PIN code RED

Yesterday, on the way out the door, my iPhone stopped working.  If it’s not ringing as you’re walking out, it’s shutting down and asking for PIN codes you don’t have.   Already late for pick up, and one of my appendages had decided he doesn’t want to come with. He wanted to stay home in the comforts of Wi-Fi (well me too!) when I needed him to get out and roam the Orange network.   So in my pocket he went.  We would have a talk in the car.  I would tell him it takes two to Tango. (wireless provider pun intended.)

 Oh how we love thee.

Oh how we love thee.

You cannot drive and troubleshoot your phone at the same time.  I know that now.  I knew that then.  There is just something about that “No Service” message that makes you want to take immediate action.  I still believe you can drive and put on lipstick, but as soon as you waste one of three attempts on a PIN code you know you don’t have (let’s try my birthday!) – it’s best to stop, drop, and roll through the memory bank. 

 So … the iMemory.  I brought my iPhone with me from the US.  Before leaving, my carrier agreed to unlock my iPhone so that I could use it another network.  In real time, that sentence took me approximately 1,068 minutes to execute.  And I used to work there.  Legacy only gets you so far.  To complete my Authorized iPhone unlock, I would need to connect to iTunes to backup and restore my iPhone.  I reasoned I would take that step only once I signed a contract for service here.  To restore is to start again and we all know how much effort that takes.

I signed up for service with Orange two weeks ago.  It worked like a charm.  They swapped my SIM, all my contacts/photos/apps remained intact, and everything was the same except for my new local number.  In real time, that sentence took me approximately 14 minutes to execute.  I didn’t care that I was signing a French contract I wasn’t reading – I figured there was a diplomatic clause somewhere in there and lookey see! – I still have Facebook and Stitcher!  After cheering my sales rep on like he had just cured eczema (cancer would have been too much a stretch there), I did ask what about that “backing up to iTunes” to complete my authorized unlock from my previous carrier, and he shrugged and said: “But it’s working, no?”  Why yes it is, so never mind.  Merci!

At this point, my iMemory is saying “But the email.  Step 5.  After restoring, your iPhone will be unlocked. You read that no?”  Crap.  My previous carrier has found me!  They know that I have not followed the instructions to complete my Authorized Unlock.  And I know that legacy has no merit where rogue IMEIs are concerned.  We are now in unauthorized territory and they have taken punitive action by shutting off my device.  With that realization, I decide that I must race home after pick up, connect to iTunes and restore my naughty iPhone.

 At pick up, I hurry my son into the car because I MUST DO THIS RIGHT AWAY.  And, there is another pick up in one hour.  I know in my heart that restoring my iPhone is more than an hour’s job, but I am not to be deterred.  RED LIGHT #1.  On the one hand, I need my lifeline back and on the other, I have done a bad thing for which I need to atone quickly.

Once at home, I go to launch iTunes.  Uh-oh.  I have not downloaded iTunes to the laptop we brought to Luxembourg.  (Insert shameless plug for Amazon Cloud Player.)  That feels like a set back.  RED LIGHT #2.  I then go to my web browser to find the iTunes download, and my Internet connection decides to freeze.  And while I’m not walking out the door at this point, I do still have my jacket on and so I feel like my iPhone and laptop are ganging up on me.  RED LIGHT #3.  Once the Internet connection is back up, I go to iTunes which is forcing me to a Belgium version of the download.  No, no, no.  I need the US version so my US carrier can find me and forgive me.  He does not know that I am in Belgium.  I’m not even in Belgium.  I’m in Luxembourg.  RED LIGHT #4.  That then leads me to logging in to my paid VPN service which will tunnel me into a US IP address so I can get to iTunes, US gignam style.  This file is big and my VPN tunnel is small.  RED LIGHT #5.  Mind you, I now have only 30 minutes left.  And where is the iPhone USB cord?????????????????  RED LIGHT #6.  A soft voice asks a question.  I think it’s my son, and so I tell him, “Eat whatever you want, but when I say – get your shoes on.  GET YOUR SHOES ON.  Mommy is about to restore her iPhone back to it’s factory settings and we don’t have a lot of time.”  RED LIGHT #7.  iPhone USB cord found, but wait, how will it work unless I put back my old SIM?  I go to find the Orange file with my new French contract and old SIM.  I find it, but the folder is empty.  RED LIGHT #8.  Why is the folder empty?  Because my husband is conserving folders.  He has re-filed it to a place that makes complete sense to anyone that is not panic stricken and about to lose all her contacts.  This eats up 7 minutes.  RED LIGHT #9.  I find the old SIM along with a paper clip and think: “Finally, some good news.  I woulda been pissed if the guy forget to include the paper clip.”  (Brett is conserving desk supplies too.)  At this point, I look at the clock.  I’m late.  I then look at my son who has eaten through an entire bag of chips.  Or was that me?  And I shout: “WHY DON’T YOU HAVE YOUR SHOES ON YET?!” RED LIGHT #10-12.

He muscles his shoes on.  Or was that me? I grab the new folder to bring with me in the car.  You cannot drive and flip through folders either, but I’m hoping for a few more stoplights.  And I’m in no mood to be reasoned with.  It is then that I see in the folder -- my new Orange SIM card holder.  It has a 4 digit PIN number on it.  A no-longer soft voice barks, “Mommy, why are you checking your phone now? I thought we had to go?!”

Enter 4 digit PIN number. Green light.

Wow.  I had missed the signposts all along.  I think we do that a lot.  We get on our path, and when things start to go sideways – instead of pausing to evaluate, we keep barreling straight ahead.  We may look for the easy way out – any 4 digit number will do!  Or, we may assume the worst – OMG, I have to reboot everything?! When really, the resistance we are fighting against is just trying to tell us to turn our head.  But we do need to stop what we are doing and look up if we have any hope of turning our “Grrrrrs” into “Ah. Gotchas.”  Temptations are put in our path to mess with us.  Trials are put in our path to refine us.  Even the 90 minute cell phone drama trials. 

Our days are littered with things to teach us, but we tune so much of it out.  I’m sure the Orange sales rep mentioned the PIN code at some point in our conversation.  But once I saw those bars flash on my phone, I probably stopped listening.   I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here, but it’s a better story.  And certainly better than thinking that it was my bravado about having “worked in the wireless industry” that lead him to believe that I should have known about the PIN code.  Things we think we already know … Now that’s a whole other place we fail to yield.