I planned to begin my return to blogging with a piece on the dumpster fire that has been 2016 thus far, but a side-project tonight has left me a bit side-tracked. Perhaps a “year in review” would best be placed at the end of December. Instead, I give to you a piece about deleting contacts from my phone, because who doesn’t love a good yarn about purging the excess?
My new job provides a work phone that I can also use as my personal phone, so I’m going to be transferring to that phone completely in the very near future. While other select areas of my life are getting an upgrade, I’ll be trading in my iPhone 6S for an iPhone 5S. But hey, you can’t beat free. And you certainly can’t beat free when you’re paying $107 a month to Sprint for your phone. Talk about overpaying. But anyway, in preparation for this change, I decided to go through my contacts and clean up the list.
Luckily signing into my personal iCloud account made it easy to transfer all my settings to the work phone, but doing so also brought over a lot of contact baggage. Moving forward, it seems like a good idea to lighten the load. And while I now feel like my phone is prepped for the future, deleting each contact brought up a surprising amount of memories, running the gamut funny to cringeworthy to meaningful.
I deleted the number to Hogwarts from my phone. Maybe I should have tried calling the number to see who picked up, but I didn’t. Missed opportunity. The memory of when I added this number to my phone eludes me. My money is on it being added during my time in Green Bay, but I can’t say for sure. I’m sure this was some kind of promo number for something ties to the release of the later movies, but why I actually added it as a contact, I’ll never know. Deleted.
Another fiction related number that I saw fit to add to my contacts in the past was a number I saved as “Hunger Games.” This one I remember clearly. It was tied to a promo for the release of the first Hunger Games movie, which opened during the spring of 2012. My friend Mike found the number and a group of those of us who worked at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay’s Office of Residence Life at the time took turns calling. The number sent you to an automated message that gave you a randomized message about how you fared in the games. I did pretty well, hiding in a field until I got stung by a bunch of tracker jackers, hallucinated, and then died. It seemed better than my friend Becky’s fate. She finally got a bowl of hot soup (her real-life favorite food) from one of her sponsors, only to have her head cut off by the fellow tribute from her district. The ultimate betrayal.
I remember that time well because Mike and I actually dressed up and went to the movie (see photo evidence below) and a kid in line at the theater shouted at us, “This isn’t Harry Potter!”
I actually tried the number years later, but it was no longer connected to The Hunger Games. Deleted.
Rounding out the funny was the number for Jimmy John’s in Charleston, Illinois. I deleted a number of contact related to my time at Eastern Illinois University in this purge, but this one made me laugh. I could have easily walked across campus to the store, but grad school was the ultimate experiment in laziness. As a fun fact, Jimmy John’s was started in Charleston. Ironically, that store is one of the slowest I’ve ever experienced. I did not freak. In fact, they often left me and my cohort waiting for our delivery orders, asking ourselves, “Where the fuck is Jimmy?”
All I know is that it would take Jimmy down in Charleston a heck of a long time to deliver a sandwich to me up in Milwaukee. Deleted.
I came across several numbers of guys that I’ve ghosted over the last several years. Yes, I’ve fallen into that millennial trend or faux pas or whatever you’d like to call it. I’m not proud of it, but I have a hard time dating (more on that in future posts, no doubt), and sometimes it’s easier to be a shitty person and just disappear, rather than having a difficult conversation (or sending a difficult text, per modern times) when you weren’t in a real relationship to begin with. I’m proud to say I haven’t been guilty of this since turning 30 four months ago, so let’s chalk all of those numbers up to mistakes from my 20s. Time for a fresh start with far more integrity. Deleted.
One number I happily deleted was a dating situation in which I did not ghost the guy. This was the guy who ultimately sold me on asking permission before kissing. While out on our first date, he grabbed my face and started kissing me in a bar. I had a cold at the time, so I was hoping that would be a deterrent, but no dice. I made an excuse about not liking PDA to get him to stop. I wish I had just told him to fuck off, but I’m too nice in person and rarely get a good quip in. When I do, it’s a rare moment that needs to be celebrated. Regardless, I let this guy down via text rather than disappearing completely. It was more than he deserved. Deleted.
While this next set of numbers isn’t necessarily cringeworthy, they fall more into this category than any of the others. There were quite a few numbers I simply can’t place in my memories. First names or even full names of people I clearly haven’t ever had the occasion to call or text. Some of these no doubt have come from nights out and about, but others were probably just from someone passing through my life, or vice versa. Deleted.
One number that gave me pause was an entry labelled “Grandparents.” I had to actually look at the number one more time. It was a number that, as a child, I used to know by heart. My grandpa passed away in April and their house has since been sold. I don’t have any grandparents left, now. Life is constantly changing, but as I look back it’s easy to feel like things stayed the same for a long time. When it comes to family, we try to keep traditions alive as the years go by, but I think that, with more and more people making an exit as time goes on, it gets somehow easier to accept the inevitable changes as the years go by. As Robert Frost noted, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”
With pause and reflection, deleted.
The rest of the numbers that I removed are those of people I simply don’t talk to anymore. Sure, we might like each other’s Facebook posts or Instagram photos from time to time, if we’re lucky to have connected on social media. But these are the people I can’t imagine calling or texting, which in this modern age one can argue is an intimate form of communication. Liking a social media post gives a sense of connection, sure, but it takes less effort and doesn’t carry of weight of potential rejection from the recipient. Let me explain. The numbers that fell into this category are people I can’t imagine sending a personal message to, at least not over the phone. They are the people I’d imagine saying, “Who’s this texting me?” or “Who’s Laura?” or worse, “Why the hell is she texting me?” Maybe I’m overthinking this whole thing, but these are the people that I can’t imagine texting to give them my new number, because, simply put, they don’t need to know it. We don’t talk anymore, or whatever the circumstances that necessitated we be in contact have ceased to exist.
Many of the numbers I cleared were those of former coworkers or staff members from my days working in residence life. It doesn’t make those people any less important in terms of what they were to me at the time, but we aren’t in contact anymore. Their numbers are likely different now, or they may have forgotten me. For better or worse, I have a very good memory, so I live with the assumption that those I remember have forgotten me. Maybe that says more about me than I would like, or that I even fully understand.
Deleting these numbers allowed me a little journey back through time, back to Marquette, back to EIU, back to GB, and even back to when I was first getting established after moving back to Milwaukee. Sometimes life feels like an endless revolving door or people coming and going, and you just hope some of them will want to stay. But for better or worse, I think we only have the capacity to connect meaningfully with a handful of people. The rest we have to let go.
With a mix of memories and emotions, deleted.