I lost track of my cell phone last Friday morning and I haven’t seen it since. I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I think I left it in the bathroom at the animal shelter when I was changing clothes after finishing my dog-walking shift. But whatever happened, my phone didn’t come home with me and I didn’t realize it was missing until Friday night.
Naturally, I was panic-stricken. That phone had all my contact numbers, my texts and a whole lot of pictures. I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of havoc someone could wreak with a stolen cell phone, but I imagined all sorts of scenarios ranging from hacked emails to identity theft. The fact that I had my cell protected by a pass code was a small comfort, but I figured a truly dedicated thief could crack that code eventually.
It didn’t help when I tried to call my service provider to report my phone stolen or missing only to have an automated voice tell me that my account password was incorrect. After three tries, the voice offered to reset my password and send it to my phone. And while I’m sure whoever stole my phone would appreciate that very much, I personally didn’t think it was such a good idea.
Eventually I got a real live person on the phone and he graciously walked me through the process of turning off my old phone and ordering a new one which I could pick up on Saturday afternoon. In the end, I was only without a cell phone for less than twenty-four hours, and I even got to keep my old phone number.
Looking back on the whole thing, I’m kind of embarrassed. Not just because I managed to lose my phone in the exact same bathroom where I had dropped my previous cell phone in the toilet when it fell out of my coat pocket. (Although I have sworn that I’m never going to use that particular bathroom again, since it seems to be very unlucky, cell phone-wise.) What I was most embarrassed about was how worked up I got about losing a phone.
When cell phones first came out, I thought they were convenient for making calls while I was away from home, but I vowed that I would never be one of those people who are glued to their phone. I remember rolling my eyes at a particularly pushy salesman who told me that my cell phone would become the most important thing I owned. Yet here I was, a few years later, panicking just because my phone was gone.
Yes, it had my texts, my photos and my contacts on it, but I was able to recover most of those from back-ups. And it was worrying to know that some out-of-town friends who were dropping by on Saturday morning might be trying to get in touch with me, but they also had the numbers of our home phone and my husband’s cell. Ultimately, the only real problem I encountered by losing my phone (aside from having to pay for a new one) was the mild inconvenience of not being able to easily and constantly communicate with all my family and friends.
I’m almost sixty years old, which means I have spent more years of my life not having a cell phone than having one. And yet I have obviously managed to become far too dependent on this particular device, and I find that a little disturbing. Maybe I need to “misplace” my phone every now and then just to remind myself that I really can get along without it. . . at least for a little while.