COLUMN: Today’s equivalent of ‘keep your powder dry’

On these long hot summer days, most of my free time is spent in the ‘garden’ keeping up, or catching up, with the yard work...

On these long hot summer days, most of my free time is spent in the ‘garden’ keeping up, or catching up, with the yard work.

And invariably, especially when I’m mowing the boulevard or trimming vines along the fence, people stop to ask for directions: “How do we get to the park; where’s Chadsey Lake; which way to Mission; I’m lost . . . .”

While always helpful, I wonder sometimes “Do I look like Google Earth?”

Today, when virtually everyone has a smart phone I question if they’re not smart enough to use one because almost all phones have maps, GPS and other locating systems.

Click on the “Maps” app that comes with most phones and not only do you get a diagram of where you are, there’s a bright blue dot highlighting your exact location.

Back off the screen a little and you can find the appropriate route to wherever you wish to be.

Additionally, with Google Earth in your hand you can not only find where you want to go on Sumas Mountain, but anywhere else in the world as well.

These little information wonders, with the correct applications loaded, can among other handy things tell you how far you have walked, how long it took and probably if you hook them up to your body, how fast your heart is beating after the exercise.

There is one problem with most of them however, which to my chagrin I discovered on the morning of Aug. 2 – they are not waterproof.

After a record-setting stretch of sunshine throughout July, sometime overnight Aug. 1 rain broke the month-long sunny spell.

I had, as usual, barbecued and while waiting for the food to cook checked my iPhone, setting it on a patio table when the steaks were done.

Next morning at about 11 a.m., as I finished writing a newspaper column, I wondered during the downpour where my phone was.

After scurrying about the house I, with a “don’t let it be” thought, looked out the patio door and there it was, looking like a drowned rat.

Recovered from the rain, I tried turning it on. Nothing.

Quick call to the Telus store … explained in horrified tones the situation . . . and was told my only, and slim, hope was to put it in a ziplock bag of rice for 24 hours.

Into the Uncle Ben’s it went, and the next day I discovered, like the old TVs with rabbit ears reception, it had sound but no picture. I could make it work with my vehicle Bluetooth by telling it who to call, but there was no way to dial on the screen.

And no way to see or use any of my ‘apps’!

This of course being a long weekend, I was stuck relatively phone-less until the following Tuesday when the grim news, accompanied by significant cost, was that the only remedy was replacement.

So remember, on these warm summer days when the pool looks inviting or the occasional rain shower is on the horizon, to make sure that the ubiquitous phone “you can’t live without” stays in a dry place.

As for the rice . . . the dog has been enjoying it as a supplement to his meals.