Friday, May 30, 2008

Lost and found: my sanity

Whenever I lose anything important that I use on a daily basis, like a wallet, I always feel shame, despair, regret and helplessness. Recently I lost my cell phone. Predictably, psychological trauma unfolded. For the first 4-5 days, I pretended I knew where it was. Oh I left it in the office or in my coat pocket, I repeated to myself. My husband ignored my self-delusion, sprang to action by activating a new phone for me. Even though I had a new phone, I still had a sinking feeling and felt pangs for the old one. I had a degree of certainty that I lost it either at the NY public library or at Naniwa, a Japanese restaurant. For a few more days, I did nothing to recover my cell phone except fret about it a few times daily. Then by day 10, I started writing down recover cell phone on my to-do list. I still did nothing about it.
Today, day 15, I got the courage to call the library. I got disconnected or hung up on, about six times by their lost and found department. When I finally I got through, I was asked to describe my cell phone. I was at a loss for words. How the fuck do you describe a cell phone? I blathered something unintelligible. Verizon, I shouted (as this is the service provider). Then I helpfully blurted, Motorola. He put me on hold, came back and said, I didn't find anything and then hung up on me. I was at the peak of frustration because I wondered if he didn't find anything based on my very descriptive description or he really went into the lost and found box, encountered a black hole and dutifully reported back the truth to me.
After this unsavory experience, I met Josh and a friend for lunch at Naniwa. As soon as the waitress came by, I relayed to her how I lost a cell phone. I could see Josh rolling his eyes. He pretty much wrote it off and considered it gone. She told me that I should go check with the hostess because they did find a cell phone and do it now before it gets too busy. Excited by this shred of hope, I ran up to the front and told the waitress at the bar that I lost a cell phone. She nodded and told me to go to the coat check guy. I told him about my situation and that I lost it about two weeks ago. He made me feel as if he did have it. After a few minutes of wait time, he came back with a shoe box full of random possessions, like an umbrella and other stuff, each item carefully wrapped up with white printer paper, secured by a rubber band, with a date and Japanese lettering written on them. Cell phone, cell phone, he recited as he rummaged through this box and then he handed me something that looked like a pickle jar. He laughed and I laughed. Then he gave me my cell phone! I was so happy, I wanted to hug and kiss him. And I could tell he was really happy for me too.
I giddily ran back to our table and relayed this wonderful story to my lunch companions. I felt like the people at Naniwa really know how to run a lost and found. Every person at Naniwa that I talked to knew about the cell phone. It was like they have a Town Hall meeting at every opening or closing to talk about all that was found, so that they can provide a reassuring experience to frazzled customers like me. A well run lost and found is a real competitive advantage. I think they should go into a highly lucrative consulting business of how to run a tip top shape lost and found.

1 comment:

farnk said...

I can't believe how great this blog is for three reasons: first, and most important, it shows how the whole concept of spousal "support" is a fiction because no one wants to take the time to truly understand how the other person's mind is functioning: it wasn't that you needed a new phone to carry on your activities - that would be easy - you needed to track down the old phone to relieve the feeling of loss and the undertone of carelessness that it implied. You needed to complete the missing piece of the puzzle before you could become calm again. And you knew it couldn't be irretrievably lost because you could dial the number and somebody, somewhere, would hear it as long as it had a little life left in its battery. And this personification of the phone (with a little life) transformed it from an object into a being that was calling for rescue!
I've forgotten what the other two reasons are but I think they had something to do with the "plot" structure of the blog which actually makes it into a short story in which the reader is hoping the 'heroine' WILL find the cell phone and the skillfully done denouement in which her frantic search is rewarded by the smiling affection of the Orient.