A few weeks ago, I lost my phone.
It was Thursday, and I was walking with Yitzchak on the short mutual stretch of the trip that would take me to pick Shlomo up from gan and take Yitzchak to a bus to go to Be’er Sheva (yeah, Be’er Sheva, like the city in the Bible). We passed the supermarket and saw the bus about to enter the traffic circle. Yitzchak backtracked to the bus stop, we said goodbye, and I turned to wave as he got on the bus.
A few minutes later, I reached for my phone to check the time. My phone wasn’t there. Uh-oh. It was so late that I just figured I’d run to get Shlomo and then run back and backtrack. If my phone hadn’t fallen in the street, it would likely still be there.
I ran the rest of the way to the gan, picked up Shlomo, and ran back to find my phone. I backtracked all the way home, even though I knew I’d had it just before we passed the supermarket, but I didn’t find it.
I put the stroller away and Shlomo and I went up the stairs. When I got in, the phone was ringing. Maybe Yitzchak had seen it fall and picked it up, or maybe someone had seen it fall and seen us together, and had handed it to Yitzchak. Kind of annoying, since Yitzchak wouldn’t be back till late that night, but nothing serious. I closed the door, locked the top lock, and ran to the phone.
“Yitzchak? You have my phone?”
“You know I’ve called you three or four times?”
“Sorry, I just got in this second. You have my phone?”
“No, I don’t, but I know where it is.”
“It’s at Merkaz HaPita.”
“The store right on the corner of B.G. street?”
“Yeah, it’s by the traffic circle with the – “
“Okay, I know which one. How do you know it’s there?”
“Someone apparently picked up your phone a few minutes after you dropped it. I called two or three times and you didn’t answer, and then the person called me back, and I answered, thinking it was you. He told me he’d found the phone and asked if I knew whose it was, so I told him it was my wife’s and he asked me to come get it. I tried to get him to bring it to you or put it in the mailbox but he said it was too out of his way and he’d leave it at Merkaz HaPita. He was really annoyed, he wanted me to tell you to get it, but I said you weren’t home and didn’t have your phone, so I couldn’t contact you. Then he wanted me to come get it, and I told him I was on a bus leaving the city. And then he understood what the problem was and just told me where he’d leave it.”
“Arrg. You mean I have to go back out, when I just ran all the way home and walked all the way up here with Shlomo?” (Walking up four flights of stairs is tiring. Walking up the stairs at Shlomo’s pace is even more tiring.)
“I could get it when I come back, if you want . . .”
“Yeah, right, they won’t even be open then.”
“You could get it later and ask a neighbor to watch Shlomo.”
“No, I don’t know anyone well enough to want to bother them.”
In the meantime, Shlomo poops.
“I guess I’ll just go back out, maybe I won’t take the stroller.”
“Okay, talk to you later. I’m glad you didn’t freak out, I was really scared you’d be a total mess by the time I called.”
“No, because first of all I figured you had my phone and second of all, most people who are important to me, I know their number by heart. And if you’re not that important to me, or we haven’t talked in six months or a year, well, I guess, I don’t really need your number . . . so I just kind of made peace with the loss of the SIM card. Plus, it’s not like I have such a great phone or plan . . .”
I asked Shlomo if he wanted to go out and find my phone. He was ecstatic. We went out, got the stroller (at Shlomo’s request, and it was probably better that way anyways), and walked to Merkaz HaPita. I asked the cashier if someone had brought in a phone and she said yes and pulled it out of the drawer. A second before she handed it to me, she thought for a second and said, “It’s yours, right?”
“Yeah, it’s mine, thanks. How would I know it was here if it wasn’t mine?”
She gave it to me and I thanked her another five or ten times, and we went back home.
Except that the smiling, bouncing toddler was now an out-of-sorts, cranky, toddler.
We went in, changed his diaper, and I tried to tame the crankiness, succeeding somewhat, but not fully.
And then the evening continued, as if nothing unusual had happened.