My cell phone died recently. I have an iPhone. iThink it’s a 3G but it may be a 4G or a 5G.

It’s at least a G and now that it’s gone dark, G might as well stand for goodbye.

iDid what everybody does when their phone dies. I pushed the buttons over and over again — the thin rectangular one on top and the round button at the bottom of the screen.

When that didn’t work, iPushed the buttons harder, in order to get the phone’s attention.

“We can do it my way or your way — it’s up to you.”

“My way” failed so I pushed the buttons so hard iMade button indentations on the tips of my index finger and thumb as if I had been playing a steel-string guitar.

When your phone dies, you’re on an island, an island without cell service. What do iDo? No calls, texts or contacts with people on the mainland.

Perhaps, it was a charging issue. iPlugged the phone in the charger, left for an hour and a half and when I returned, I pushed the buttons, this time not punitively but more in the spirit of, “I’m back. I hope you’ve had a nice rest.”

Nothing. I was off the grid. iLiked the sound of “off the grid.” It sounded romantic, like I was making moves and taking charge.

I tried not to think about all the passwords I’d lost. The passwords, songs and phone numbers. Maybe they were in the Cloud. iCould only hope so.

I emailed Sue and a couple of friends and told them I was off the grid if you didn’t count an iPad, the computer, three functioning air conditioners and a car.

I wasn’t off the grid; my cell phone didn’t work no matter how maniacally iPressed the buttons.

The next step was to go to the phone store, wait in line and learn from a salesperson, fashionably dressed in black wearing a Bluetooth earpiece, that I missed the upgrade window by a month.

Nothing to get mad about. This was life. It included phones that worked and phones that didn’t.

iDrove to the AT&T store on Truxtun. It was the wrong store. I was with the other company, but I hadn’t been able to check the address because my phone was dead.

I walked in and asked Richard, an employee, if he knew where the other company was located.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

I told him. Richard asked if he could see my phone. Yes, you can. Then he pressed the round button and the thin rectangular button at the same time and held them for about 30 seconds.

“Sometimes this works,” he said.

Sometimes it does. This time it did. The apple reappeared on the screen. Although the phone was almost out of juice, I was back in business.

Maybe there’s something to being off the grid. Not staring at your phone because when you look up, voila, a person. A kind person. iShould spend more time on that island.

Contact Californian columnist Herb Benham at 395-7279 or His work appears on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own.

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