I laid in bed last night, still in wonder how the days events played out. I’ve heard stories about how people have used the collective nature of twitter to help each other out. But, I had no idea I would ever be able to do so.
And to think, my biggest concern when I left the house yesterday morning, was whether my Comparative Government class would be cancelled. I was supposed to hear from the teacher about a schedule change. But, no word by the time I had to get going. So, I hopped on my bike and headed toward Auraria.
I went straight to my teacher’s office. From there a classmate and I heard that it would be at 4:00pm. That would mean that I would be late to work. I called and explained that I couldn’t drop this class and I would probably be only an hour late. I was filling in and he didn’t have anybody else that could cover, so he had no choice to be ok with it.
Now, this is where it gets fun. Shoot ahead four hours. I spent noon to 3:30 working from a Chipotle on the mall. And as always my iPhone is tethered to my ears. It’s a way I cope with social anxiety. It’s a distraction from my surroundings. When I’m out away from the house, my iPhone never leaves my side. Until yesterday afternoon.
When I arrived to the Plaza bldg on the Auraria campus, I had to visit the men’s room. When in there, I moved my phone from my pocket to my laptop bag. It was in a side pocket that could easily be gotten too. That was the last time I would see it for the next four hours.
As far as I could tell, it’s hard to tell when it disappeared. There were two clear spots when it could have disappeared. One was when I was washing my hands in the restroom. I’m usually very careful with my belongings. In crowded venues like a concert, my wallet moves to my front pocket. And my laptop bag usually would be very close to me when I’m doing something like washing my hands. But, in this particular case, it was about a foot away leaning against a wall. I wasn’t alone in there. But, it wasn’t crowded. It was hot outside. And I had been riding my bike. So, I took an opportunity to get splash some water on my face. That was the first time my phone could have disappeared.
The second time happened when we were waiting for class to begin. I was sitting out in the hallway waiting with some other people. The girl I had met earlier in the day, came and sat down next to me on my right. My bag was to my left. So, was a person. I’m not even sure if I could describe him. By the time we decided to see what classroom we would be in (there was some disagreement on where it would take place), that guy was gone. And most likely my phone. Shortly after we sat down in class, I took an opportunity to grab my phone to check twitter. The zipper to that pocket was open.
Now, I do remember closing that pocket. It’s very clear in my mind. I closed the zipper as I kicked open the door to the restroom and my eyes were on the pocket as I did so. You see, I had to cram both the headphones and phone in there, so I was looking at it to make sure nothing fell out and that the headphones didn’t block the zipper. So, no possibility of it falling out.
I spent the first 15 minutes of class kicking myself for losing my phone. I tried to concentrate on taking notes. But, then I remembered that there was a pretty good wifi network on campus, and felt the need to at least vent about the loss of my phone on the twitter. By the time I had my laptop open and Evernote open (so I could still take notes), I had the thought that I should give out my phone number to my 650 followers. I can’t make it to a phone to try and call my phone. But, maybe at least one of my followers might do it. I sent the following tweet:
It wasn’t until later, when I got the phone back and charged the battery, did I realize what people did. There were thirty phone calls on my phone. And several very key text messages. I think the text messages did it. Here is one sent from twitter friend @Kristenality:
"Can you please return this phone? You are being tracked by multiple authorities. The phone’s owner is more than willing to give you a reward in exchange."
Another friend @kilomonkey sent me a direct message saying that the guy picked up the phone and sounded scared.
I didn’t have the “Find My iPhone” feature on my phone since it requires a paid yearly subscription. I let it lapse in favor of making my car payment. But, the thief didn’t know that. So, I and another twitter user @MatthewMeeks came up with the idea that we could bluff.
I didn’t find out until I had gotten home that he had apparently ditched the phone not too long after taking it in another classroom in the same building. The teacher who found the phone (I still don’t know who that was) sent a tweet out over SMS. Everyone who follows me saw that before I did.
Shortly after arriving home and finding out via twitter that it was found and waiting for me at the police station, I went over there to pick it up on my way to work.
It’s a weird feeling to be without a phone. I felt very disconnected. Even something little as knowing the time. I can’t remember the last time I wore a wrist watch. For many of us, our phone is the way we know what time it is.
So, what have I learned from all this?
*The phone will go in my pocket at all times. I’m used to this and it’s worked well for me in the past. Stick with old habits. Don’t try to change things up. Especially in new environments.
*The iPhone has a passcode lock feature that is now active. It’s a slight inconvenience. But essential. Not only do I have ALL of my personal information on the phone. But, several details about my job are on there.
*Also, I’ve reactivated my Mobile Me account. So, if I lose my phone somewhere around the house or at school, I can just open my laptop and see it on a map. For something that carries such a high monetary and personal value, it’s the least I can do. And if I can’t find it, I’ll also be able to wipe the memory of the phone remotely. That alone gives me peace of mind.
Oh. You and what time did I finally get to work? I was supposed to be there at 5. I finally arrived at 8:30pm. At least I had my phone by the time I got there.
Well, this has been a very long post. But, I promised I would tell the story.