Death of a Wankerphone

2009 so far:

1. Gareth nearly burned the house down. Or as he would tell it, I nearly burned the house down. It was an unfortunate alignment of random objects:

i. My make-up mirror, the one that magnifies your advancing years in spectacular fashion, was sitting on top of a cupboard, and then along came…

ii. A giant blazing beam of sunlight coming through the window (sunlight in Scotland in January, WTF) which bounced off the mirror and bored into…

iii. Gareth’s “Executive Chair”, which is made of some faux-leather crap so it started to smoulder … which Gareth discovered upon returning to a smoky office after lunch.

2. My book got translated into German, Finnish and American, so I’ve been pimping it to the max before it is consigned to the multilingual remainder bins of history.

3. Last night I washed my iPhone.

Before you say anything Mothership, I didn’t leave it in my pocket. You know I always check my pockets. Except for the 756 times I left crumpled tissues in them and you would bellow from the laundry, SHOORRRNNNAAA, and my heart would run cold.

Anyway, let me walk you through it.

i. On Sunday morning I emptied my laundry bag onto the bed and sorted the dirty clothes ready for washing.

ii. Went off to eat brekkie and forgot about clothes.

iii. 5PM and waiting for the Tesco Man to deliver the groceries. Sometimes he calls if running late, so I took iPhone into the bedroom and wedged myself up against the window. We don’t get mobile reception at our new place but sometimes you can get half a bar at the window if you’re lucky.

iv. By coincidence the Tesco Man arrived at that very moment so I chucked phone on bed and answered the door.

v. 6PM. Groceries were packed away and I remembered the dirty clothes. Went back into bedroom, didn’t both turning light on and scooped up pile of clothes. Put the washing machine on.

vi. Can’t find my phone anywhere.

vii. Four hours later, I remember that I’ve got clothes in the machine. I remove the clothes and there is the stupid phone. Dead, dead, dead and stinking of lavender.

I bought the iPhone last September after months of turmoil as to whether I should buy something so frivolous. It would go against the frugal farmgirl roots; I’d always been on Ā£10 a month pay-as-you-go. But I eventually succumbed to lust and walked out of the O2 Shoppe with the goods, wobbly with fear and guilt.

It was like when I moved out of home and purchased Heinz tomato ketchup instead of Home Brand. Or when I first bought Nike trainers instead of Leisure 7s or plastic Apple Pies. I thought God would come busting through the clouds and say, “YOU. DECADENT. FOOL!” and vaporise me then and there despite my begging, “Please sir, I got them from the factory outlet.”

I loved that phone; I named it Basil. The whole time I was waiting to be mugged because you just know, deep down, that you’re not someone who’s meant to own that sort of thing. But I never thought I would ruin it by my own hand, for crying out loud.

Googling revealed that I wasn’t the only donut who’s washed their phone. Apparently laundered iPhones have come back to life after being left in a bag of rice for a few days.

“Arborio or basmati?” Gareth yelled from the kitchen.

“Basmati,” I said, reasoning that because basmati cooks quickly, it would heal my stupid phone quickly. Yeah that makes sense. Zoe joked this morning that we should have used arborio as it absorbs more moisture, and tonight I am looking at my cloudy-screened paperweight in its ricey-Tupperware coffin and sincerely wishing I’d thought of that.

Anyway, that was a very expensive load of laundry.

I just wanted to say, yes it was a Wankerphone as Gareth called it. But I loved it and it was very useful. I will miss my Mr Plow ringtone and how a photo of Gareth flipping the bird popped up when he called. I will miss listening to podcasts, checking train timetables, obsessing over to do lists, misspelling things with the touchy keyboard, compulsively checking email and squinting at electronic books.

