I left my phone on a plane once. I ran back though the concourse, against traffic, cutting through the Cinnabon line all the way to the end where the regional jets park. I expected the gate to be closed but a woman was still at the keyboard and as I tried to catch my breath she smiled at me " I bet you left something on board - right?". "Its my cell phone, can I go back to look for it in 4C?, pleeeaazze!?" She asked me to wait a few minutes and picked up the phone. I stepped away to get some oxygen back into my blood but the only oxygen I could find seemed to be flat or stale (or something!). I had to bend over to rest with my hands on my knees for a minute - I am SO out of shape... I hadn't run that far in way too long. I finally looked up and the woman was gone. Crap! I looked over the gate countertop and it was clean, lights off. "Where did she go?" I wondered to myself "she was right here and now she's vanished". So I hung around about 5 minutes thinking she will be back, after all she did ask me to wait.
I walked back to another gate and the man there would hardly help me. "I just opened this gate for the flight, I don't know who was helping you - so just wait a while longer" he instructed me. Geesh! So I sat my sweaty but down and finally got my breath. It seemed longer but after 20 more minutes I finally started for the concourse train. With my roller board in tow I was starting to get angry and blame everybody else for losing my phone.
I was sure if I could have got back on the plane I would have my phone - and I needed my phone. I was on a travel assignment and the cell phone was my primary contact tool for two cities (Altanta and New York). It made me available when I was in the other or otherwise unavailable in either. I dreaded the idea of a weekend without it and having to get it replaced. I also dreaded the idea of a refurbished replacement phone. But as I rode the shuttle bus out to the long term parking I resigned myself to this fate.
Crap! Shit! and Damn!
On the drive home I tried to think of how a person would reach me if they found the phone. I had my ICE contacts - maybe they would call them? I had my office numbers in the contact list - maybe they would leave messages there? I figured most first class travelers would "not be thieves" and I would have a message once I got to the condo. I stopped for some weekend snacks and when I unloaded my bags in the kitchen I could see "ZERO" messages on the answering machine. No blinking light with a word of cell phone salvation for me. A couple beers later and it was bed time.
Monday morning came and I was back in the security line, holding my license and ticket out for the TSA agent. She made her orange swizzle mark across my boarding pass and I was off to the magnatrons, then the gate and then back to SWF Airport. I hated seeing my "new phone" in the tray with my shoes and belt and keys... but at least I was going to be ready for action (again). All the everybody's I blamed for losing my phone were forgotten - even the woman at the gate. All weekend I tried to remember her name, I know I saw the badge under her silk scarf. I guess the low oxygen made me a little less mindful of those details...
This was a short week for me, fly-in on Monday and fly-out late Wed night - I had Thu and Fri meetings back in ATL but the boss wanted me in Up-State for the Tuesday client proposals. It sounds crazy but it all makes sense when you live it week to week. It was Monday night when I realized I had lost something else important to me. My small leather journal. I left it in the seat pouch on the plane with my cell. Except for some good client feed back, this week had become the most forgettable ever.
Back in ATL, I got to leave the office after lunch on Thursday and I was happy to have some extra rest at home. I had four flights over the past 10 days - I was bushed. I turned the key to the condo door and noticed the pink mail drop key on the jam. "A PACKAGE!! Yes! Its gotta be my phone!" I shouted. I dropped everything and headed to the mailboxes and there it was: a padded envelope in my box. I zipped it open and pulled out my cell A N D my journal. "YYEESSSS!!" I was most happy to have my journal back. My journal is where I live and rest on the road. I flip it open in the hotel room at night and make notes of observations and inspirations that hopefully feed my muse. Inside the cover I have my name and address. As it turns out the friendly girl in the seat next to me found my stuff and sent it to me. She wrote a note: "You are lucky your address is in here, you are lucky you sat next to me and if your battery wasn't dead we might have a date". "PS - I like your poems and stories".
Wow! Shit! and Damn!
What a great week it turned out to be! Absolutely Unforgettable !!