We like to tease Millennials about their smartphone addiction. But the fact of the matter is, most of us have mobile devices within arms' reach. And nothing makes us happier than four bars and a full battery.
I received my own personal reminder recently when my iPhone 6S began to behave erratically. It had fallen victim to the "Sudden Shutdown Syndrome" (SSS), which was plaguing a batch of early production models.
I remember the day clearly. I was happily snapping photos for Instagram when the screen went black without warning.
"What the hell! I have 42% left on my battery. This is an outrage."
The truly evil aspect of this disease is that the phone would not return to life until it was connected to a power adapter. Then it would come to life like nothing ever happened.
"Well, something did happen, my friend. You left me. I didn't even get to post that shot."
I would sulk for a bit, then make up, and finally go on knowing that all relationships have their ups and downs. That is, until it happened again a few days later.
"I think we need to talk. This behavior is becoming a pattern. And I don't think you realize how it makes me feel."
The phone was silent.
"Oh sure, now you're holding back notifications too. What next? No Snapchat?"
It was time for outside help. I went to the Apple Support page and learned that it wasn't my phone's fault. SSS was a disease, not a behavior. I started to feel guilty about my selfish thoughts.
"We have to get you help," I said with quiet determination.
I logged on to Apple Support Chat and told my counselor what had happened.
"We can't get you an appointment at the Genius Bar right now. Our next opening isn't until next week."
"Oh..." I typed deflatedly.
"But wait. There is an Apple Service Provider downtown that can see you today. Should I book an appointment?"
"Yes, Yes Please!" I typed and hit the Return key.
(Now I was feeling like I had used too many caps in my hurried response. "Too needy," I thought, "Way too needy...")
The good news was that my phone did qualify for a new battery at no charge. (There's a pun in there somewhere.) The bad news was that SSS was a full-blown outbreak, and that the new fuel cells were backordered.
"We'll call you when the battery comes in," the tech said coldly.
I have to admit, the next two weeks were difficult. It's funny how people are sympathetic about those who are sick. ("Oh, your poor iPhone!") But what about those who have to care for them? No matter. We managed to get through it. One day at a time, right?
Then the call came. My battery had arrived. I headed downtown for outpatient surgery.
"This will only take about an hour," the tech said. "Why don't you go get a cup of coffee."
Now, my iPhone 6S is better than ever. Now we're taking pictures together, sending witty emojis, and keeping up on the news. I've never been happier.
My advice to others is simple. Don't be afraid to seek help if your battery begins to fail. I know that you think you can tough it out. But don't put yourself though it.
Nobody likes a martyr.