Monday, August 25, 2014

The Day I Forgot My iPhone

I left my apartment early in the morning to go somewhere with Noah. After getting on the subway, I was dismayed to find that my iPhone was missing. Then soon after, I became dismayed that I was dismayed to find my iPhone missing.

I told myself to calm down. For one thing, I still had my iPad. I wouldn't be caught for the next four hours with no electronics.

The iPhone probably hadn't been lost or stolen between home and the train. I'd have to be seriously out off it not to notice a phone dropping out of my bag. No one had sidled up beside Noah and myself. There were no crowds or diversions. The opportunities to steal my phone were non-existent to anyone but David Blaine.

I took a few deep breaths, stopped rifling and started writing a blog post while riding the train. I also used my iPad to email Jeremy about the iPhone as soon as there was WiFi available.

Soon Noah and I reached our destination. I prepared to go through the metal detector. Noah and I were not at the airport. We were not visiting a family member in jail. We were going through security at Noah's new high school. They want to make sure that people aren't trying to bring knives or guns into the building.

It was annoying how I kept feeling around for the iPhone when presented with the little basket. Finally I put my keys in, and fit the iPad in as best I could.

I dropped off Noah at his Flash Animation summer workshop. Then I went to the post office to mail Hannah a care package at camp. Finally, I proceeded to Starbucks.

It was striking how many times I was reminded that I did not have my iPhone. I was excited to learn that Noah's mid century school building has a mosaic created by Hans Hoffman in 1958. I was unable to photograph this mosaic. Additionally, I was unable to photograph an interesting tangled web of machinery and materials being used for street repair. I was unable to photograph some fetching peeling shutters, weeds covered in dust, trash piled at jaunty angles and a quirky display at the post office.

This experience was less stressful than I would have anticipated. Noting the beauty around me without capturing it became a kind of meditative experience. Notice. Let go. Notice. Let go. And so on.

I was unable to text anyone, which forced me to think about how often I text people. It forced me to email or Facebook message folks. I did not miss the capability to actually speak with people, as I did not want to talk with anyone anyway.

As I parked myself at the Starbucks near Noah's school and noted that it is very spacious and nice, I settled in for some work. I was somewhat annoyed to notice that Jeremy had not responded to my email yet, even though it had been almost two hours since I'd sent it. I composed the following twitter update and posted that from my iPad:

 My family is extremely plugged in. Scrabble, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter. Except when I'm trying to reach them. Then people are off the grid.

As it turns out, this was unfair. That is because Jeremy was very much on the grid when it came to me. He had emailed me back in a very timely fashion. Although the Starbucks was beautifully air conditioned, had ample seating and a lovely vibe, their WiFi was a tad slow that day. I heard some customers talking about it. I then joined in the chatter about the slow WiFi.

I also participated in a discussion about a New York Times article about potential ethical issues surrounding doctors displaying photographs of their patients. The other customers and I all felt the same way. We do not care if other people know that our children go to the pediatrician or the orthodontist. When we send our doctors holiday cards featuring our children, we would like to see these holiday cards displayed along with those of the other patients.

Once the chit chat was over and the email received, I also learned that Jeremy had used the Find My iPhone function to determine that the iPhone was indeed at home. This meant I could stop thinking about the possibility of a magician stealing my phone.

Once finished with that, he then decided it would be fun to use the same app to track my movements with my iPad. He was able to locate me walking about the area previously known as Hell's Kitchen but now called Clinton. He clearly saw me in the vicinity of a Pret A Manger, a fact I was later able to corroborate.

Noah finished his workshop at noon and the rest of my time without my iPhone was a mixture of inconvenient and enlightening. I was able to photograph the Hans Hoffman mosaic as well as the construction site the very next day. There were opportunities missed, but others gained. For one thing, the light was a lot better the next day. Also, some things that had looked interesting the day before had lost their luster. The wisdom that comes from being one day older will do that sometimes.

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