friday was ibirthday. as in my birthday, and i[guess the]birthday of the iphone 3g. i was pretty anti-iphone at first mostly because it was only available on at&t and because i'm a cheapotato who doesn't even use up the minutes in the smallest plans out there. somehow the fact that the release date of the new one coincided with my birthday suddenly flipped some apple-loving switch in my brain, and i HAD to have one. well, that and the bear getting excited about it and calculating that if we went on a family plan, our monthly fee wouldn't be that much more than we were paying separately, and we'd have internet. (almost) all. the. time. oh, and i can't forget that i had been mad at my razr with parts super glued back on and crappy battery life for almost three years already.

anyway, on free slurpee day, we both got off work at noon. no, not just for the iphone. we're hardworking mofos that had put in lots of hours the past few weeks and therefore didn't really need to log those last few hours on friday. the bear promptly called 6 at&t stores near us so we could avoid what we thought would be longer lines and apple fanboys. um, they were all sold out already. turns out at&t stores didn't have a ton of stock. so off we went to south coast plaza to the apple store. i told the bear we really didn't have to buy the phones that day, but the smart man who knows me better than i do said that i would be really disappointed if we didn't. maybe he was right, but my brain still thinks i would have been ok if we had waited a bit. anyway, so down the 405, past the free-first-day-of-the-fair (if you entered between 12 and 1...we were driving by right in the middle of it) we flew.

for those that know south coast plaza, the line ran from the apple store all the way to the macy's end of crystal court south coast plaza west, past macy's, and wrapped back to the usc gear store. of course all means of egress (exits) had to be kept clear, so there were large gaps in the line enforced by oh-so-frightening mall security. not. although one was quite the dick to the bear when he received a work call and stepped out of line into a corridor leading to an exit to take the call.

we waited in line for four hours (yeah, i really didn't know i had it in me as i refuse to wait in line for clubs, most restaurants, and can barely deal with amusement park lines), during which the following happened:
  • the girl in front of us pleaded with one of the employees to let her in just to buy a regular ipod as she was leaving for europe in a few days and this was her only chance to buy one before she left. he said he'd see what he could do but doubted he could help her bypass the line. the bear was nice and informed her that she could buy an ipod and charger at best buy across the street or even at target. she still hesitated a bit before running off. ugh, she deserved to wait in that line, but at least bear's helpfulness eliminated one person in front of us.
  • ruby's came by and gave us coupons for buy 1 get 1 free breakfasts or buy an entree get a shake free.
  • the apple employees asked us 10,927,498,347 times if we had read the info fliers they were handing out on the rate plans and what we needed in order to activate a phone.
  • ruby's started selling onion rings for $3 a bag.
  • the apple employees came around with a cart of hours-old starbucks and smartwater. too bad there was no smartwater by the time they got to me. i did take some bleh ash water to see if i could convince myself this was worth it with a free beverage. nope.
  • ruby's started selling shakes. the chocolate ones sold faster than vanilla. black vs. white 16 gb foreshadowing? not quite, but that's the dorky thought that ran through my head.
  • the dude behind us was a somewhat fobby, gabby wedding photographer who gave me a flier about his crazy deal going on right now. i told him i'm married already. he told me to pass it along to friends. i guess business is slow.
  • ruby's started selling bags of fries for $3 a bag.
  • the bear went to pacific whey cafe, downed a beer while waiting for them to make us a sandwich, then brought the sandwich back to me in line.
  • i browsed through paper source and came out with nothing.
  • we sat on the freezing cold but relatively clean granite and marble tile floor. as soon as the bear sat, we'd start moving again.
  • we chatted now and then with kumar behind gabby photographer. really, his mannerisms, the way he spoke, and just everything about him reminded us of kumar. not kal penn. kumar.
  • ruby's came around with another tray of shakes.
  • i shook my fist at smartwater bottles with seriously, like, three sips taken out of them sitting on the sill of paper source's storefront. i was thirsty, damnit, and some wasteful brats had done this.
  • when we were maybe 20-30 minutes away from the entrance, a woman bought her way into line maybe 5 people behind us for $100. i did a double take as she looked a lot like jessica claire. i never worked up the guts in those last moments in line to ask her, as i just don't disturb celebrities (or celebrities of the wedding photography world, for that matter) and because it wasn't like she was our wedding photographer or anything (WAY out of our budget). and anyway, her hair looked a little less red in the mall lighting. and yes, i got all self-conscious and didn't want to be embarrassed if i was wrong. anyway, gabby photographer and kumar talked to her quite a bit, with gabby photographer trying to buy her old iphone off of her (after she wiped the data, of course) so he could sell it to his friend who owns a cell phone store in burma despite the fact she didn't really want to sell it and said so. yeah...anyway...awkward crow.
  • one of the employees asked one of the managers at the front of the line (seriously, they had a million staff that day at that one store) if there was any bottled water left. he said no, but that there was a drinking fountain right over there. so not the same as smartwater, dude.
  • i gave my informational flier back to the lady at the front of the line so they could reuse it. she was taken aback that i was returning it. i'm just trying to hug a tree, lady, not you. yeesh.
so exciting, i know.

