I lost my phone for 48 hours the other weekend because I left it in the back of a Lyft. I had it in my hand and then, in the many blocks between Alphabet City and Hell’s Kitchen, I was like, “I’ll just set this here” and left it on the seat. RIP me.
I realize the phone is missing a couple hours after the fact (is this the first time I've ever gone two hours without thinking about my phone? Maybe. But all the other times it didn't go missing, so I wasn't making detailed notes of the timeline, so how can we be sure?!) and Alex I go through the normal protocol of calling the phone while shushing each other and wandering through various rooms in his apartment. PLOT TWIST THOUGH: the phone goes straight to voicemail. Despite this, I call it three times. It goes to voicemail every time, as to be expected. We check Find My iPhone on Alex's phone. MY PHONE IS OFFLINE.
Alex looks at me and says gravely (just kidding he said it normally but in retrospect it felt grave): “that’s what people do when they steal your phone” and so then on the outside I’m trying to be cool-as-a-cucumber-Delaney-in-2018, but inside I’m already imagining the hell of going to the Sprint store because the Sprint store is in top five places I never want to be. Right up there with any Trader Joes in Manhattan on a Sunday afternoon when all of Manhattan collectively goes grocery shopping together. A Sprint store is just a hundred aimless and disgruntled people milling around and one customer attendant who's only there to check you in on an iPad as if they are a service provider of the future. The iPad gives you about 20 minutes of reassurance but inevitably you end up languishing on a bench in an aggressively yellow space while no one helps you and you probably don’t even have a functioning phone to distract yourself with, otherwise why would you be there in the first place?
So, yeah, Alex says one thing about my phone MAYBE being stolen and I have already mentally transported to a Sprint store. Because that is LOGIC. Cool-as-a-cuke on the outside, panicking at a Sprint store on the inside.
Was this tangent (here in this retelling, and at the time in my head) necessary? No. Because right after Alex says that, he calls the Lyft driver, Lovepreet, who confirms he has the phone. Lovepreet says he can deliver the phone to us for $100 because he lives in Edison, New Jersey and is already home and only drives Lyft on the weekends. OKAY. SO THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY, GOT IT.
Alex is like, “no, lovepreet, thank you, but no need to drive back here. We can come to New Jersey tomorrow to get it from you. Do you have a personal number to contact you at?”
We get Lovepreet's number, we write it on a napkin, put the napkin on the nightstand (remember this), send a thank you/follow up text to Lovepreet, and go to bed.
Let’s take another sidebar to be thankful Alex is having this conversation on my behalf on the phone. Not only do I hate talking to strangers on the phone, but I also lose my ability to extemporaneously form thoughts and communicate. I am never easier to bully, quicker to agree to something disadvantageous for myself, or just get confused and not ask for clarification than I when talking on the phone. One day I’ll go to millennials anonymous and stand up and introduce myself, “hi, I’m Delaney, and I can’t deal with talking to strangers on the phone” and get on the path to recovery. But until then, I will cope with the incredibly healthy and definitely long-term method of having (begging) my boyfriend make phone calls to ransom my phone (and tbh most situations) on my behalf. Just because I’m 26 doesn’t mean I’m above groveling or indulging in behaviors that hurt me in the long game. 26 is just for recognizing you’re doing it. And I am NAILING that part.
Anyways okay great. Here we are at Saturday morning. We’ve got Lovepreet's number. But, no response to our text (okay, Alex's text, yeesh!), so we decide to call him on the way to a friend's birthday brunch (fine, I ASK ALEX TO CALL HIM). Also, for the record, attempting a phone call in the outdoors on a city street where anything could happen is downright bananas to me. I need to take any calls with strangers while I am seated, entirely alone, in a place where no one can hear me be flustered. Certainly not on a city street where at any given time:
a) there are a myriad of emergency vehicles driving past at confusingly low speeds with downright deafening sirens
b) there's a stranger trying to talk to you who you need to doggedly pretend you cannot see or hear
c) there's a subway you are trying to navigate yourself towards without getting lost
d) your shoe could come untied
e) you pass a cute coffee shop that you need to make a mental note to return to
f) you need to repeat your grocery list to yourself over and over so you don’t forget it because it’s so short but still sometimes you forget something!
However: given the number of people who I see speaking on the phone while walking down any street here, I am not in the majority with these feelings and concerns.
