As I entered my friend's, I was feeling proud. I hadn't been arrested for being drunk and disorderly in New York City at a time where black men were moving targets for the police, combined with being on a night where every bar had open bar (and when they say open bar in New York... They really do mean open bar. Any drink you want).
Money (do I even know how much I'm supposed to have on me?!), check.
Passport, fuc-, oh wait, I put it in friend's bag because I didn't trust myself to not potentially lose it whilst drunk.
Mobile phone, fuck.
I've done it again. Day six/seven and I've lost my flipping mobile phone.
The back story.
For those of you who do not know, in recent years I have not had the best of luck with mobile phones. In 2011, I went through a really rough time where I lost three Blackberries and one iPhone in the space of three months. The first two (an iPhone and Blackberry) were lost on the same drunken night where I started by downing a 70cl bottle of Sambuca in ten minutes.
The next was plain stupidity; left on a bus on my way home from what had actually been a great meeting that had put me in great spirits.
The final one, I'm convinced I was pick-pocketed. I was sober (the morning after I'd had a BBQ in my university house, but I swear I was sober by the morning/late-afternoon that I was functioning within).
After losing that last one (and spending around £300 on replacements in the process after ProtectMyBubble screwed me over on mobile phone insurance - NEVER INSURE YOUR VALUABLES WITH THEM), I took it as a sign from God that I needed to spend the rest of the year without a phone. It was liberating. People didn't contact me unnecessarily, only if they needed to via email. People would meet me on time, because they'd have no way of reaching out to me if they were running late. I spent more time reading, instead of glued to social media on train journeys.
I ended 2011 with a once state-of-the-art-but-now-a-crappy Sony Ericsson W810i and, in August 2012, I finally rejoined the smartphone market when my upgrade was due and got an iPhone 4S. I lost my iPhone 4S in October of that same year whilst visiting my best friend in Nottingham for university event Carnage (for those of you who do not know what Carnage is, it's a University bar crawl of sorts. Drinks are super cheap, everybody is super drunk. If you're too drunk, like I was on this night, they eventually forbid you entry by spray-painting a black X on your T-Shirt) after being egged on by my best friend to perform my infamous party trick; downing a bottle of alcohol. After already pre-drinking. Clearly I had not learn. I didn't even care this time, I knew I had nobody but myself to blame and, after having lost four phones, you just become numb to the feeling of pain induced by such an instance.
Fast-forward to present day and I have spent years being the butt of jokes regarding losing valuables, and attained the nickname CJ (standing for 'Calamity Jones') along the way. Now, however, I believed I had shook off the curse. No longer would I be referred to as CJ! I'd been on several holidays since and, actually, it was other people losing things, not me! In fact, come to think about it, I don't actually think I've ever lost anything on holiday, except if you count money which, let's face it, would have been squandered on alcohol anyway.
Gentlemen's bets had been placed by my friends on what day I would lose my phone on holiday. In light of the knowledge of the open bars, most people had their money on New Year's Eve. My best friend had even received messages from other friends back home insisting he take care of me and make sure I don't drink too much.
Again, I was feeling soooooooooooo proud of myself that I believed I'd made it home and proved them all wrong. Except I hadn't.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck, I've left my phone in the taxi."
Check outside the window, of course the taxi had gone.
"Be calm, Abe. Be calm."
Since losing five phones, I've learnt to take certain precautions. Regular pocket checks on nights out is one of them. Another is to have phone insurance with a reputable company and, the third, is to have the lifesaver Find My iPhone installed on my phone.
I quickly figure out that the phone must have slipped out of my pocket in the taxi whilst I'd fallen asleep as I remembered using it in the taxi. 'No problem' I think to myself and call my phone from my friend's phone. Except my phone isn't going to ring. Because it's on silent. It's always on silent.
'No problem' I think to myself again. I attempt (and fail) to install Find My iPhone onto my friend's phone, because not everybody is as
I alternate between sending sounds to my phone, and phoning my phone, in hope that the taxi driver can hear it. He does not pick up the phone. On Find My iPhone, you can also see a map of where the phone is and it is quite clear that the phone is in my taxi. After about half an hour of repeating and failing the same process, the phone stops moving. Nearby in Staten Island. I say nearby, Google Maps said it was a twenty minute drive away, but over two hours on foot. What the hell?!
I remembered how difficult it was for us to get a taxi that night. The thing about New York taxi drivers is that many of them do not know where the hell they're going. And if they don't know... They're not taking you. No matter how much they're going to make. Staten Island is pretty far out from Manhattan. Pretty out of the way. The first three or four cabbies that we tried to get to take us declined. But the final one was more than enthusiastic to. At that moment, it all made sense to me... He lived in Staten Island. He was going to have to go home anyway, he'd hit gold by finding customers who lived near him! My phone was in the back of his taxi and he was nonethewiser. On Find My iPhone, you can lock the phone and put a message on the screen.
"Hi there, you dropped us in Staten Island yesterday. I left my phone in your taxi last night and would really appreciate if you could call us on [insert friend's American number here]. Thanks!" I decided to retire. I text my best friend (I have a bit of an impressive memory with numbers, I know his, my other best friend, mum and a few other numbers off head) and send an email to let them know I am alive and well, not yet ready to reveal that I've lost my phone.
My friend couldn't believe how calm I was. Well, what else could I be? If it was gone, well... I'd been here before. And, at least this time, I had reliable insurance.
The next morning we wake up and I'm pretty blasé about my phone. We've still heard nothing from our taxi driver. Find My iPhone tells me my phone is in the same spot. After some hours, we start plotting to get a taxi to the street which Find My iPhone tells us the phone is on. After all, how many yellow taxis can there really be on the drive of a random street in Staten Island? It'd be really easy to spot it. This was gonna be simple. Just as we began to scheme on how we'd get my iPhone back, my friend's phone begins to ring. It's an unknown number!
I pick up the call:
"Hi... I've just found your phone in the back of my taxi. Well, not my taxi, I didn't drop you yesterday, it was my (taxi) partner's taxi. We share a taxi"
"Where are you guys?"
"We're in Staten Island"
"Well I'm just about to head in to Manhattan now to start my shift but I can meet you tomorrow..."
He hears the sorrow in my silence.
"You really need this phone today, don't you."
"Yes. I do."
"Okay give me twenty minutes, I'll turn back around and bring it back to you."
Thank God for the good people of New York City. On my few trips to New York, I've found that the people of New York are either a) really rude arseholes or b) Super-kind, helpful and friendly. I'm glad that my taxi driver was the latter. I gave him $50 out of gratitude. That's less than I'd have had to pay for an insurance claim but, better yet, priceless on the amount of memories I wouldn't have been able to capture for the remaining five days of the best holiday of my life, and the convenience that is brought with being able to use one's phone abroad, especially in such a large group (I travelled in a group of fifteen, and there were eight additional friends out there at the same time)!
So, what have I learnt from this? Well, nothing. I'm not sure there's a lesson to be learnt from this. But the lessons were learnt from previous phone losses by having insurance and, more importantly, having Find My iPhone! You're not always going to get good people in this world. But I was lucky and, should anyone else ever lose their phone, I hope they'll be as lucky as I am!
So if you have an iPhone, do yourself a favour and set up Find My iPhone. You might not ever need it... But in a time of need, you will certainly regret not having it!
I'd like to give a special thanks to Steven Paul Jobs for all the ways in which he has improved my quality of life, may his soul rest in perfect peace.
Currently listening to: Stateless - Bloodstream