Most of all I will miss the alarm clock. You could select noises such as “Harp” or “Robot” or “Bark”, the latter which sounded like a German Shepherd saying, GET UP OR I’LL BITE YOUR FUCKING LEGS OFF. But now I must rely on the Scottish sun to wake me up. If it can set a chair on fire surely it can get me out of bed in the morning.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! Iā€™m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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41 thoughts on “Death of a Wankerphone

  1. Oh, ho, I hate to laugh at your pain…but surely that was the point? šŸ˜€ I also have a fear of being branded a decadent fool, plus I’m inherently cheap. I do buy nicer stuff these days but still sometimes feel like I’m getting away with something shady. Can’t wait for an update to see if it is truly resurrected by the rice!

    That is also truly impressive about the sunlight fire. Photo of chair, please?

  2. egads i think there would be tears if i washed my iphone.
    I think my hub feels it is a bit of a wankerphone but i think that is more to do with me ignoring him when im using it.
    I assume you didn’t happen to have insurance on it? I’ve fracked up previous phones good and proper and got replacements via insuranace.

  3. Sorry to hear about this, but have you turned it on?

    My husband, who knows about these things, says you have a good chance of it still working if you DO NOT turn it on until it is positively, definitely dry inside and out.

    A couple of years ago, my brother washed his phone (or rather Mum did. He’d left it in his pyjama pocket, and amazingly she didn’t suspect he’d have put his phone in there.) It survived after being dried out.

    Actually, come to think of it, the same brother (my one and only) also burned a small hole in a lampshade with his shaving mirror, in exactly the manner you describe. You aren’t related to me a long way back, are you?

    It doesn’t sound like a great start to the year, but things can, as they say, only get better. Big hugs.

  4. Ohhh noes!

    Life without an iPhone? Hurl yourself in front of that sun/mirror laser beam thingy and put yourself out of your misery!!

    And, funnily enough, my Mum used to shout at me for leaving tissues in my pockets too, same as yours.

    Except not the “SHOORRRNNNAAA” bit, obviously…

    Hope the rice works out well, I usually add a touch of garlic to give it a nice flavour. Although not sure what flavour the iPhone will be… still, marinades can take a while to work so you are wise to leave it a few days.

    iPhone rice. Who knew!

  5. I have to apologise in advance because that is just too funny, in the bizarre sense. You hear how mirrors can do that but to actually see it happen!? Damn about the iPhone too. I bet you’ll be checking the laundry before you do it next time!! Something similar has happened to me and ever since, I go through all the dirty laundry before it goes in. Especially pockets. Tissues and black clothes does not make me a happy girl.

  6. That is classic, almost burning the house down because of the sun!!!
    that in scotland is insanely crazy… you know that right.
    lucky Gareth was on hand to save the beloved chair!

    fingers crossed your phone survives it’s sensational cleaning effort..

    hey if cats can survive, a phone just might stand a chance

  7. Oh dear, what a stinker.

    I know all about that sneaky guilty feeling you get spending ACTUAL money on things you WANT rather than need (must be a farm girl thing). It took me years to work up the courage to buy my ipod. And guess what? SNAP – I called my ipod Basil too!

  8. Pack it in the tupperware container with those silica gel packets that you get with shoes. With “other” phones, I would also take it apart front/back casing to help it dry out (this may void your warranty, but I guess you’ve already done that). Takes about 1 week for other phones that are not iphones

  9. I can imagine the mirror thing – like some kind of “mystical day” in an Indiana Jones (before it got crap) movie when all the heavenly objects align to bring the [insert suitably awe inspiring or scary being] back to life. Instead, it probably reminded you to get a smoke alarm so you can have a future of waking up to the “battery running low” beeping šŸ™

    As for the iPhone – aaaaaargh! I’ve never used anything electronic so much – even being a Mac zealot. I even walk to work reading the news headlines (and What’s New Pussycat and Dietgirl rss feeds) looking like some future Star Trek style scientist analysing London with a tri-corder – or looking like a complete git (I do still look both ways crossing the road!).

    …that and developing a bad case of the iPhone “poised to stroke, finger curl”.