And, after you read all that, Alex just called Lovepreet's phone number and had a 10-second conversation with the person who answered, in which they said they didn’t know Lovepreet, they didn’t know about the phone, and that they hoped I had a good time going to the Sprint store (two out of three of those are true). So then, because am good at jumping to conclusions: Lovepreet gave us a fake number and my phone is lost for all time. All I can do is try to act normally and have my Saturday and not let it bother me because Sunday will be my day for new phone procurement. Except, being me, I sulk the entire subway ride. Alex tells me not to worry about it, that it is very obvious I am worrying about it, and that there isn't anything I can do now besides enjoy this beautiful weather and my friend's birthday. OKAY, ALEX, THANK YOU FOR BRINGING YOUR LEVEL-HEADED PRACTICALITY TO THE TABLE AS WELL AS YOUR ALL-AROUND-STELLAR TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION SKILLS.
Saturday passes. I drink more than is advisable because the sun is out and I am in mourning of my phone. I was not drunk during the misplacement of my phone but I sure as hell will be during the sulking period after its loss. One may be asking during this story "have you gotten in touch with Lyft yet?". Yes. We (Alex) did. Honestly going forward you can just assume that any time I say "we" there are pretty high odds I just mean Alex did it while I watched him and/or waited idly nearby in his presence. Which is half because I physically had no means of communicating with anyone electronically and half because I was more than happy to let him do it. So yeah, we emailed Lyft. Which was about negative-30% helpful. Our email exchange with Kevin from Lyft was heavy on empathy and pretty light on the logistics of helping coordinate phone retrieval. And by logistics I mean he just gave our contact information to Lovepreet and then told us to let him know in 24 hours if we hadn't been able to contact our driver.
Now we are here at Sunday. I'm pretty sure I don't even say "good morning" to Alex, I just moan into the pillow "I still dont have a phoooooone" around 9am. I would not say this debacle was bringing out my best. In fact I would say it was highlighting a lot of my flaws aka my severe aversion to making phone calls and inability to not fixate on situations of stress. Alex says something kind and reassuring as the only person who has still retained their cool over this situation. We email Kevin from Lyft again to the effect of "hey 24 hours are up, no sign of Lovepreet. What now?" and Kevin gets back to us essentially like, "wow sorry, I also haven't been able to get in touch with Lovepreet either. There's basically nothing I can do." And then no kidding he signed off with "Let's hope for the best. Keep in touch from time to time." Keep in touch from time to time?! To reminisce about my lost phone and how you were literally no help at all? Yes. Let us do that Kevin.
Sometime after having that truly dismal correspondence with Kevin from Lyft but before dragging my body out of bed and out into the cold, harsh world, we (and this time I really mean "we") consider double-checking the phone number we texted yesterday. Let us just MAKE CERTAIN we texted and called the exact number Lovepreet gave us. So then I go to the nightstand to get the napkin that I wrote his number down on. Remember the napkin that I said to remember? This is the napkin. And it’s no longer on the nightstand. So now just enjoy the mental image of me in a bathrobe riffling through every trashcan in Alex’s apartment. Kneeling to look under the bed. Opening the drawers of the nightstand. And then after I do that, I do it all again because I just cannot believe that the napkin is missing (not dissimilar to when I called my phone 3 times to make sure it was REALLY going straight to voicemail. I would not say my sleuthing skills are highly refined).
Unfortunately for my reputation in this story, Alex finds the napkin in the kitchen trash can which I checked at least twice. Can I do anything myself?! I guess fucking not. But then! A CRACK IN THE CASE. We had TEXTED AND CALLED THE WRONG NUMBER. We had swapped the last two digits. Honestly this sounds like great news (and it was—besides realizing we were both dummies who made a simple mistake) and you would think this would be all easy-peasy downhill from here. Wrong. We are literally only halfway through this story because I took so much time to talk about my telephone fears and problem resolution shortcomings. Sorry!
We call the CORRECT number for Lovepreet. We send him a text. So now we can only wait and "keep in touch from time to time" with Kevin from Lyft (just kidding we definitely we not doing that second bit). Despite the weather being a cool (literally) 40-ish degrees with high winds, I implore (a nice word for kindly begging) Alex to take me to this historical "garden conservancy" that I've been wanting to go to in Yonkers—from here on out to be known as Little Ireland because honestly there are probably more Irish bars and Irish-themed establishments per capita in Yonkers than in Ireland itself. Truly an astounding feat. I resist asking Alex every thirty minutes if he's heard back from Lovepreet despite that being exactly what I want to do.
