The short story: I lost my phone on the way to the gym. And then I used Find My iPhone and Facebook to find it, in about an hour. And now, I’ve been reunited with my phone. So if that’s all you care about, you can stop reading now. It’s all good.
But there’s also a longer story, with elements that are a little murkier than that three-sentence process. If you ask me, the longer story has more of an emotional impact than the shorter story does. Because it was Mother’s Day. Because I had just spent some quality time with one of my brothers and we talked a lot about our late mother. Because the night before, I dreamed about my mother. Because this is a time when I spend weeks at a time thinking about my mother, her physical absence, her spectral presence, her echoes, her impact.
Yesterday, I left my apartment, phone in handbag, heading to the gym. Although I usually park in my driveway (and drive on a parkway), I had parked on the street overnight, saving the driveway spot for my brother’s rental car. An old, beat-up almost-station wagon of a car was blocking me. I noted the handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror; while the driver spoke minimal English, I managed to convey to him that if he moved his car, I could give him the spot, and he complied.
By the time I got to the gym, my phone was missing. I searched my bag, checked my car, and found nothing. I went home, figuring I must have left it in one of my mansion’s MANY rooms. After I finished checking the servants’ quarters, I concluded that my phone was not in my house.
iActivated “Find my iPhone” from iCloud. Last location was at my address. Maybe it was in my car? iChecked my whole car, but no iPhone was iFound. iChecked iCloud again and saw that my phone was on the move, slightly north of where iLived, then across Pico heading toward Whitworth. I could track it as long as I had internet – but I didn’t have internet outside of my apartment…how was I supposed to chase my phone without my phone?
As I often do when faced with a problem I can’t solve, I took to Facebook, notifying the masses (a.k.a., anyone who wasn’t at a Mother’s Day dinner) that my phone was out there in the ether and that people should keep an eye open for it. A ridiculous instruction, I thought, but why not put it out there in the universe….
Finally, iCloud informed me that my phone had been “found” at 1217 Wooster Street. I jumped in the car and tried to find 1217 Wooster – it turned out to be just north of Pico, except nonexistent – where 1217 should have been was the Fu’s Palace parking lot. Was it inside? I asked the waitstaff and they said no. I wandered back out to the parking lot and looked around. No giant neon sign reading “YOUR PHONE IS HERE!” or person waving my phone around hoping I’d see them. Just a parking lot.
“Well, what do I do now?” I asked out loud.
Just then, a car rolled into the parking lot, an old, beat-up almost-station wagon of a car, with a handicapped tag hanging from the rearview mirror.I generally don’t remember cars. But thanks to a mother who spent a lot of time in a wheelchair, I remember handicap tags.
I poked my head into the car's open window and asked the man if he’d found a phone. “No,” he said. My heart dropped. Then he paused, and said, “phone, YES!” He communicated that it was inside with his wife and that he’d call her. She came out of the building – the family was going to Ohel Moshe for an event or a Mother’s Day dinner or something – my phone in her hands. I gushed gratitude, not believing that from "lost" to "found" had taken less than an hour.
As I left the parking lot, friend and Pilates teacher Andrea Hodos appeared. “Did you get the phone?” she asked. She explained that in response to my Facebook message, she called my phone and had spoken to the people who had picked it up. She knew where they were and was going to get the phone from them. So, even if my plea to the heavens hadn’t worked, my plea on Facebook would have.
Obviously, I burst into tears, once as Andrea hugged me and then again in my car before driving home. When I arrived at my apartment, I saw that all the electronic devices were blinking…there’d been some sort of power outage during the hour that my phone was lost.
None of it means anything, of course. Unless I start drawing lines of connection. The dream. The parking. The fact that this whole lost phone thing meant that I cleaned out my car and straightened up some things at home, something my mother would have considered a Mother’s Day present, for sure. The fact that it took both technology and people to bring this episode to a close. That my post resulted in Facebook comments from friends trying to help my situation and lift my spirits, reinforcing that what happens online can have real-life positive impact. That a loss of something of technological and social value coincided with a loss of power and control.
Like I said, it doesn’t mean anything. Except to me.