Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Less than Excellent Adventures of Isabella the iPhone 6

I waited what seemed forever to be able to end my “dumb phone” contract and launch myself into the modern world with an iPhone. After a presentation by Mattie John Bamman at the Northwest Writers Conference, I was convinced I had to be uploading iPhone photos to Instagram or wither away as a modern travel writer.

So two weeks prior to my exciting writer’s trip to the Grand Circle area of the Southwest U.S., I brought home Isabella, the beautiful iPhone 6. I downloaded some key apps for my trip and practiced photography at the Wild About Game event. I wasn’t wild about my photos but was determined to do better soon.

Acoma Pueblo
Our writers’ trip of the Grand Circle, making for some grand photographs, began at Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. I became acquainted with my traveling partners and with our guide from Southwest Adventure Tours. I also dabbled a bit in iPhone photography that day.
As we traveled we talked, toured, photographed and ate. It was a great tour. But what was especially needed was tutoring. And, much to my surprise, a wonderful writer from New York City, noted author of the bridal and lifestyle site, The Anti Bridezilla, took me on as a student. Soon Isabella was taking panoramic shots, videos and more. Instagram hearts grew in number as I relied more and more on my iPhone for trip photography.
Journalist Dorian, the Anti-Bridezilla, was instrumental
in helping me rely more and more on my iPhone
for photos.
Eventually, it was time to return home. I took a last photograph of the modern but small Grand Junction Colorado airport and put my iPhone away. A short turbo-prop flight took me to Denver where I walked into the terminal and immediately was hit with the fact that I wasn’t in the rural desert anymore. I also had not been flying for some time and one forgets what air travel is like nowadays.

The terminal was huge and I had to rush from one end to the other to pick up luggage and hand transfer it to my next flight on Southwest Airlines. I took a motorized cart ride to the inter-terminal train, arrived at the main terminal, found my luggage and took my iPhone out to show the agent my boarding pass. It was then that everything went to Hell in a hand basket as they say.

The image didn’t come up, the agent asked me to remove the tags from my suitcase, I put the iPhone down to do that and the agent quickly handed me a printed boarding pass. I had yet to pass through TSA security so grabbed it and walked briskly to the HUGE security area under a HUGE American flag.

Meanwhile Isabella, unbeknownst to me, was abandoned…. left at the check in counter, alone. Ultimately some kind soul found her and turned her in. But I was busy disrobing and tossing my carefully packed belongings into bins. Barefoot, I went through the de-humanizing process of the security checkpoint. I quickly picked up my gear and put my shoes on. Where to next? The train again!

I boarded the train to my gate area and noticed how crowded it was. I thought a photo was in order. I reached for Isabella but … she was gone! The train stopped, discharged passengers and I found my gate.

Meanwhile Isabella was frantic. She knew she’d miss the flight. I was frantic. I went through everything I had, checking all pockets. No Isabella! I approached the gate agent and told him my story. He did call the ticketing area but they hadn’t seen my iPhone.  He was kind enough to send an E-mail to my friend who was picking me up in Portland and was expecting a confirming phone call.
The multi-level Denver Airport
isn't easy to navigate when you are in a hurry.
Later I was told they paged me but I didn’t hear or see anything. By then I was no longer human. I was B-1 in line to board.

On board, after the drink and snack service, I asked to speak to the flight attendant. I told him my story. He said to contact the Baggage Department in Portland as that is who would be responsible for lost items. (By then I was praying that Isabella was still in the hands of SWA employees because I had faith in their systems and growing fear of anything related to the Denver Airport.)

Once in Portland, I rushed to the Baggage Office. The staff member there gave me the phone number for the SWA Baggage Office in Denver. Safely in my friend's car, I borrowed her phone and called… no voice mail came on and no one answered. I was pretty stressed by then.

I arrived home, jumped in my car and went back to the airport area to the Verizon Store in Cascades. There we logged on to the iCloud and found that Isabella was no longer on and was not transmitting her location. It was there that they kindly allowed me to use the phone and I did reach DEN SWA Baggage. Mary answered… a real human being. She said there were several cell phones there and she would check for mine and send me an email (since I had no phone). She was very accommodating.

I rushed home and stopped to pick up dinner on the way. I looked down at the iPad Mini that I brought with me for email. There was an email from Mary. Isabella had been found! She was there! All that I needed to do was to get a FedEx account and let Mary know so they could send Isabella home. I was so excited!

The next day I headed over to the FedEx office near my home. I signed up for an account on their computer and the next step was to receive the account number via email. I had hoped to get everything taken care of at the FedEx office but they would NOT let me use the computer to get the email unless I rented some time. And they would NOT let me use the phone to call DEN SWA Baggage.  I was NOT pleased.

So I went home, picked up the FedEx email with the account number and, via Facebook messaging, asked my friend to make the call for me.

She did so and communicated with me via email that Isabella the iPhone would be riding on a huge FedEx jet in order to get home the next day. And, I was told, I’d better be at home so sign for her!
Home again!
So Isabella’s adventure is now over and she is happily recharging here in the office. This has all happened thanks to the good folks at Southwest Airlines, at the Verizon Store in Cascades and to my patient friend, Wendy.  I can soon continue my adventures in iPhone photography. And, I have learned my lesson. I will get insurance on my phone!

It has taken a village to bring little lost Isabella home and I’ve appreciated the kindness of the people along the way.

And, if you want to see the quality of iPhone 6 photos that Isabella produces, follow me on Instagram.