    My sympathy is with you! šŸ˜‰

    Scott F

  10. Aww Shauna! I have nothing but sympathy for you and Basil… I hope he pulls through! I don’t have an iPhone but I have an iPod Touch and I can’t begin to imagine life without Caspa! He does everything that the iPhone does expect phone, funnily enough – buy who uses an iPhone to actually phone anyway?! I was surprised to find my iPod actually played music, I was so mesmorised with all its other wonderful, amazing and life saving functions (like the mini piano I downloaded woo!)…

    Sorry, I’m getting carried away… I’ll be off for now to run through a local meadow with Caspa, with the sun blaring in my face… (and hopefully not bouncing off Caspa’s shiny backside and burning me to death)


  11. What is it with us farmgirls?!

    If it’s a comfort to you and Basil, I accidentally threw my mobile phone into a skip bin on New Year’s Day. I now know I can climb in and out of a skip bin unaided, provided there is a bag of rubbish to stand on.

  12. I did exactly the same thing with my samsung mobile ~ picked it up with a pile of laundry and put it through the wash. Worse, when I realised I couldn’t find it, I rang it twice from my land line to locate it, the first time, it was actually ringing! Then the cold realisation washed over me as I stared at the washing machine that was going round on a 50 degree wash.

    Anyhoo, I know nought about Iphones (except I want one) but I dried my old samsung out very sucessfully, took the casing apart, took the sim out and the battery, and left it all on a sunny windowsill for 2 or 3 days. worked a treat.

    Of course, by that point I had given up all hope and gone and got a new mobile. (I have a patience issue).

    Apparntly if you wash it and its on it is worse than if you wash it and its switched off. sorry!

    hope it recovers soon.

  13. thank everyone for the comments!

    bushra – i didn’t take the O2 insurance … Ā£8 a month over an 18 month contract seemed too much at the time.. I KNOW. might be covered by contents insurance but i doubt it. Yes, i am a fool šŸ™‚

    margaret – another basil! no way!? how cool!

  14. Sorry about Basil. Electronics can recover if left to dry.
    My blackberry went on a water ride at Hershey Park and recovered in four days. I suppose it’s too late to apply for device insurance??

  15. Oh lord. Your book had to be translated for Americans? Are we really so stupid that we can’t read English? This country is going to pot, I tell you what.

  16. Glad your house didn’t set on fire! (Though, maybe your phone would have been covered by insurance then?)

    Mr. Plow, eh? Martin’s phone is set to Spider Pig šŸ™‚

  17. Dag, so maybe this is why my photo/text to you bounced the other day when I was in the library and saw your book being reviewed in FUCKING PEOPLE MAG. I almost cried, I swear. The pic lives on my phone. Come to Chicago and I will showwww you. Also, let me know if you want me to send any Fucking People Magazine. šŸ˜€

  18. your post about it was far more priceless than the actual phone. it died an honourable death for you.

  19. This story is too sad. I too have named my iPhone. I call it “meth” in honour of its addictive properties. I hate the thought of you having tasted the delights and now having to do without.

    I have a proposition for you: even though I am a student and therefore utterly cheap, I will order a copy of _Diet Girl_ this very minute if you will put the royalties towards a new wankerphone. I know nothing about these things, so for all I know you get a nickel a book or something, but it’s a start!

  20. Oh the agony! I have a lovely LG Chocolate that almost suffered the same fate after a toilet dive (Wouldn’t it figure, the only time I put it in my backpocket!).
    I took it apart and dried it on the windowsill for a few days and it is fine. I thought it was a goner for sure.

  21. My boy washed his samsung something-or-other… I dried it on the window sill and though the battery life is now terrible, it works.

    I hope your book’s been translated into upper-midwest American and not Texas Merikan. I can’t understand that southern stuff to save my life. Can we poor yankees purchase the British version?

  22. Ha Ha, don’t suffer in turmoil. My boyfriend bought a new iphone, a month or two later they came out with the one with the more g’s (or whatever). Somehow he “lost” his iphone awhile later. No problem, he just went out and replaced it. Do you believe that crap? I went without a digital camera for two years after I lost mine in Mexico. Silly me, I thought I deserved to suffer.

