Corn Grits

Yesterday the neighbor did something in their apartment and something fell in my apartment.  I thought it was funny at first ala Arested Development. Then I turned around and looked at what fell.  It was a hairbrush and my i-phone.  Into the toilet.  Damn. That’s not funny.

Full disclosure: This is not the first time I have dropped an i-phone into the toilet.  So I knew from the internet forums I looked at the first time that this happened that there was some trick about putting it in a bag of some food to draw the moisture out. I misremembered that it  was flour.  I just read that it’s rice, but it doesn’t matter in a way because I didn’t have any of those things in the apartment, so I put it in a bag of corn grits that I brought back from the U.S. at Christmas.  But grits are messy, so first I tried to put it in a little daily planner to kind of suspend it over the grits, like I didn’t want grits to go into the tiny parts.  That didn’t seem right. No, that didn’t seem right at all.

I jogged, and almost but did not, j-walk on my way to the I-phone store.  I felt like I had a mission.  I was an important person who had something urgent to do. Finally.

When I got to Soft Bank, I explained what had happened, I was honest.  I said I dropped it in the toilet, and I thought there would be protocol for this. The guy at the store, said, “dame” which means bad.  That’s all he said.  He just kept saying, “bad” “bad” “bad” to everything I said.  I got out the bag of corn grits.  He asked me what it was. I didn’t want to get into it. I said, it’s something like, flour, because at the time I was still misremembering the kind of food that internet forums suggest you should put a wet phone in.  I pulled the phone out of the corn grits, with the jogging and all the false starts toward j-walking, it had fallen out of the empty 2011 planner and into the grits.  When he saw the phone covered in grits his “bad” “bad” “bad” line of advice, did seem to make sense.  I said I read it on the Internet.  But of course I read and then forgot that it was rice.  I said, It’s something like flour, because I really didn’t have time to explain what corn grits were. What I wanted here at Soft Bank was help, expertise, why was I having to explain what should be done? Clearly I was not an expert.

I did remember that they also said if you had silica packets, you should put it in a jar with silica packets.  So I said, you know the things that come with bread, because in the environmental nightmare that is Japanese packaging, individual packs of bread do come with silica packets, and the soft bank salesman, said no, of course, but then it came to me, the Japanese for silica packets is shirika paketo! I asked him if he had Shirika Paketo? I asked him if they knew where I could buy them and he said no.  I said why can’t you help me? I was loosing my temper.  I said this is a normal problem, (admittedly not the corn girts part) but the very expensive phone in water. I said it happens every day.  The salesman was young and I could tell he wanted to laugh bad. He told me to go to the apple store. I’ve taught school long enough to sense when a young person finds me ridiculous, and a little bit entertaining, but also wants me to disappear.

I felt like I had put a broken tooth in milk and run to the dentist where they suggested I go get a false tooth made without even looking in the milk.  I was mad.  Mostly at myself for leaving an I-phone on the back of the toilet, but here at Soft Bank I had an opportunity to take it out on someone else.  I asked him again, why can’t you help me? It felt great to get angry and to be calling out for help I thought I deserved.  I really do need help lately, and deep down I respected how the soft bank boy wanted to laugh, how he wanted me to disappear and especially how he said in response to my “why don’t you know where to buy silica packets?”  “I don’t know why I don’t know,” which he must have known would push me over the edge. Nicely played, soft bank boy.

I left thinking I would go to the apple store but eventually I realized that I wasn’t done with Soft Bank, if the phone was dead, and there were burial arrangements to be made, my life insurance for the phone was through soft bank. Not only was soft bank boy not done handling my toilet water and corn girt covered phone for the day, we now had paperwork to do together. I think those guys make about 900 yen an hour.

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