I got a new phone a few weeks back.
My old phone had been good and loyal to me. It had seen me through many nights in hospital, many trips away, times both bright and dim. I bought it at the same time as a few acquaintances of mine got the same slab of glass and metal, and as its peers gradually began to give up on life, my one stayed on strong for me.
After two years where it had spent considerably more time by my side than anyone or anything else, I even felt a twang of emotion as a looked at pictures of the newer model. The loyal old dog beckoning from my pocket, promising many more years of usage and to never go flat when I was stuck on public transport again.
But this new one was undeniably shinier, and did things that were sort of new, and I had been thoroughly persuaded by either my own head or something placed in my head by a marketing team 10,000km away that I needed it immediately, so it was inevitable. To hell with meaningful connections.
So I picked it up from the store, with emotions similar to what I imagine it would be like to take your newborn home for the first time, and it provided me with pleasure for a while.
That childlike joy of a new toy wasn't nearly as palpable as I hoped however. It was hidden beneath a slimy layer of fear. Fear of dropping it, fear of losing it, both of which I assume will also be staple emotions of taking home my first newborn.
Fear that I would feel just as compelled to make such an expensive and unnecessary purchase next week, and my loved ones would just have to do without Christmas presents this year.
But, as it always does, the fear passed. In about 7 days I had shifted from texting with two hands at all times like my mum, to tossing it in the general direction of soft surfaces that I was intending to lounge on.
That's not a bad thing either. No one wants to live life in fear over a piece of technology, be it your phone or those new drones they've equipped with flamethrowers.
Well, my new and yet untested pup of a phone took its maiden voyage back home to Christchurch last week. My first day back was a scorching hot morning, I was in the midst of a time-difference induced daze, and was in a rush. If this were an episode of 'Seconds From Disaster', the music would be ramping up to a crescendo.
Upon briskly exiting the car to greet family, the phones 35 day life was tragically cut short.
One feature they failed to list on the box was its ability to bounce like a basketball whilst also to simultaneous slide like a slalom skier, one who is in the midst of a horrific career-ending incident. Glass on concrete, the fingernails on blackboard sound of the 21st century.
And for all its features, apparently surviving a 50 cm drop isn't one of them. Struck down in her prime.
Actually, all that happened was it cracked the glass on the back. It still works fine, but it might as well not. It feels tainted to me, maimed. Any left over pangs of delight are dashed when I remember its scars. My feeling of mourning is perhaps an even more scathing indicator of our consumerist society than my need to purchase it was.
Fortunately, given I have always been a burgeoning butterfingers since right back when I played cricket, I had the foresight to insure it. The replacement comes next week.
So what did I come away with from all of this? Well if you're looking for a takeaway in return the last 5 minutes of your life I've stolen, here's a few:
Don't get caught up in being a consumer this Christmas. Maybe you don't need the new one. You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but perhaps you can drop it on the ground without breaking it.
Try not to get caught up in the seasonal marketing storm. The temporary happiness of something shiny doesn't change who you are, or make you a better version of yourself.
Gratitude is awesome. Be grateful for what you have, regardless of whether it's shiny or not.
And put a bloody case on your phone.