.  I notice his mom is sitting right across from the remaining three open seats and I take the third, so as not to crowd her.

An Apple dude shows up moments later and takes up post between the last two barstools and I think, “Great!  Now where is my guy gonna sit?!?”

A couple minutes later, he turns and asks if I’m me.  Problem solved.

He listens to how hard my life is and then tells me my phone is 15 months old, so it’s out of warranty.  Then he falls on his sword and – before I can say anything – volunteers that my phone qualifies for a “satisfaction battery replacement” or something.

Just say it was recalled.

It’s not like Apple was afraid The Onion might start calling them Lemon if they didn’t handle the problem transparently. Ok, maybe they were.  But just call it what it is, don’t make your employees spin it.

Damn that last paragraph suffered from a lot of produce.

The guy says it’ll take a few hours, but will be done by 1:10 pm…great, we were headed to Grassa for lunch and it’s still not 11 – see where the title comes from? – so we’ll just do that and pop on back after.

We chat about great local eateries and he says he’ll have to try Grassa.  As we’re chatting, he’s having a look at my phone, asking me to unlock it so he can work on it.

You see, here’s where being a planner would be beneficial.  A planner would have changed his home screen pic to a picture of his cat. My lock screen pic is completely g-rated.


But at least it’s not some random butt pic someone sent to me while we were chatting over Facebook Messenger and drinking wine “together”.  I think we were drinking in singlehood solidarity, but one glass later, that was my home screen…because just look at it.


Old man’s fantasy…but still.

The nice Apple boy said that he’d seen much worse.  I thought, “Every ass is worse than that, look at it!  It’s an amazing specimen!” while outside I chuckled awkwardly.

Then my mind wandered back to what happened to all the hot gay nerds that used to work at Apple and I was basically on my way out the door with an empty Mophie in my pocket where my phone used to live.

It was gonna be a long two hours.

I decided on a glass of wine with my pasta.  This was after a good hobble in the ice and now 23 degree weather, which I only knew because I passed a bank on the way.  I also thought I needed something to numb the phantom limb syndrome I began suffering a block away from the Apple Store.  The Fox concurred and ordered one with his meal, too.

The nice hostess suggested a 480 mL bottle, same price and almost three glasses.

No brainer.

After finishing our pasta brunch and realizing we still had an hour to kill, The Fox suggested a second bottle.

You know I’m game.  I mean, I’m sitting there checking my empty Mophie every three minutes.  The wine helped, usually I check every 90 seconds.  The Fox loaned me his phone to take the above pic of my carbonara so that I could text it to myself and then taunt my mother with it.  If for no other reason, I know we are blood because of our mutual insane weakness for pasta.

So, now we’re both kinda buzzed and heading back onto Portland’s version of the Iditarod for the trek back to retrieve my phone.  I’m directed to a table to wait for someone to run my phone out to me.  The other denizens of the table are my neighbor – a 300+ lb daddy – and the Apple employee helping him, who is 5’2″, 110 lbs – at least 7 of which is handlbar moustache.

Save it for the Eagle, fellas.

They are literally flirting with one another across the table.  I know this because I’m waiting for my repaired phone longer than the entire intake process took while they make small talk and figuratively kick dirt.

A second Apple employee shows up – one of those cute ones I was talking about earlier.  I know he was cute because The Fox was behind him making crazy eyes at me to make sure I knew he was cute.  I can smell his deodorant, Foxy, let’s assume that puts me close enough to casually notice his good looks.  All-in-all, I think the SF got the better view…this baby looked like he had “back”.

I mean, he wasn’t gonna dethrone Home Screen Guy, but he had nothing to be sorry for.  I could tell.

And his name was Chris, so he had to be an awesome guy!

Except, he wasn’t there to help me.

Boo.  No one is perfect.

Shortly thereafter, a nice woman came up to me, verified my identity and gave me my phone.  On my way out, I heard her tell someone on her mic, “Hey, Sterling, I delivered that phone repair for ya.”

I stopped and mentally made a villainous “foiled again” face and exclaimed, “The Ginge!”  Because, even if this wasn’t my life we were talking about, in a city the size of Portland, you can’t throw a condom without hitting someone who treated you like our President-Elect allegedly treats Russian hookers.

127 Minutes

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