  23. My fiance calls it ‘the Jesus phone’ because everyone who has one is evangelical about it šŸ™‚ He’s just jealous of mine I think! I would be gutted if I lost mine (named Minerva)so I hope yours dries out okay!

  24. The Scottish sun will indeed wake you up, no problem. Unfortunately, in January, that will be at sunrise. Or 9am as it is otherwise known. Might make you a bit late for work……….

  25. My boyfriend washed his ipod last month in a really similar matter! I’ve been laughing at him for weeks about it now, but uhm, seriously, if you get applecare with your iphone just go to the MAC store and tell them that it stopped working and you don’t know why. Saying you washed it instantly voids your warranty, but a dead product under normal wear and tear usually means a replacement product. Thats what my boyfriend got after I did the silica gel trick and got his hard drive running but found out his battery was kaput.

  26. You have sun in Scotland? At this time of the year? Sounds like a very tall tale to me!

    On a more prosaic note, check your household insurance – you may be covered. Fingers crossed that the sods law of insurance doesn’t kick in. You know, the one that only covers you for stuff that you never need to claim for. That’s why insurance people are very very rich.


  27. Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard. The part about the tissues-that’s me too! I check my pockets & the little things still get in there. Best part about being the laundry fairy-you get to keep what you find. Once in a blue moon hubby leaves money in his pockets. Mwahaha! All mine!

    Heard a story on the radio last week about folks who drop their phones in the toilet, even porta-potties. Yuck! Had to stop myself when I realized I was about to walk into the bathroom with brand new iPod Nano.

    Sage-yes, us poor yanks can get the British version. I also wanted the cool DG cover and authentic aussie/scot slang. Mine has been placed on special order by Waterstones-since Dec 23rd. Hey, UK folks-any place I can get it faster?

    I hope your phone dries out & you don’t start any more fires.



  28. Lifewithout – bless you šŸ™‚ what a legend!

    sage – i was just joking about american translations, its really not been changed much at all for the US! just colour is turned into color… etc etc šŸ™‚

    SSB – aww yuck! i think i’d rather a laundered phone than a loo-drowned one!

    hey folks, i let it dry out for four days but alas it was dead when i plugged it in. i would try the Genius bar trick but apparently they can tell the difference between a really soggy phone and a normal dead one šŸ™‚

  29. One of my bikes is called Basil! He doesn’t fit in the washing machine. And he’s waterproof too. Sorry – this isn’t helping is it?

  30. Oh you poor thing! I know exactly what you mean about the decadence and not being meant to own that kind of thing. So sorry Basil did not revive (would that make it some kind of zombiephone?) but you know they really are wankerphones. I’m not sure I can continue the relationships with those of my friends who own them; they have become snotty and too absorbed with playing phone bowling.

    p.s. I love that your mother calls you Shorna, sort of like you call me Mahler.

  31. I have nothing useful to add about phones but my colleague (twice divorced) has started going out with somone called Basil. Are you sure your phone hasn’t just faked his death so as to start a relationship with her?

  32. my child placed her ipod into a rice-coffin after its toilet excursion.

    Sorry to say, it never regained consciousness.

  33. my child placed her ipod into a rice-coffin after its toilet excursion.

    Sorry to say, it never regained consciousness.

  34. I left my wankerphone at the sushi place where I eat my lunch…after only four weeks of possessing said phone. I also am not one of those people who is meant to have these things so it was only a matter of time. I think what most upset me is that I am the most anal retentive person in the world when it comes to unnecessary insurance purchases but for once, I lived large and said no thanks to the handset insurance. The most puzzling was how sad I got – like a pet had died but hey, another $600 later and I have quality time again with my second wankerphone

  35. fifi, looks like this rice is one of those bloody annoying urban myths. i dared to dream!

    fiona – oh i totally get that, i can’t believe how SAD i was (okay, still am). it’s just a gadget but… dang. so did you get insurance this time? šŸ™‚

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