The Stranger And My iPhone: An All Access Pass To The Life Of Dana Herlihey

June 1, 2011

I lost my phone while biking to work this morning. I’m not sure when or how I lost it – I’ve been cycling around this city for years with my phone always secure in my pocket – but I did. It fell out, onto the concrete road, destined to meet it’s fate beneath the wheels of a Honda Civic. Fortunately though, after a morning spent biking back and forth from work to home desperately searching for my phone (or at the very least, it’s remains), I finally reached the man who had found it laying on St. Clair. We arranged to meet, and not more than 2 hours after it fell from my pocket it was back in my hands.

Those 2 hours, however, proved to be an exercise in sheer panic. When I first realized I may be iPhone-less I was immediately worried over how I would afford a new phone. My contract with Roger’s is far from complete, and purchasing a brand new iPhone is currently outside my budget. But what really got me in a fluster was the realization that if my phone had died on the streets of Toronto, all my photos, text messages, notes, and music would be forever lost. Suddenly, my recent post on digital memory seemed oh-so relevant; my phone wasn’t just a phone, it was treasure trove of memories. Of course, once I discovered that a random man had my (unprotected) phone in his possession, I was less concerned with preserving these electronic pieces of nostalgia, and hoping – dear god – that he wouldn’t take it upon himself to go through my history. My fingers were crossed that I had deleted anything embarrassing, that my bank account information was secure, and that my google searches had been cleared. Upon receiving my phone back from Jim – a very nice guy, by the way -  I decided to go through it all. I wanted to know what this man may have discovered about me in his short period of having complete access to my life.

As it turns out, I’m not all that exciting.

1. I have a cat. And not only do I have a cat, but I am completely obsessed with my cat. Of my most recent 100 pictures on my iPhone, approximately 75% of those are of Boomer. They aren’t even interesting photos of him: 20 pictures of Boomer laying by a window, 5 pictures of Boomer with his head in a cup, 3 videos of Boomer wandering around the apartment – etc, etc. The owner of this here iPhone, is a nut job.

2. My google searches are entirely trivial, strange, and embarrassing. Recent search inquiries include: ttc day ass (yes, day ass), cat panting, and the nutritional value of a German sausage (I’m mildly obsessed with knowing these types of things – in fact a large number of my Google searches are for nutritional information). These, by the way, are the Google searches I’m comfortable sharing with you, dear readers. They get worse; they get personal. Let’s just say, everything is a curiosity to me and if I don’t know what/who/how it is – I assume Google does.

Other things in my web history: my blog, Canadian Tire bike locks, weight watchers recipe cards from the 70′s (these are gold – anyone would be happy to stumble on them and I certainly hope Jim did), and the take out menu for Ho Lee Chow.

3. Despite having hundreds of contacts on my cell phone, I really only call / message about five people on a regular basis, and those text messages are usually about the same thing: the weather, work, relationships, peeing, and the occasional picture of me in spandex.

4. Laser Tits. This is my most recent note. There’s nothing else written in this note, just “Laser Tits”.

5. I have a terrible, outdated taste in music. I haven’t updated my iPhone’s ipod in forever – simply because I’m too lazy to download music to my MacBook. I’m stuck in 2009 and listen to Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi album far too much. I also have douchey playlist titles like “smooth” (because I don’t know how else to categorize my selection of Mayer Hawthorne songs).

6. I obsessively use my calendar. With a quick look at this month Jim knows I have the Ride to Conquer Cancer coming up, a hair appointment, a speaking engagement, and book club. He also knows that I live the exciting life of a 55 year old lady.

7. I love word games. In fact, I have an entire folder dedicated to them.

8. I seem to be in love with Batman and his relationship with Superman. My lock screen features a picture of the two, mid flight, giving each other a high-five. The home screen is a picture of them (and Robin) surfing.

9.  Coolio’s Sumpin New is my ringtone. I don’t know what this would mean a stranger, but I can only imagine the laugh they would have when the phone started blasting bad 90′s hip hop. I suppose it could be worse, I could have made my ringtone my favourite song ever: Chris Isaak, Wicked Games - or the official song of Chatham, Ontario: The Backstreet Boys, I Want It That Way. I suppose Sumpin New is at least a little bad ass.

10. Oddly enough, the one thing Jim didn’t learn through my phone: my name.

I suppose there is something quite special in a stranger having unfiltered access to your life. Looking through your phone through their eyes really makes you question your life choices and your inevitable path towards cat lady-dom…I challenge you, friends, go through your phones – or pass them to your right. See what others discover about you. Then, delete it all.

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  1. Town Pride says:

    The official town anthem of Chatham, Ontario is actually Kim Mitchell’s Patio Lanterns. Get it right.

    • Dana says:

      I have it on good authority that the local radio station has been obsessed with this Backstreet Boy song for quite some time.

  2. nadine says:

    ha omg Dana this is an awesome blog.
    you are interesting to me :) and i can just imagine what people would think about me with all my random videos ha.

  3. nadine says:

    ps the pic you used i am sure i can find one of kiyomi that looks pretty similar hahaha

  4. Dana says:

    haha. i wish i could like comments ala facebook.

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