Portable Devices

I love my portable devices.  All of them.  My smartphone, tablet (iPad), iPod, and e-reader.  I feel lucky to have so many neat and functional gadgets.  In August I spent a weekend at my friends’ beach house on Fire Island, about a 2 minute walk from the Atlantic Ocean.  It was pure bliss!

The first day I went to the beach armed with my e-reader and my tablet, determined to get some reading and writing done.  I had the foresight to put them both in a ziploc bag, but beyond that I hadn’t really considered any of the other dangers facing electronic gadgets when one is surrounded by sand, intense sun (heat), a huge body of salt water, and rogue waves.  Also my sturdy OtterBox, the case I used in Patagonia that made me so fearless, broke so I was using a rather flimsy replacement.

I felt ok about using the iPad for short periods of time to take a quick picture, but I definitely wasn’t comfortable using it longer for fear of getting sand in it.  The iPad mostly stayed in the ziploc bag. I only took it to the beach when I was walking and could keep it safe in my bag.

In general I felt ok about having the e-reader at the beach, mostly because it’s not that expensive and I only borrow ebooks or download them from the public domain. This means the risk of losing something permanently is pretty slim, especially now that everything is downloaded to the computer before being transferred to the e-reader.

And then the rogue waves came flooding our little area more than once, even though we kept moving further back.  It was a weird, fluky tidal pattern that resulted in some waves extending far up onto the beach where people were sitting.  Fortunately I had the foresight to load up the boogie board with our bags, including the one with my gadgets, so they were safe when the first wave hit.

Even with the precautions, I seriously started to weigh the comfort of having my devices against the fear of them getting damaged.  I love the e-reader, but if it gets damaged I’m without my entire library.  If I have a regular book and it gets damaged, it will just dry out and have some wrinkly pages.  Where’s the balance?

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