Last Thursday, on my way to The Grind I suffered one of the worst feelings in the world. Just as I was walking up West 73rd Street to cross Broadway en route to the 72nd Street subway station, I felt immense dread, if one were to rank worst feelings in this order (your personal preference may vary):
- Someone dear dying.
- Oneself dying.
- Death of a relationship.
- Death of one’s livelihood.
- Leaving one’s iPhone on one’s writing table: a feeling approaching death.
For a flash I considered dashing home to get my phone. But, due to a plumbing problem in my building, I was already running late. I had cleared out everything in my bathroom so building management could investigate a leak in my shower, not to imply that moving a trash can, a bath mat and a scale requires tremendous effort, but it requires aforethought, something I sorely lack before noon. The reason I had forgotten my iPhone was because my narrow sliver of morning memory, normally reserved to recall taking my phone and wearing my watch, was invested in remembering to strap on the watch and to bring a pear. As soon as I packed the pear into my satchel, my allotment of middle age morning memory was maximized. I raced out the door iPhone-less.
Dropping the f-bomb in my head, I decided to forego returning home to get my phone. I crossed the street and entered the subway station. The express train was running with delays so I hopped onto a local where I got a seat. I thought:
Me (thinking): Sweet! I can read The New Yorker!
But I could not read The New Yorker. I download it onto my iPhone and my hard copy of the magazine was at home on my writing table, coincidentally next to my iPhone. In my satchel I only had an umbrella and that pear. The pear had an organic label sticker I could read, but for the duration of a thirteen stop, 4.76 mile subway ride, that story was going to get real old real fast. At West 23rd Street, seven stops into my journey, my local train is delayed. I thought:
Me (thinking): I better text Godsend [my colleague] about this.
But I recalled that I am iPhone-less. I make a mental note to contact my sister and friends not to text me. I don’t want to miss texts from kith and kin.
At The Grind, I email the news to my sister, Dovima. She emails me back:
Dovima: Might not be so bad after all. You might actually feel free.
My sister’s philosophical outlook makes me reflect:
Me: Are we related?
The Boss gives me a bubble wrapped package containing two dead light bulbs. These light bulbs are supposed to have a lifetime guarantee. She says:
The Boss: You know what to do about this.
Indeed I do! This has happened to us six times before. I photograph the dead light bulbs with my iPhone and forward the image to our supplier. He sends us replacements. That doesn’t get done that day.
I have to call building management to tell them about the leak in my shower, but I only have their number in my iPhone. Then, I recall that I also have it in hard copy in my Filofax. I think:
Me (thinking): Oh happy day for paper backup!
But I left my Filofax at home. It’s sitting on my writing table, on top of my New Yorker that is next to my iPhone. They’re probably having a three-way.
For good measure, I wonder if I remembered to wear a bra. I did.
I do a computer search, trying to trace my building management’s phone number. Last January, I emailed them! So, I email them again anticipating this missive will end up in their spam folder, but for the first time that day, something goes right. They email me back — with their phone number! They want me to call them! Just as quickly, my elation turns to worry. Do they have something terrible to report about the plumbing problem? I imagine:
Building Management: We’ve pinpointed the source of the problem. It’s your bathroom. We’re going to have to gut it so you won’t be able to use it again until January. And your iPhone keeps ringing.
Inside my head I drop another f-bomb. I make the call. What they actually want me to know is that both their daughters are pregnant and they’ll be grandparents next spring. They add that they fixed my leak. I am thrilled on many levels.
When I enter my sanctum sanctorum that evening and I’m reunited with my iPhone, I feel immense relief.
Only then do I recall that I forgot to eat the pear that I took in its place.