I had my first real iPhone scare a few weeks back. I know I am not the first person this has happened to, but it sure felt awfully lonely when it happened to me, as though I was the only one in the world who had ever misplaced their smartphone. Crazy thoughts ran through my head: How will I schedule all my daughter’s Brownie meetings on the fly? How will I check the news? How would I write for Todaysiphone.com if I don’t have an iPhone anymore?!
Here’s what happened: We were sadly in need of a new couch. (Know what a couple of small children and two badly behaved dogs can do to a microfiber sofa? It’s tragic. In just three years, a couch can look and smell like something cousin Barry had in his “rec room” in the ’70s next to the lava lamp.)
So we’d made the pilgrimage to the furniture superstore to finally get a “grown-up” sofa, one that wasn’t handed down from a well-meaning relative or gotten from the “Minor Flaws, Major Deals” section at a discount outlet. We went to Jordan’s Furniture, a furniture megaplex with an IMAX theater, a Fudrucker’s, and â€” I am not kidding â€” a trapeze school. I know it sounds ridiculous. It IS ridiculous. But what a brilliant business plan! Come in, bring the kids â€” heck, bring the whole family â€” stay the day. And while you’re at it, why not pick up that bedroom set Junior has been jumping all over?
Of course both my husband, Chris, and I had our iPhones with us. Mine lives in its comfy little, perfectly sized space in the front of my purse. I often lighly pat it to make sure it’s there, safe and sound. I was even thinking, “Hey, if we’re not sure which one, I can snap pics and MMS them to a few friends for opinions.”
In line at Fudrucker’s, the whining began. “Mama, why is it so loooooong?” “This is not fun.” “Can I just go over there?” Well, 1) of course, the line is long; it’s dinner time at the furniture mall, and this is the only place to eat, 2) it’s not fun for me either, and 3) NO, you take one step out of this line, and you’ll be in time-out until college. Little fingers started to pat the front of my purse, “Mama, I think iPhoney misses me.” I handed the phone to my son, and Chris passed his to our daughter, Hazel. Finally, some peace. Not a peep â€” just noises from the game apps. Hazel was lost in Bejeweled 2, and Gabe was thoroughly engrossed in Bounce On. We carried on through dinner this way before going on to find the perfect sectional family sofa.
At one point in the sofa hunt, my husband asked me to check our bank account. As I reached into my purse, I could feel my panic levels rising. It’s not there! I looked inside the bag, as if my fingers were deceiving me. At this point, I couldn’t care less about a new couch. I was frantically turning my handbag inside out.
My friend’s son had left one in a restaurant a few months back, and he hasn’t seen it since. It’s really sad seeing him watch us check email, send texts, and use apps.
I took quick stock of the situation: Chris had the kids under control, and I had a mission. “I gotta go!” I barely remember heading back to Fudrucker’s, where Gabe last had it, but it must have been an epic scene. I made a mad dash down the escalators, possibly knocking little old ladies and small children out of the way. I went to the table where we sat â€” even moving the people sitting there aside, so I could check â€” but no luck. I explained the situation to the hostess, and the manager came over. “She left a pager.” (A pager? Is this 1989 or something?) “No, an iPhone,” I said, interrupting her.
She looked annoyed. “She left something at table 34.”
“Well, nobody turned anything in, but I’ll check,” said the manager. With that, he walked off. I waited â€” and waited and waited. He returned with a silver flip-phone. “Is this it?” Was he kidding? Okay, not everyone owns an iPhone. But does he not own a TV either? The app commercials are all over the place.
“No, it’s an iPhone.” I was beyond panic now and onto just plain glum.
As I turned to go, a bubbly, tall, dark-haired girl comes in. “Where’s Amanda?” She was waving my iPhone in her hand! “I saw it on table 34, and I said this is way too special to leave sitting there. Your husband called and told me your name. He said you were here looking for it.” She handed it right over.
“Thank you so much!” I exclaimed, overwhelmed with gratitude. Knowing the situation could have cost me a lot more, I shoved a $20 into her hand where the device had been. “No, I couldn’t. Please, you’d do it for me if you found my iPhone,” she said. Ah, okay â€” another iPhone user. No wonder she totally gets it. And she’s right, I would have done exactly the same thing.
Sure, there are plenty of stories about people stealing iPhones, but aside from the criminally inclined, I theorize that there’s something else at play among everyday users. We get each other. And we get each other’s pain when the object of our affection (and in some cases, profession) goes missing. My brother-in-law left his iPhone 2G in a NYC taxi a couple of years ago. Did he kiss his device goodbye? No! His phone, lost in Midtown, made it all the way up to Harlem, where it was found by another passenger â€” an iPhone user who returned it the same night. So even in the big bad city, we can still take care of each other!
I’ve seen strangers strike up conversations about a cool case or a wicked app. I’ve seen jailbreakers help each other with info, tips and even amateur tech support. And now, I’ve witnessed support of a different kind from a fellow user. So the phone that already brings me so much utility and happiness has given me something else â€” access to community. That’s something I hadn’t counted on. Maybe not everyone is like this, but enough of us are that it’s kind of… what’s Apple’s favorite word these days? Oh yes, magical.
Even so, I don’t think I want to put that to the test again. I was without my phone for only 15 minutes, but it was awful. Now I double-pat the place in the front of my purse, and check it a little more often. And when the kids use it, they must return it to my purse or they will lose iPhone privileges. Hey, it’s either them or me.