Puddles and Connectedness

Yesterday was my first day in Charlotte, one city I’ll be studying this summer for my research project. To get acclimated to the city, I decided to go for a run. I left the Airbnb, a beautiful cottage built in the earlier 20th century when this neighborhood was a mill village. The run was refreshing, and helped me to gain my bearings in this new place. I braved the pouring rain, bringing my smartphone in case I got lost.

About halfway through my run, I passed a man wearing jeans and a polo shirt.

“Can I run with you?” he called out to me. At first, I thought he was joking, but soon enough he was matching me stride for stride.

My new companion was on a mission to pick up gas station beer for his friends. Just as I was telling him I didn’t know where the nearest gas station was, that despite my neighborhood running garb I didn’t know what street we were on, *SPLASH*. My knees scraped across the semi-paved gap next to the train tracks. I had managed to take a nice bath in Charlotte’s largest sidewalk puddle.

Though my pride was damaged, I trudged on, reaching home about twenty minutes later. Foolishly, I immediately plugged in my phone after drying it with a towel. I was perplexed when it didn’t immediately begin to charge. An hour later, coming to the frustrating realization that it had something to do with the train track puddle bath, I googled “iPhone water damage”.

The most important thing people forget is to not use the device when it gets wet. They get impatient and try and turn it on.

Shit.

Right now, my phone is sitting in a rice bowl, and I’m praying the last 8 months of photos, videos, and audio recordings I’ve made are not lost forever (yeah, I haven’t backed up the data on my computer since September). But if nothing else comes of this silly accident, I hope I can at least observe this city with a more interesting perspective given my lack of access to ubiquitous information, geographic and otherwise. Perhaps, as my girlfriend wisely imparted when I explained what happened.

“Maybe you’ll gain a unique perspective on the urban form, without all the noise.”

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