since i bored you with 4 hours worth of waiting in line, i won't bore you with all the details of the 2 hours we spent in store trying to buy and activate the dang phones--just some of them.
  • a nice but very socially-awkward young man tried to help us. after one failed attempt, he left us without a word.
  • after a long while, he brought back sean, my new best gay (coined or at least new to me by/via feminist gold digger) of the night.
  • after not too long, the supposed jessica claire was brought to the final activation counter (where they plugged your phone into itunes for like two seconds then handed it back to you). the very loud employee began their interaction with, "and how are you today, jessica?" and ended it with, "thank you so much, jessica!!!" or something like that. the point was that maybe it was her. i told cee when i got home, and she was impressed and sad i didn't find out. and yeah, i know she could potentially find this dorky tale on here. if you do, jessica, i admire your work and am not a totally random blog-stalker. i found your blog when crazily searching for a photographer for my wedding last year.
  • sean, the bear, and i thought up different scenarios/workarounds. sean eventually got an account set up for us and got promises from at&t reps that we weren't supposed to be able to get. whee!
  • our OG sales rep noticed while we were on hold that it was my birthday and asked me suddenly and loudly if it was my birthday. yep, we're suckers that spend my birthday in line.
  • the bear was way more visibly upset than i was when we were told that activation was not working and that we were not allowed to leave the store with an unactivated phone (thus all that waiting might be for naught). somehow, sean was a lot more scared of me despite my composure and genuine calm. it wasn't really anyone physically present's fault, and most of the issues were out of all of our control. plus really, it's just a phone. and 4+2 hours of our life we would never get back, but really, there are way worse things in life.
  • sean told the bear to take me to mastro's steakhouse for my birthday as he had recently taken his mother there for hers, and we needed steak and a nice glass of wine. i told him a bottle was more like it.
we got home with our babies. sleek black for him. hot white for her. finally, we have the same phone but in different colors at least. our last three phones were exactly alike, causing some confusion at times.

since we had just spent gobs of cash, we didn't go to mastro's for dinner. instead, we went home and ate leftovers. oh, and drank some deliciously dry schramsberg blanc de blancs to accompany our rock hard ddukbokki (korean rice cake logs in a hot pepper paste sauce that does not keep its deliciously glutinous texture well after being cooked then refrigerated)--not the best pairing, but reading the bear's sweet and hilarious card a few times more than made up for the food. he's great at finding unique cards (even at target and hallmark) that get me right there. hey, it was the first birthday card he gave me that said "to my wife." alright, so maybe i'm sappier than i thought.

oh, and the phone is pretty fan-freaking-tastic.


  1. what a weekend...just don't lose it now =P

  2. (1) The people at Ruby's are genius.
    (2) Those dumb people didn't deserve SmartWater.
    (3) I am cracking up at the possible Jessica Claire sighting.
    (4) Your babies are beautiful!

  3. Happy Belated Birthday :)

    Loved your post .. tis definately an interesting way to spend your birthday .. maybe if they knew it was your birthday, you'd have had that bottle of water!

  4. Congrats on the new phone! Super cool. You two were damn committed, I tell ya.

  5. you have way more patience than me! happy belated b-day, congrats on the twins. ;)

  6. Wow, you had way more fun in your line than I did!
    And yeah, that was totally JC -- I gathered what she did from her Facebook status updates. And I'm an even creepier person, since I realized yesterday from her Facebook updates that she was on the same flights to OK City as my work BFF.

    Congrats on the birthday twins!

  7. My wait for the iPhone was so much less interesting. I really like Ruby's for some reason.

    K and I are now a black and white phone duo also!

  8. Four hours for a phone?!?!?! You are one dedicated geek, Tater. ;)

  9. 1. Happy iBirfday!
    2. No wonder you survived the line w/ Ruby's treats.
    3. Next time you should say hi to JC.
    4. I am jealousE of your new toys.

  10. Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!! I'm glad you got some quality time with bear and new toys for your birthday. I don't think I love any gadget that much to wait in line 4 + 2 hours and gobs of cash later. You are a more worthy than me. :)

  11. sounds like it was all worth it in the end.

    my brother worked all night thursday night/friday morning, had 3 hours off from like 7am-10am, and then came back for another 8 hour shift. mmm hmmm, sounds like hell to me, too.

  12. oh, and happy belated birthday!

  13. Wow, you've got some iDedication.

    Still counting down until iPhone comes to Verizon...

  14. a little late but still wanted to wish you a happy birthday. score on the iphone, very sleek and i love the white =)

  15. I'm glad all the waiting was worth it! You are a far more braver-er person than I am!

  16. the manager at ruby's deserves a trophy for his efforts.

    love the iPhones, dude! i so want one.

    lastly, happy iBirthday again!

  17. It might be time for me to get a new one - mine has seen better days! Thanks for the info :)

  18. Happy belated birthday!

    You are insane. In-sane! I love my (old boring) iPhone and all, but it's not worth 6 hours of my day. Certainly not 6 hours of my birthday.

    ...Then again, I waited in line for Harry Potter. Who's the bigger nerd? heehee

    Congrats to you :)

  19. I am amazed at your dedicated for purchasing the iphone - we went to the Brea Apple store and took one good look at the line and ducked out. I just don't think I can bring myself to wait that long, no matter how much the other half wants one.

    Happy Belated Birthday, btw. ;)

  20. Happy Belated Birthday! Congrats on the new purchases!

  21. You're both crazy for waiting in that line. Happy happy belated birthday!

  22. I'm late, but happy birthday! Awesome JC story.


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