Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The day I crawled onto the NYC subway tracks to save my iPhone, or every 20something's worst nightmare realized*

If you have been fortunate enough to spend any time around me, you probably know at least two things: 1. I'm clumsy as fuck, and 2. My iPhone screen is cracked to hell from a (completely sober) tromp around Times Square this summer. And now that these two highly relevant facts are general Internet knowledge, we will proceed with the story of my morning, and mayhaps you will find said story - though still hilarious - a bit less shocking.

It's perhaps a lesser known fact that when it rains, NYC becomes CFC: Cluster Fuck Central. The trains get fucked up, the buses gets fucked up, the average commuter is practically reduced to tears from the frightening - and very real - prospect that she might drown in a sea of wet umbrellas. It's miserable. This morning was no different, as my bus was about eight minutes late. Therefore, I blame the MTA for the pseudo-tragedy that followed, and nearly made me one of those "I'm only 23 and I've had a heart attack" statistics.

After I got off my late bus, I walked to the subway and waited for the downtown train, which I'm sure was also late. (Because, from what I hear, the subway trains are actually supposed to run on this thing called a "schedule," though I have never seen any evidence of this.) As per yooj, I was listening to music on my iPhone. I really wish I could remember what I was listening to, because I'm sure it was something that now reveals itself to be super fucking ironic, as the universe tends to have a twisted sense of humor about stuff like this.

Anyway. The train approached. Naturally, I decided to pull my iPhone from the safe coccoon of my pocket so I could begin reading The New York Times daily email, because, you know, it was of the utmost importance that I read it right then. Because I always read it, every morning, and never fill my valuable time and brain space with Word Warp or Tap Tap Revenge.

The train stopped. The doors opened. iPhone in hand, eyes fixated on screen, I moved toward the open door. Then, something happened. I have no idea what. I would not be surprised if, had a photo been taken at the precise moment when this thing happened, you could literally see the hand of God reaching down through 116th street, into the subway station, and through my earbud cords, tangling them up and yanking with a malicious intent I will never understand. The iPhone tumbled from my hands, the earbuds popped from their snug homes in my ears, and the whole kit and caboodle went crashing down. Of course, this all happened in slow motion.

The phone hit the train, then the subway platform. My hand shot up to cover my mouth. (Side note: why is this such a natural human response when bad stuff happens? It's like the international sign for "OH SHIT! FUCKKKKK! SHITITITITITTTTT FUCKETY FUCK GODDAMNIT!") I said a silent, fervent prayer. Are you there, God? It's me, Meghan. Please please please no please don't let my iPhone fall into the gap, onto the tracks. No no no please.

I watched. It fell. It was gone. Heart stopped. I peered down and saw it. The screen was still lit up from where I had opened my e-mail. It glared up at me, and I could almost hear it crying: "You bitch! How dare you?! I (sob sob) love (sob sob) you (sob sob) so (sob sob) much (SOB). I looked up, into the still open doors of the train, and all the people were looking at me. Every single person on this crowded 6 train was staring at me, this poor jaded girl who had just lost her iPhone and her earbuds in one fail swoop, with her hand over her mouth. They all looked genuinely concerned and sympathetic. The front part of my iPhone case was on the train, so I reached in to grab it, and a man reached down to help me. They all scooted in to make room for me to board. But no. I waved thank you to them, and politely declined. I knew what I had to do.

The doors closed and the train lurched forward. Chucka, chucka, chucka. I looked down into the gap and saw the reflection of my still-lit iPhone screen over and over again in the frosted silver covering each subway car. Chucka, chucka, chucka, faster now. I would have taken a photo, but alas, in a brilliant fucking twist, the only camera on my person was now sitting at the bottom of the New York City subway. Chucka, chucka, chucka, faster still. Its light was a beacon of hope, on repeat. Here I am. Here I am. Here I am. I'm still here. I'm still here. I'm still here. To the beat of the train's wheels gliding along their tracks. Chucka chucka chucka. Come and get me.

The train passed. I moved faster than I've ever moved in my life. I took off my bag and put my (yes, wet) umbrella down. I jumped down onto the tracks. I grabbed my phone and the earbuds, which were still attached. I placed them on the platform. I looked down one more time. No sign of the back of my two-part iPhone case. Oh well, casualty of war. I hoisted myself back up, which was no small feat, because those rails are pretty far down. Standing in the pit, the top of the platform came up to about my chin. So I had to do that awkward move you do whenever you're getting out of a pool. Hands up, hoist up, lift one leg to the side and hoist again.

Once back amongst the living, I grabbed my phone and cradled it in my hands like a just-born kitten I had saved from certain death. I have no way of knowing this now, but I feel like I might have actually rocked back and forth, there on my knees on the subway platform. Don't fear, baby, mama's here, everything's going to be OK now. Amazingly, the screen was no more cracked than before I had dropped it. It was responsive to touch, and the home screen button appearaed to still be working. For good measure, I turned it off. It had just had a really traumatic morning. It needed to rest.

I turned it back on a few stops into my ride. It appeared to be working fine. Fuck, how lucky. The only thing I lost in this whole experience was the back of the case, which was a $5 investment I made on the streets of Harlem. Oh, and a little bit of my dignity and cleanliness - small prices to pay for a working iPhone that has made a trip to the bottom of the NYC subway.

I was planning on asking Santa for a new one this year, but now I kind of want to stay with this one forever. You know what they say about two individuals who have been through serious trauma together: they are connected for life, forged together forever, never to be torn asunder. My iPhone and me, we got this shit. We are strong. We are resilient. We are one.

And I just realized that I never fucking read The New York Times e-mail. Typical.

*It's worth noting that I wrote a good chunk of this post on the train, on my iPhone, post-drop


  1. AAAAAAAH!!! Oh how many times have I dwelled on this happening to me! I think I would have done the same, though—nothing comes between a 20-something and his or her iPhone. NOTHING.

  2. I read this and started believing this had happened to me. I don't know how I made that connection, but I was walking down the hallway thinking it was the worst day ever, and then I was like, wait, no, nothing extraordinary has happened today.

  3. Dear God, Meghan, I love this. I am awkwardly laughing out loud at my desk. Also, might I note to the rest of the readers out there: Miss Thang did all this in a super hot velvet dress. Suck it, MTA.

  4. I think you should get a tetanus shot, just to be safe...

  5. OH God! You jumped down on the Rail!? It's a good thing you didn't fall on the third rail and get electrocuted. And Oh, God, I understand this because if I dropped my blackberry I would probably do the same thing. But yeah, Rats. And Roaches. Ewwk.

  6. Wow! You are very brave! Good job!