Friday, November 16, 2012

Giving Thanks, Part II

When I left my iPhone in a cab on a Friday night, I wasn't just angry, I was disappointed. It wasn't just about the iPhone. It was also the idea that I could do something so stupid and forget something like that in the backseat of a cab. That's just not me.

This depressing night actually started at a cocktail party in the Upper West Side of New York City. My wife and I arrived directly from work, so although we were dressed to impress, we had a lot of bags and things to carry. When we were ready to leave, it was really late. We hailed a cab and naturally, both of us passed in and out out of sleep in the backseat. After what seemed like forever, the driver yelled at me to wake up. I nudged my wife and asked her to go outside and open the apartment building door while I grabbed all of our bags. And that's where it all went wrong. My iPhone was resting unsecured in my dress pants pocket, and as I scooted across the backseat to get out, it must've slipped out.

I noticed it was gone as soon as I got upstairs to my apartment. Within minutes, I was on the phone with 3-1-1 and simultaneously tracking the device via the "Find my iPhone" application. I was hopeful some incredibly nice New Yorkers would find my iPhone and make every effort to figure out my contact information and return it to me. Or maybe someone greedy would find it and track me down to score a reward like what happened to Tiny Fey in 30 Rock. As the minutes passed, my hope diminished. 3-1-1 helped me figure out the medallion number of the cab, but I couldn't obtain the cab driver's contact information until the day after. After about an hour of pacing, waiting, and tracking, my iPhone went off the grid. Somebody had turned it off, along with my hopes of ever recovering it.

I went to bed that night thinking about how stupid I was. I wanted to punish myself. Secretly, I decided I would go without a phone for as long as possible. That night, I dreamt I was checking voice-mails. My mind can be a complete dick sometimes.

When I woke up, I revealed my plan to go phone-less to my wife. It didn't take long for her to beat some sense into me. Punishing myself by going without a phone might have been fine if I was single and carefree, but not when I'm married and working in a high school for at-risk teenagers. She was right, like she usually is. We agreed to compromise: I would wait two full days (and be phone-less) before going out and purchasing the cheapest piece of shit phone AT&T could offer. I didn't qualify for an iPhone upgrade just yet, so to hold me over I'd just go back to using a regular call-and-text phone. No biggie really.

To be fair, my wife offered me her iPhone the night I lost mine, claiming she didn't use all of its functionality. She wasn't lying, but I just couldn't take her iPhone. I am very attached to my electronics, and for some reason, I believe everyone else is too (this is wrong, I know). I wanted her to have her own iPhone; I guess that's one of my many idiosyncrasies. After I told her that I simply could not accept her phone, she did the logical next thing: put up a "does anyone have an old iPhone they're not using?" status on Facebook.

My godson's mother, Della was among the first to respond. Yes I have a godson, I wrote about getting asked to be one here. Incredibly, Della had an extra iPhone lying around, collecting dust. She used to use it, but had to switch carriers and as a result, the phone was useless. At first, I was hesitant to accept the offer. Della is a former student, and I had hiccups about accepting this from a "kid." What if she switched plans and wanted it again? Would she feel awkward about asking for it back? Why would anyone that age give away an iPhone? I had a lot of questions running through my mind and I hate putting people in awkward situations. I began to over-think everything and my wife conveyed this ridiculousness to Della, who wrote me this message on Facebook:
"Don't ever think of me as just a former student, you're my sons God father, and I love you and your wife because you guys give us great advice, and the most important thing that counts, you take my son in your home and spend time with him A LOT of time lol. He loves you and that means a lot to me someone who isn't family loves my son, I will always love and value that. So let it be the last time you think of me as a former student MISTA  . . . and please feel free that WHENEVER you need a favor that I can do, you NEVER hesitate to ask me. DEAL!!!!
Yeah, so I took the phone. Dammit, with a message like that, how could I not? I was being stupid and preventing someone who I've helped from helping me. What's amazing about all of this is that I could not have ended up in such a great position if I hadn't impacted Della's life so positively, both as a teacher and as her son's godfather. My wife's swift thinking and love, combined with Della's generous gift made me feel so special. I was overjoyed and because I have no idea how to react when I feel this way, I had no idea how to express this emotion. I'm incredibly thankful for the relationships I have with cultivated with family, friends, and students. Yet another event that really made me feel the positive power of the teaching profession. Gotta love it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent story, as usual!