It started as a good time! I took the seasonal trip referenced in this post, enjoyed some nice Winter Ales, Local 1, and one or two other excellent Brooklyn beers, and then started to head home.

I got a phone call, and reached into my pocket to answer it. I happened to be standing on a grate in the concrete. Here's the problem with New York City grates:

(Photo by Ángel Franco/The New York Times)

They happen to be almost the exact width of an iPhone. This is something I learned far, far too well this weekend as I watched my phone slip out of my hands and entirely out of reach like MC Hammer's fortune. Yep, my phone is underground. Subterranean.

"Whoa, thanks for the phone! This is way better than those Communicators. Cowabunga!" (Photo by

So, of course, after I stopped kicking a defenseless wall and bellowing words that are unfit for this blog and the ears of any decent person, I had to figured something out. It was a Friday night--on a holiday weekend--so there was a 0% chance of someone coming with equipment to find me and help me out of this situation. I think this is an emergency of the highest order, but apparently this is the epitome of first-world problems and those who could have helped me were probably off doing something that, you know, actually helps people in need.

So instead, I began scheming, Sandlot style. I had to get that phone back. I tried, naturally, to lift the grate off the ground. This taught me 2 things:

  1. I am not very strong.
  2. Trying to pull steel out of concrete isn't the greatest activity for your back.
  3. Apparently I am now old enough that I have to worry about how activities will affect my back.
"Should've used an erector set, you L7 weenie!" (Photo by Business Insider)

After this came the desperate reaching, the makeshift fishing poles, and every other apparatus one can think of yet, there it remained, firmly in sight and entirely out of reach. Its hideous, dumb white case beckoned me like a desperate, lost soul. It's hurting my heart just to think about it lying there, helpless. Perhaps such a connection to an electronic device is a sign of illness. But I don't care. I'm in mourning.

A funny thing happens to you when you lose your phone in 2013. You start to view the world through a different filter. You begin to notice some things around you. Observations I've made:

  • There are these things called books. They're bound, paper-based products that have information printed within them. It's like Wikipedia, except you can touch it.
  • When you talk to people, you can get a better feel for what they're talking about if you actually look at them, instead of checking Twitter or Facebook or responding to texts while they talk.
  • If you're on a car trip and you can't kill time playing Angry Birds, you can look out the window and see actual birds. I know. They're real. They're not as angry in real life, but they're there.

So there you have it. I lost my phone while out of town for a weekend, and had no contact with the digital world. No emails. No phone calls. No texts. No tweets. No anger toward the nonsense people are sharing on Facebook.

Just calm moments of introspection and literature. Appreciation of nature. True, intimate connections with other human beings.

God, I can't wait til my replacement phone shows up.