Two years ago I bought a Motorola Droid phone at our local Verizon store in Key West. It’s been a great device for business and pleasure.  I recently bought a nice, new, protective cover for it with a photo of the wooden mileage sign from Fort Zachary Taylor Beach on the back. Carrying my Droid everywhere, I often shoved it into the back pocket of my shorts.

About a week ago Chris, my partner, musical and otherwise, and I biked over to the Green Parrot Bar late at night for a beverage and some warm, salty popcorn. Jeff and Beaver were behind the bar and we settled in for a bit. Chris put some money in the juke box but we didn’t stay long enough to be able to hear the songs he selected. Exiting the Parrot, we mounted our trusty bikes, heading south on Whitehead toward home.

I must not have heard the clatter of my phone popping out of my pocket because I got home without it. I had no luck locating it that night or the next day so I reported it missing to the police, posted it lost on the Facebook page “Key West Lost & Found,” then proceeded to Verizon Wireless to pick up a replacement. The Droid had almost been paid for so maybe it was time for a new one anyway.

Instead of opting for the insured replacement I selected the new Motorola Moto Z so I could walk out the door and communicate immediately. The sales associate was a young guy and very helpful. I sent out texts, began to move apps around and renew my digital phone existence. I took a liking to the phone immediately. The camera app is much more sophisticated than my old phone.

Later that day I received a call from someone with a 305 area code. They didn’t leave a message so I shrugged it off and ignored it. I rarely answer my phone if I don’t recognize the caller ID, so leave a message if you really want to talk to me. When I got home and checked Facebook on my Macbook I discovered that someone had found my lost phone! It had turned up at the Coast Guard ship museum the CGC Ingham, located at the end of Southard Street, a few blocks from the Green Parrot. I called the 305 number back to find out the call earlier was from a man that worked on the ship. I pedaled over and retrieved my phone. The cover was broken on the front and the phone was in setup mode but otherwise okay. At least now I would have a backup phone.

Then, this past Saturday, on a fabulously clear day, I went out on a boat.

Our friends Tadd and Lindsay have a fabulous catamaran, the Makara. She is 47 feet long, has four staterooms, a lovely kitchen and living area. She was built in South Africa and shipped to Key Largo where they picked her up and brought her to Key West, settling in a slip at Safe Harbor on Stock Island. Their business, World Sailing Adventures, is all about the Makara, which is available for charters and excursions. The Makara is also their home. Contact them for a great experience. They are amazing.

The Makara
The Catamaran Makara

As a bit of a mutual advertising deal, we decided to go out on the water to do music videos. The idea of the videos, which are under construction, is to showcase the charter business along with our original music, as Chris and I are songwriters and recording/performing artists. Armed with guitars, video cameras, tripods and phones, we headed out to the reef in the afternoon. On the way out we ran around making short videos of the boat, water, sail raising, anything atmospheric and fun.

Finally, we arrived at the reef. I was anxious to get done so we could get into the water to cool off. Chris was chatting with a couple on the boat so I grabbed his guitar, the video camera and my phone, which was attached to a mini tripod by one of those light metal clips, and headed forward on the boat on the starboard side.

Suddenly, I heard a click sound as the metal clip popped off the tripod. This had happened earlier. Why had I trusted it this time? Guitar in one hand, recorder and empty tripod in the other, I watched as my phone landed on the deck, then popped over the edge of the boat into its watery grave, 20 feet below. As with most things of this nature, it appeared to happen in slow motion. Filled with disbelief, I continued forward to the trampoline to put everything down so I could process what had just happened. Chris came forward and, laughing, I explained what had just happened and that I needed a hug.

Tadd threw an empty mouthwash bottle over the side with a long piece of line and a weight to mark the spot of my phone’s demise. We all snorkeled, checking out the amazing reef below, known as The Western Sambo Ecological Reserve, and looked for my phone near the marked area. Tadd even took a diving mask and tank down to the bottom but had no luck. We snorkeled for probably an hour or more, enjoying the sea fans, coral and colorful fish, before giving up on finding my device. I really feel terrible that my phone is part of this reef. I should have been more careful.

I know this sort of thing has happened to lots of folks. We all make mistakes. Mistakes are a chance to learn what not to do next time. I’ve learned not to put my cell phone in my back pocket, not to carry too many things on a boat (always have one hand free), not to trust those flimsy metal phone holders, and, when something falls overboard, not to wait too long to alert the crew. I’ve also learned that I’ve had to pay a lot of money over the past week. Thank goodness I have insurance on the phone. It could have been a lot more painful otherwise.

So, on Tuesday I get a new phone in the mail. In the meantime, I’m aware of what it’s like NOT to have this constant digital companion clamoring for attention with its constant notifications and noises. Having one is a pleasure, plus they are extremely useful, but also there is the price of not being focused on what’s going on around you or the people you are with. I’m contemplating how to minimize my new phone’s impact on my daily life without losing the ability to react on important matters in a timely way.

Here is one of the last photos I took with my drowned phone, saved to the Google cloud. It is just past sunset at the Key West Historic Seaport. If I get a call from a mermaid, I’ll let you know.




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