Thanks to the universe, and to Google, I guess, for an awesome if unintended tribute to my late mother Adair on her birthday, December 21st.
My mother knit fast and furiously for her forever and ramped up the action near the end, filling box after box with beautiful and colourful scarves.
And Google’s doodle today is a slick long scarf of a GIF with playground colours and fast frenetic hands twisting the yarn.
It was in the early days, before I’d even learned to hold my iPhone horizontally rather than vertically. My hand was shaky and the wind was whistling but that iPhone 3G got the job done as ViVi Sunshine tossed golf balls into a bucket like pebbles into a pond.
I watched that clip Monday night, probably for the first time since I recorded it three years ago, because some low down dirty thief stole my iPhone. Opened my locker while I was working out at the downtown YMCA and pulled my phone and some change out of the left hand pocket of my brown cords. A kick in the jewels. A shoulder-slumped sigh. I never installed any locator apps. I didn’t file a police report. My phone was gone. Just like Lebowski’s Creedence tape.
I suspended the service and SIM card when I got back to the office. I changed myriad passwords. I glowered with regret and panic. Do I have all ViVi’s pictures and videos? Are they backed up at home? Are they in the Cloud? I felt stupid and angry and impotent, uncertain if the memories I’d spent three years making were gone and knowing that, ultimately, I was to blame if they were. The thief’s the bad guy here but I’m the dope that doesn’t bring a $5 lock to the gym.
I have dozens upon dozens of video clips and iPhone photos like that, of ViVi Sunshine crawling on the grass at Tecumseh Golf, carting buckets half-filled with balls, toddling around on the mats or using the rusted iron grates that dissect the stalls to balance herself on unsteady feet. She was the reason I bought my first-ever iPhone and she was the fuel that powered it. I learned how to use Twitter and Facebook and post mobile videos to YouTube just so I could share images of her little life life in progress. Instagram? My feed is nothing but golf photos and pictures of my daughter.
I bought the phone a few months after ViVi was born and used it to chronicle her journey, frame by frame and clip by shaky clip. It captured the first time she stood up in her playpen on the front porch of my Riverside home and her first stumbling steps in the hallway of a St. Catharines’ hotel, where she clutched her key-card like some drunk come tumbling home. It recorded her rolling in the coloured balls at YoYos and petting a camel at Greenview Aviaries in Morpeth and it chronicled four straight Halloweens, from penguin to lady bug to Snow White to princess. It served as mobile wedding photographer when her mother and I got hitched in Vegas.
I also used that phone for work and interspersed among shots of ViVi at the range or playing her little pink guitars are clips of raging fires in Windsor or fender benders or shots of cabinet ministers or election results coming in at the Caboto Club. Three years of fires and crashes and boring press conferences punctuated with first steps and golf balls and pink guitars and birthdays is what that dirty thief is going to find if he scrolls through my photo feed before wiping that iPhone clean. I hope he feels a touch of regret and shame as he paws through the memories of my life and I hope he hears the quickening of Karma’s footsteps behind him.
I’m not exactly sure what a thief will do with that phone, particularly a thief that, given the location of the incident, isn’t likely to be overly sophisticated. This wasn’t a heist. No Danny Oceans at the downtown Y. I’ve cancelled the service and changed my passwords. He could delete all my data, I suppose, and start the phone on a different provider with a new number but it’s not the phones that cost the cheddar, it’s the plans. He should have held it for ransom. I’d probably pay a grand to have it back. The thought of some stranger pressing a few buttons and wiping out all of those images makes me sick to my stomach. They’re probably already gone.
One of the last photos I took showed ViVi beaming, wearing a pale blue Little Mermaid shirt, holding a bag filled with water and four little guppies about to join our extended family. I took the photo on Sunday afternoon and shared it proudly on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Less than 24 hours later, I was down one fish and one phone. I hold out some hope the remaining three fish will last the week but I’ve no hope for the phone. It’s gone but, thankfully, more than just memories remain.
Thanks to the Cloud and Apple’s infernal tendency to link to iTunes and iPhoto every device in my house including my blow dryer and blender, I still (knock on wood) have back-ups of pretty much every photo and video of ViVi Sunshine’s first few years on earth. Not all of them but most of them.
It is not as big a tragedy as it otherwise might have been but this theft still smarts and has left me feeling emply. I feel violated, powerless and, what’s more, wistful and nostalgic for that battered, broken phone and the memories it contained, memories I carried with me always and could experience again and again with the simple swipe of a thumb.
ViVi Sunshine joined the world of (knock on wood) responsible pet ownership this weekend when we purchased a fish tank with electric blue lights and four living, flopping guppies that have yet to be named.
I’m a little fearful that fishie heaven is about to get crowded as we are down to three guppies in less than 24 hours. It isn’t her fault, of course, but fish are fickle and the laws of nature and the sea are poorly understood by her father.
We realized Sunday night, only a few hours after taking the plunge and buying the fish, that one was missing.
I tapped the tank and scanned the pink and white gravel at the bottom but couldn’t find the missing fish anywhere.
I wondered if Bogey The Cat had crept in stealthily and swiped a paw through the water but there was no evidence of that. Nor was there any evidence that the little fish had made a break for it and leapt over the rim of his little, bubbling tank.
I finally found him this morning, resting on the gravel bottom of the tank. I scooped him up with a wooden spoon and hid him in the trash can, taking care to cover him up with napkins and assorted detritus. Heaven forbid little ViVi goes to throw out an apple core or something and discovers the ugly side of Nature.