It was a bit of a rough morning to start out with. I've been staying up into the wee hours working on my Judy Show challenge, and so the sounds of NPR commentators was not exactly welcome at 9AM. Lord, I did not want to get out of bed, and yet, maybe I couldn't face a churchful of people this Sunday morning, but I could play hookey and creep into the Starbucks s shower, wearing a "Homeslice Pizza" t-shirt, green hoodie and worn out tennies, and who would give me a second glance? No one, that's who. So I piled into the car, and a coffee and cinnamon roll later, a little writing completed, I got back in. I didn't miss my phone right away. First I drove around awhile, ran some errands, and when I finally reached into my pocket and found it missing, I didn't panic yet. I mean, I leave things around. It's something I do, and I cope with it as best I can. I knew I had probably just left it at the apartment, and could find it when I got home. No rush. And yet, once home, it wasn't there.
I enabled the "find my iphone" feature and had it play a noise to alert me where it was as I wandered around listening for it. Nothing. Then, after looking at the intersection where it was located I realized it was at the Starbucks ,so I drove on back, still not worried at all. After all, these things happen. And usually(aside from the time a month ago when my car window had been busted and my iphone and ipod had been stolen) they work themselves out. I talked to the cute guy at the counter and asked him if an iphone had been turned into the lost and found.
Cute Starbucks Man: No...oh wait, was it making a noise?
Me: Probably, I had the alert turned on because I assumed it was in my apartment.
Cute Starbucks Man: Oh yeah (crossing to the cushy chair I'd been sitting in) it made the noise and then it was driving me crazy so I turned off the sound. It was right here, on the table. I...Oh man, I'm sorry, I assumed it belonged to someone who had gone to the bathroom. It was right here.
THIS is when panic made a rumbly in my tumbly. Where could it be? It had been here less than 7 minutes ago. Where was it now? The "locate" feature on my laptop showed me that the phone had been powered down. Realization set in. Someone knew I'd lost my phone and powered it down, and taken it. Fuck.
Some of the other patrons at Starbucks had heard me talking to the counter guy and began piecing this inane little drama together, and they couldn't have been kinder. a guy at a nearby table asked if I wanted to use his phone to call mine (straight to voicemail) and two kids mentioned that they'd heard the phone go off and seen a guy who had been sleeping next to it take it and walk out. The guy was a regular, and Cute Starbucks Man remembered him, so he said next time he came into the shop he would try to find out who he was. He gave me his number in case I needed anything.
I wasn't done. I wasn;t giving in easily this time. I wasn't just going to let someone my fuck me over. Oh no, I wasn't taking this shit sitting down this time. Nope, I was going to wander around the neighborhood looking for this guy. But after that proved fruitless, I went home to recheck the location of the phone and see if it had been turned back on.
Once home, the anger came. "Who the hell did this little fuck think he is? What gives him the right? He doesn't know my situation! I can't afford another phone! I'm just picking up the pieces from the last time. This has been one shitty month of shitty things happening!!!!" What was worse was the knowing that some of those, not all, but some, had been preventable and that it wasn't someone on the outside who'd been responsible them, but a man on the inside. That man... (spoiler alert) was... (wait for it)...me.
But still, if I found this guy I was going to punch the shit out of him. I was going to make mincemeat out of his face. He would rue the day he fucked with this faggots phone. And yeah, maybe part of it would be directed at the guy who stole my stuff at Christmas time, but I didn't care. Someone was going down for this. And even if he beat me up instead of the other way around, I was going to go down fighting!
And then, after the phone had been powered down for forty minutes, I paused my "why me, what I have I done to deserve this, somebody's going to pay, I can't afford this! I don't have money...well I'm just going to have to go without a phone, and what's that going to do to my work situation" pity party, a new location for the phone had been pinpointed just a few blocks from the Starbucks. Before I really knew what I was doing, I was out the door and in my car with my laptop open in the seat next to me. I knew you weren't supposed to go to the address where your phone had been located, but at that point I didn't care. This had become bigger than my iphone. It was about justice goddamnit and I was gonna git some. A part of me knew I could always turn back if things seemed dicey so I drove to the house and watched it from the street.
A few minutes later a schlubby guy in a baseball cap come out of the house, dropped something in his garbage can and walked back into the house. He seemed safe enough. And if my danger signals went off I could lie and say I was looking for my friend Berniece, or some other story...
I rang the doorbell and the guy came out. He was on the phone.
Schlubby Guy: Hold on dude, something's up. Yeah?
Me: I'm looking for my I-phone. I located it at this address. Pretty sure you have it.
Schlubby Guy: Oh yeah!! I was waiting for you, I wondered when you'd come by for it. Hold on.
So, what...this asshole is just going to pretend that he was hoping I'd come by and get the phone? He was keeping it here at his house in the hopes I would track it down? Whatever gets you through your day, dickface. Just give me the fuckin' phone.
When he came back, instead of giving me my iphone he handed over this brown taped up box. Did he think I was UPS?
Me: No, I'm here for an iphone that was taken and I tracked here. Do you have little Asian guy here with black headphones, goes to Starbucks a lot?
Schlubby Guy: Yeah.
Me: Well, could you let me talk to him, or talk to him for me?
It was at this point that the smell of pot hit my nostrils. Eventually the little guy came out, my phone in hand. I reached for it. He wouldn't let go. At this point I realized getting this back might be a bit more of a struggle than I'd thought.
Little Guy: Will you turn it on?
Me: ummm. no.
Little Guy: Ok, Ok.
He looked at me.
Little Guy: Well, you found it, you found it, so it's yours.
And that was that. He let go of it, turned back into the house, closed the door behind him, and I drove home. And sure, I felt good for a moment, happy that I'd taken matters into my own hands, even though they say you aren't supposed to (and I probably wouldn't recommend anyone else do this either, just in case), but I also felt sad. Sad that someone could justify walking off with someone else's stuff. I suppose it's possible that he meant to figure out for himself who it belonged to and didn't want to hand it over to the Starbucks people, but I don't truly believe that story. Anyway, I got my phone back, got a bit of an adrenaline charge, and the only real downside was the loss of an hour, and the added feeling that the world was not quite as friendly as I'd thought before.