March 3, 2017

A Sticky Situation

I had to get a new cell phone over the weekend. The screen on my old one went completely dark and the guy at the Verizon store told me it was beyond repair. This type of thing can be very stressful. What is it about the relationship we form with an inanimate object that gives us so much comfort and identity? Sad, huh? 

My husband jokingly said while we were sitting at the counter waiting for the salesperson, "remember when a phone was just a thing that hung on the kitchen wall?" 

We've come a long way baby. 

As a sidenote, I think the salesman upsold me on the fanciest, most expensive phone out there but I didn't realize it until things had already progressed too far. 

By then, I had already decided I liked the phone. I told him I needed a phone for my business (probably a mistake) and he said without skipping a beat, "You're in luck because this is a business phone." Is that even a thing? 

Of course just the phone itself isn't enough also needs the fancy protective case which now does not come equipped with a glass protector. That's sold separate for an additional $40. 

After the guy got everything packed up and ready for me, I paid my bill and left the store, placing the new phone in my purse as I went along about my day. 

Last night when I was using my new phone, I noticed there was something sticky on the case near the mouthpiece. Not knowing what that could be I remembered the phone salesperson using a piece of rolled up packing tape to remove any lint from the screen before applying the screen protector (high tech, I know). 

I thought maybe some of the tape adhesive had gotten stuck to the phone, causing it to be sticky. I figured it wasn't that big of a deal and so I took a wet tissue, wiped it off and went on with my business. 

This morning I was driving to work and my phone started ringing. Except I didn't realize it was ringing because I didn't know what the ringtone sounded like. I thought it was a pretty song playing on the radio. Business phone, my foot. 

When I got to my destination, I pulled my phone out of my purse to check my message and noticed that once again there was something sticky near the mouthpiece. 

I thought, "Okay this is ridiculous. I have paid too much for this phone for it to have some kind of weird sticky stuff oozing out of it." 

I went through every possible scenario in my mind as to how the sticky stuff could have found its way on there. 

Maybe it was something the sales guy had used in the cleaning process like I thought with the tape. Maybe he didn't get all the packaging materials and clear plastic films removed from the case before he put the phone into it. 

I thought and thought and thought about what could be causing this problem and what the phone salesperson might have done to cause it. 

Later as I was slipping my new phone into the side pocket of my purse, I remembered something. To try and protect my new investment, I had been storing it in a single side pocket on the inside of my purse. I reached into the pocket, feeling all the way down to the very bottom and found a glob of sticky substance. 

Who knows what piece of random candy might have found its way in there before adhering to the lining of my purse, but it was certainly my doing. All along the problem with the stickiness had been caused by something I did. 

Thoughts to ponder...when I was confronted with the situation, I felt certain it had been caused by somebody else. I never even considered the stickiness on my phone had to do with me. 

How often do we neglect to see our own role in a problem? How often do we refuse to see that the problem we're dealing with might have been caused by ourselves? How often do we want to look at every other person or thing and say that maybe they are causing our problem. 

When it's really our own fault all along. 

This applies in so many areas of my life. 

So many times I feel frustrated about a situation and it feels completely natural to look at all the other people involved and point at all the things I wish they could do differently. 

And sometimes, they are part of the problem. And sometimes my frustration is their fault. But sometimes, just like the sticky goo on my cell phone, it's something I'm doing that causes my frustration.  It's not always so easy to see this. But it's a good thing when we get a little bit of clarity and have that "Aha!" moment. 

No matter what, I have a role to play in any given situation. Instead of immediately putting the blame on somebody else, and launching a Nancy Drew style investigation as to where to place blame, maybe I should just consider myself first.