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Frumpy Middle-aged Mom: The horror of losing your phone


So I had a disaster of unimaginable proportions happen to me this week: I lost my phone.

I think it must have been stolen by poltergeists, because it disappeared under bizarre circumstances and its location is still unknown.

I was about to walk out of the house with my daughter, Curly Girl, to go somewhere, when my son called me. I talked to him for a minute on the aforementioned phone, and told him I had to go. To the best of my recollection, I then put the phone down on the breakfast bar. I never saw it again.

We got into the car moments later, and I went to pull my phone out of my purse to use the GPS. It wasn’t there. I figured I’d left it on the breakfast bar but no problem, because my daughter had her phone. I could reclaim it when I got home.

Well, no, it turned out that I could not reclaim it, because it was never seen again. Even though it seemed impossible that it could simply vanish into thin air. My first thought was that our cat, Cairo the Jerk, had knocked it to the floor. That’s his new hobby: Knocking things down to hear them crash. But I searched the floor and no phone.

Four other people also came and searched my house, as well as my daughter’s car. No phone. Admittedly my house is cluttered, but still something should have emerged.

I tried using “Find My Phone,” which is an iPhone service that will locate the presence of your device and ding it until you can get to it. But the battery was apparently dead, so that didn’t work.

And, yes, I had people call the phone to see if I could hear it ring, but, again, the battery was apparently dead.

Listen, my friends. Never buy a black phone case. You will never find the darn thing. Even before it was gone forever, I was constantly struggling to find it in the bottom of my purse because, well, it’s black. If I set it down on my black stove, I could look until the Rapture comes and never see it right in front of me.

Since I grew up with one telephone in the house with a long cord, I figured I could live without a phone for awhile. I was quickly disillusioned. I learned that I couldn’t do anything without it.

I went to a doctor’s appointment and discovered I was an hour early, because I couldn’t check my phone calendar. I tried to check my bank balance, only to realize that I didn’t have my phone in hand to do it easily. In the grocery store, I wondered what time it was, but I couldn’t find out, because I didn’t have my phone. I do own a watch, but I haven’t worn it in ages.

When I came home, I tried to get into my retirement savings account on the computer, but the online system wanted me to enter a code they sent me … on my phone.

I discovered that I am now accustomed to being able to communicate with anyone in the world, any time I want. The idea that I couldn’t just text my son to bring home a loaf of bread or my daughter to come over and search the house tormented me.

Yes, once upon a time I was able to navigate the world without having to be in instant contact with everyone I know. But those days are over, I have learned the hard way.

The only time I’d been unable to use my phone in at least a decade was when we were in Cuba, where the U.S. trade embargo limits communications. The only way to talk to the outside world was by purchasing an Internet card and then sitting in a park with Wi-Fi until you were done. That is the Cuban government’s way to keep track of who’s using the internet. (Though I’ve heard they’re loosening things up nowadays.)

It was hard in Cuba not to just be able to do an online search for something when it occurred to you, or to post our photos onto Facebook. But you gradually became accustomed to it. And it just added another element to the exoticism of being in a country that is so free of American influences.

But once our plane touched down in Fort Lauderdale on the way home, we were back on our devices in a flash.

After a few days of painful phone-free life, I finally decided to break down and just go get a new one. Mine was a tad outdated anyway. After a visit to T-Mobile, I ended up going to the Apple Store to get the exact phone I wanted.

You’d think that walking into a store and wanting to buy a $1,500 device, when you knew exactly what you wanted, would be a simple process, right?

Well, not in the rarified world of Apple, where I was required to “make an appointment”: even though I was already in the store, and then sit on an uncomfortable, backless stool for 45 minutes, waiting for someone to come and do me the honor of taking my $1,500. Which, by the way, is more than I spent on my first car.

Luckily, I got a sales dude named Enrique, who not only helped me get exactly what I wanted, but didn’t even do it in a condescending manner as some youngsters treat me these days. In fact, we had fun during our brief encounter and he even showed me a few tips for using my new fancy schmancy device.

I was really afraid that I’d find my old phone as soon as I got home with the new one but, nope, it hasn’t shown up. If you’ve seen it, let me know.

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