Happy Thanksgiving (aka the day I went without my phone)

It’s nearly 4 in the morning and I’m staring at my little iPhone 6, which – four hours earlier – was dead.

In a bid to get everything restored faster I deleted WhatsApp (long story), managed to redownload it half an hour later, and hastily checked to see if the message history could be restored.

“Restore from iCloud”, the screen read. “30 Nov 2015.”

It wasn’t until it was too late that I realised I’d lost a year’s worth of messages.

It could’ve been a terrible day.

My iPhone was a little slower than usual and froze up when I tried downloading a new app. “Maybe I should just turn it off and back on,” I mused.

30 seconds later all it would display was the white Apple logo and nothing else. Staring back at me. Taunting me, even.

Maybe it’s just slow. Maybe it’ll revive later on. Maybe it’ll be okay…

Nope, a whole day went by and my phone was d-e-a-d.

To top it all off, my favourite ring – a gorgeous rose gold cross – broke today, more than 4 years after I purchased it from Sportsgirl on a whim. At the time, mum predicted I’d stop wearing it after 2 weeks, but I’ve worn it nearly every day since. And, of all days, it fell apart today.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

I’ve never given much thought to how much I rely on the iPhone. I know how dependent I am on it for work, and how I have a tendency to overdo the whole social media thing, but it decided to stop functioning right before I was due to head to the office, so I was unable to call for an Uber (and make use of a S$5 discount code I had). Got to work and realised I cannot access WhatsApp, so if any reporters or editors messaged about potential breaking stories, I would’ve been working blind.

Thank God the messaging platform we use – Slack – doesn’t require my phone to be connected to the Internet (Hello WhatsApp, are you reading this?).

My very kind editor said I could take the day to get the phone fixed, but for all intents and purposes I could function without it. Hopefully no one would WhatsApp us, and hopefully I wouldn’t need to Instagram anything…

But I’d be lying if I didn’t have some form of anxiety bubbling away at the pit of my stomach, which slowly ate away at me as the day progressed.

A colleague over in radio read about my predicament on Facebook and tried to fix the phone, and made me a beautiful pourover coffee (thank you!). And the editor, who honestly is the best boss on earth, gave me an hour to duck out and buy a USB C – USB adaptor, so I can try to do a factory reset when I get home (my MacBook doesn’t have a USB port – go figure).

While rushing down to Orchard Road to get the deed done, it struck me that I hadn’t taken a taxi ride without looking at my phone in a very, very long time. I knew the route like the back of my hand but usually it’d be lost in a blur of status updates, message notifications, tweets or emails to be read. This time, the phone was in my bag, the white Apple logo still shining. The phone was alive but really, I couldn’t do anything on it. So I waited.

There were no distractions this time. I was forced to look out the window, and let my raging thoughts take over.

The cab whizzed past shopping centres, apartment blocks, and incandescent light streams into the dark vehicle. My mind wanders from work, to the weather, and finally it strikes me – let’s try to think of a few things to be grateful for, even if the discomfort doesn’t sit well.

I closed my eyes and thought about the rollercoaster that’s been 2016. The difficult conversations, the unexpected trips. The open doors, and the ones that closed. The bridges crossed and the things resolved.

And Nov 24, of all days, is a day to give thanks. So… Amazing coffee in pretty paper cups make me smile, as do acts of human kindness that always make me question – how do I even deserve to know these people? Clean taxis, and the hope that a phone could possibly come back from the dead, they offer a glimmer of light. Clothes on my back, a bed to return to, a church I call home, a job I love.

So often I think about what I’ve lost, when I don’t realise what’s been placed in my hand. It really comes down to the simple things, but how often we forget, or let things get in the way.

WhatsApp fires up, comes back to life. As does my phone, which I thought was a goner.

It’s a new day.

I have something else to be thankful for.

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