We walk around the park (it is fucking cold. Also I am wearing Alex's shoes because I only had sandals from the sunshine-y heaven that was the weather the day prior. Maybe I should just title this blog post "A Compilation of Events During Which I Exhibit Exceptionally Poor Judgement". Except then I would ALSO have to mention the $52 of Bud Light I purchased from 7/11 on Saturday and I would love to forget about that immediately!). After the park, I request that we drive through the town in search of fish and chips because that will soothe me, I am certain. The great news is that we find REALLY GOOD fish and chips. I’m not kidding you, like a spot that serves only burgers and fish and chips (and if you are only serving two things I assume you are EXCEPTIONAL at those two things). I’m not sure if I should be surprised by the ease with which we found a fish and chips spot or if I should have expected it. Do the Irish love fish and chips? Is that a cultural understanding that everyone has besides me? *shruggy emoticon*
The fish and chips are a delight. Nothing like a crisp, freshly fried breading to coat your nervous innards. Despite my calming coating, however, I am eating in complete silence because all my brain is thinking about is Lovepreet. And I am incapable of thinking about one thing and talking about another. BUT THEN LOVEPREET CALLS. HE CALLS US, HERE, IN THE SANCTUARY OF FISH AND CHIPS. I watch Alex with my eyes wide open in anticipation and continue to shovel fries, excuse me “chips”, into my gaping mouth. I will need to make sure I have enough fried breading inside me to last the day. Alex gets off the phone and summarizes that Lovepreet is near JFK airport (what about Edison, New Jersey? Completely unclear how and why Lovepreet has traversed the entire island of Manhattan) and he is going to text us an address to meet him at and retrieve the phone. This feels promising. I increase my rate of fish and chips consumption because now we need to get THE FUCK out of Yonkers and ALL THE WAY to JAMAICA, QUEENS. We wait for the address. We wait more for the address. We wait 20 minutes for Lovepreet to send us an address. This is plenty of time for me to imagine a bunch of ways this could be bad. Is he ever actually going to text us an address? Has this just been a cruel game? Is this a set up for us to be mugged? Is he leading us to a secluded place to be KIDNAPPED and/or WORSE?
We get the address. We are going to Satguru Sweets and Catering. Just TRY and make up a name for a better place to be lured by your iPhone 8 with a baby blue case and cracked screen protector for a kidnapping. I’ll wait. Here is a map of the distance we were about to traverse, as well as the distance I have asked Alex to drive me to a park on a 40-degree day:
The ride to Satguru Sweets and Catering was not dissimilar to our time spent at the fish and chips place: mostly silent, except with out any fried foods. At one point Alex asks me how much cash I have in my wallet, which does not make me feel good at all because a) paying someone a ransom for my phone sounds like a scary situation and b) I only have $24 dollars which doesn’t seem like enough for a man who told us two days ago it was gonna be $100 to drive into the city and drop it off. I text my friend Sofia the address of where we are going, what we are doing, and when she should expect to hear from me on Alex’s phone. Special thanks to Sofia for being our kidnap contingency plan.
Okay here we are 45 minutes later in Jamaica, Queens. Great news is that Satguru Sweets is on a popular street—internally, I calculate that the risk of kidnapping has lowered exponentially. Here is where my idea of what was going to happen and what Alex’s idea of what was going to happen diverge and, despite my keen concern for personal safety, Alex’s ideas are a lot better. In my mind, I need to get out of the car and go into Satguru Sweets and ask for Lovepreet. In Alex’s mind, we park the car around the corner from Satguru Sweets (in front of Dunkin Donuts) and call Lovepreet and tell him where we are. Smart. Lovepreet answers and says he will be there three minutes. We sit and I scrutinize every single person walking and driving past. In silence, of course. Five minutes later Lovepreet calls and asks for our location. Alex describes that we are in a blue Jeep on a side street across from Dunkin Donuts (this is maybe my favorite detail so I am making sure to talk about is as much as possible). Then, the most anticlimatic thing happens: a sedan with three guys turns the corner, the driver rolls down the window and, without even fully stopping, hands my cracked screen cover, baby blue encased iPhone 8 out his window to Alex. I say “thank you!” in the really puny, too-high voice that you would expect from a girl who soberly left her cell phone in the back of a Lyft and now feels apologetic for the inconvenience she has caused her boyfriend and the driver, and they drive away.
And that’s that. My phone was returned. With 40% battery to boot (because they immediately turned it off on Friday and tried to steal it? Idk). My final thoughts are that a) the driver who handed us the phone was definitely not Lovepreet (at least not according to the photo on his Lyft profile) and b) has my phone somehow been implanted with technological watching software and now all of my data and internet searches and text messages and credit card numbers are being scraped and sent back to Lovepreet so one can he can fully assume my identity? Who knows. At least I didn't have to go to the Sprint store.