12:18 AM Saturday 27 October 2012 Nunhead Heights
I have just lost my phone.
Good, proper, lost. It is either one or two places and they are not there. I’ve gone back and looked. If someone returns it I will give them £50. Or should that be £100? That is the bargaining. Or is that the denial because the phone isn’t coming back. How is the finder of my phone supposed to know where to return it?
I should have put my phone number or email address on the back. Too late.
The five stage of grief by Kubler-Ross. Or are there six? That was two of them. Bargaining and denial.
I have just called O2 to put a block on the phone. That is a sign of acceptance that the phone is not coming back and is probably in the hands of evil-doers calling Egypt or Pakistan or Russia.
Maybe I should look again in the rucksack which I have looked through twice? Just checked. Now three times. Not there.
Maybe I gave to my son when I was transferring my things from my rucksack? He hasn’t brought it over and he didn’t answer the phone when my friend Jane called. And why would he have taken it without telling me? He would have given me that knowing, naughty, giving-away-the-secret smile he is famous for.
God, this is an empty feeling.
The feeling of loss is weighing on my chest. This tragedy and the money I had stolen from my luggage in Edinburgh this summer. And the other ‘lost’ phone I had nicked about six years ago. And that I let my car engine block freeze up. Plonker.
The Stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. Kubler-Ross left out the big one: bankruptcy.
This failure is going to cost me a fortune of wasted British Pounds. I have to get an iphone. I am an iphone person. I am the slightly more pretentious version of the council house tenant who has Sky TV. I have to get an iphone.
And they don’t call it ‘Pounds Sterling’ anymore. Why is that? When did that happen? Why am I thinking about that at this time?
My mind is all questions.
Maybe it is where I got into the car? I was holding it in my hand and when I went into Jane’s car for her to give my son Carnegie and me a lift back from Forest Hill. I didn’t check that side of the street. Should I bicycle back there in the rain and cold and dark? She did call the phone and I would have heard it ring had it from across the street. Wouldn’t I?
Why didn’t I hook up that app – I had that app – the Find-My-Iphone app? Too difficult to understand and to keep on and I have heard the police do nothing if you tell them you have found it’s location.
Why wasn’t I paying attention to my phone!?
Two people I know had found iPhones and didn’t try to find the owners.
I told them both it wasn’t right for them to keep them but I didn’t do more than that. I should have taken a strong stance! I was staring at MY iPhone in their hands. What goes around comes around and all that.
I checked where I got out of the car, where Jane dropped us off. I move aside the leaves. Nothing.
In a flash I thought: Maybe I left it on the counter of the news agents when I bought the newspapers – the Telegraph and ‘ I ‘. Don’t judge me, Britain. I picked up the Guardian yesterday and the day before that the Times. I refused to be judged by the newspapers I read.
I asked the weak-looking shopkeeper:
Have you found a phone just now? And the clerk’s reply was ‘I don’t think so’.
‘Don’t think so’!?
Wouldn’t you know if you just, within twenty minutes, found a phone? Even if it were the cheapest phone I think you’d remember. And mine was an iPhone 4S. I didn’t say this.
What can I do? Jump behind the counter and search the house that lays behind the shop? I may be wrong. Forgive me if I am wrong.
Twenty minutes later I’m resigned.
‘I’ll get a new phone tomorrow.’ I tell myself.
Then I panic again. I must change my passwords! I swing into action. I’ve changed my passwords. But I remember the stand-up shows I’ve ‘taped’ or whatever they call it. Damn Apple for making it almost impossible to download ‘voice notes’ or whatever they call it. Damn you arrogant Apple! I’ve lost a lot. But it is just me. And I am no Lenny Bruce and comedy gold.
I speak to my flatmate who has just come in. Coincidentally, he informs me, his phone is broken.
I don’t care! I feel guilty I’m not sympathetic to him in his moment of need.
Fidel is up on all things current. He works in the dole office and sees life on the ground floor and below. And he’s a Southwark boy.
‘Do you have insurance?’
No, of course not. It is £10 a month or £240 a year and who pays half of the cost of something in insurance? Would you pay £15,000 insurance over two years for a £30,000 car?
I have another flash: I will put up posters on trees offering a reward for the phone.
He laughs, again.
Should I make a stink with the newsagents? They have it. I am almost sure of it.
‘Let it go. That is how so and so [mentions someone we both know] got his iphone. So and so had lost his Samsung phone and then he found an iPhone and that’s how it works.’
Indiana comic Jim Gaffigan entered my mind. I remember a comedy bit he did 20 years ago, before he was famous and rich. How it is okay to not to search for the owners of lost umbrellas. Umbrellas are just passed around the universe. It was funny.
I ask my flatmate, Fidel:
‘Could an £500 iphone with a person’s work, all their contacts and apps and music, be treated the same as a £3 (three pound) umbrella?’
Yes, lost phones are reunited with their owners in Britain. I left my phone in the dressing room at the Edinburgh Fringe last August and it was returned to me. And misplaced phones are probably returned every day in South London and Nunhead, too.
But it is possible that an lost iPhone now belongs to the universe.
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