Call Me Maybe

Maybe you’ve heard stories about people who give off weird magnetic fields or vibrate electrons* that mess with any technology more complicated than a coffee maker.

I am one of these people.

When I worked at the newspaper, the IT guy was at my desk once a week for something weird that I did to my computer. He told me that if he ever wrote a book, I would have an entire chapter dedicated to the strange happenings at my pod.

Once when we had serious internet issues and the cable guy had to come to the house, his directions were so complicated (to me) that I plopped my 4-year-old in front of the computer and had her do what he said.

I’m not tech savvy. Never have been, never will be. I appreciate online shopping and finding good GIFs but that’s about as far as it goes for technology and me. So when my son came home from school with a tragedy of Greek proportions — his less-than-a-year-old iPhone quit working after he installed an update — I know he didn’t expect much from me aside from sympathy.

“What happened?” I asked.

“It said SIM failure,” he said. “It’s not connecting to Wi-Fi. Dad has to set up the cellular network.” 

I started googling because I wanted to help.

I peppered him with questions, and I think it probably sounded on the level of an astrophysicist visiting a kindergarten class during a Q and A session. (“Is the moon really made of cheese?”)

No. 3 sighed. “Mom, it’s fine. I’ll wait until Dad gets home.”

And then he did this thing that was so severe and so desperate that I knew I needed to act: HE LEFT HIS PHONE AT HOME.

I tried Gino at online Apple support. That did not go well. He asked if the device had an eSIM card or a regular one.

“I have no idea,” I typed. “It’s an iPhone!”

Gino quickly palmed me off on our cellular carrier. So I became Verizon’s problem and more specifically, a problem for Hrrrummmphmufflita. At least as far as I could tell, that was her name. We didn’t have such a great connection, phone or otherwise. 

“What seems to be the problem, KrisTEEN?”

“My son’s phone isn’t working, and it says ‘SIM failure OK’ and it’s definitely not OK. ”

“Does it have a physical SIM?”

Aha! I know this one!


“I need the IMEI2 number.”

And that was the end of our great synergy.

“The what?”

Let me just say that iPhone maybe needs to chop down that IMEI thing to a two or three-digit number, security be damned, because this was the second lengthiest part of the 52 minute-and-55-second phone call because I had to repeat the number five times. 

Hrrrummmphmufflita wanted to keep throwing an eight into the mix where it didn’t belong and unlike when you spell out a word (“‘S’ as in STUPID IPHONE!”), you can’t really do that effectively with numbers… (“No, not EIGHT, I said SIX, as in TWO less than EIGHT…”)

I could hear her tippy typing in the background and decided I would do the same, taking notes for this very post. Except that now that I look back at them, they still make absolutely no sense.

Apparently the issue was we had to set up the cellular network again because for some reason, Verizon thought we still had the no-longer-with-us iPhone 8. There was some turning the phone off and on action and then I had to come up with our home Wi-Fi password and in theory, I know it, but when it came to actually typing, it didn’t work and so then I’m rooting around trying to find it written down somewhere to see where I went wrong and No. 2 didn’t actually have it stashed somewhere either… Oooooyyyy….

I texted the hub “Emergency. Need Wi-Fi password.”

He tried to call me, but of course I couldn’t talk so I shot back the robo response, “Can I call you later?”

Unbeknownst to me, our son had texted him hours ago about the phone issue and a few days earlier, we had a weird router problem at home so those things coupled with a robo message that he didn’t know I even knew how to send had him convinced we’d been hit by Russian hackers. 


He KNEW that was definitely the case when I sent my next message and it was along the lines of but not exactly “Holy forking shirt balls — I fixed his phone.”

It was a miracle. Truly.

I started hooting and hollering when the phone successfully booted up and there was no SIM Failure notification.

Hrrrummmphmufflita giggled. “You’re so happy.”

“You have no idea how amazing this is,” I told her, as I thanked her profusely for her incredible patience.

And then I sent my son a text saying that *I* fixed his phone, even though I knew he wouldn’t see it till later. I just wanted it there as a record. 

::Blows on fingers:: I think I’m going to go apply to work at the Genius Bar now.

*Not scientifically proven.

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