Friday, June 08, 2007

Multicultural Adventure 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt’s a hard world for little electronics, especially if they’re owned by me. In all my lifetime I have never lost a cell phone, but in a dark period of less than 3 months I have lost two of them.

The first phone suffered a gruesome fate. I was leaving work and reaching for the passenger side door handle of the car and the phone slipped right out of my hand and dropped with blade like precision through the narrow slats of a sewer grate. I heard it hit the muck with a sickening plop. As I peered into the grate, I saw its red light blinking piteously at me as it slowly disappeared into the sludge at the bottom of the drain. This is a particularly foul sludge because this drain receives, along with the usual urban filth, all of the industrial chemicals used to wash off the biohazard waste such as urine, vomit and feces that 'patrons' leave against the side of the library. The phone falling through the narrow slats like that was damndest thing, and I'm still marveling how the chunky little phone did that. Perhaps urine forms some sort of gravitational or magnetic force of its own. I was going to write off the loss but then I found out that although this phone came free with my service it would cost $200 to replace it. Any fastidiousness I had about putting the phone back to my face vanished and I called the Department of Public Works. The gentlemen at the Department of Public Works met me at the sewer grate and fished it out for me. I told them that this was probably not the strangest thing they’ve had to retrieve and they told me, “Honey, you don’t even know.” The most common items they were called to retrieve were jewelry, wallets and keys. I tried to tip them $20.00 but they refused the money and instead tried to talk to me about Jesus Christ. When I lived in Alabama I was constantly fending off the unwanted advances of evangelicals but I was a little out of practice since I moved to the city and it was so unexpected that I just kind of froze and stared at them. I handled my hairdresser's Scientology pitch the following week much more gracefully.

The phone had shorted out so I did have to replace it. This was about 2 months ago. Then last Friday we went to the movies and saw Black Book, which was awesome by the way, like a cross between Showgirls and Schindler’s List. I must have lost it in the theater, perhaps during the shocking scene where the Jewish resistance fighter dyes her carpet to match her drapes to pass for an authentic blonde if you know what I mean, but didn’t notice its absence until the next day. We checked Verizon's records which confirmed that someone, presumably the person who found the phone, had been making many calls all day so we canceled the service.

We were able to do some forensics and called some of the numbers that the person had called. Most were to Mexico but others were to a neighboring city, so we called and texted that number until finally someone wrote back, “no english.” I called and he finally answered and we had a short conversation in Spanish, which I speak in a very broken, limited sort of way. I lived in Costa Rica when I was seven and mastered Spanish in that effortless way that children do so the neural pathways in my brain have been laid down, but were in such disuse, however, that I imagine them as some post-apocalyptic abandoned city street covered with vines and trees and giant potholes. They're still there, in other words, but in terrible shape. It was amazing how tongue tied I got as my mind groped around for the right word, but with the help of AltaVista Babelfish and the offer of a $50 reward (recompensa) we were able to arrange a rendezvous the next morning at an intersection near home.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe person who had my phone was late and I called his friend who arranged another meeting about 6 blocks away. I stood on the street corner and eventually two Mexican men strolled up. After ascertaining that this wasn’t some sort of sting and that I hadn’t brought along La Migra one of them produced the phone and a hasty exchange was made. E discovered that he had downloaded about $36 worth of games and pictures (one was of Jack Sparrow with a monkey on his shoulder, the others were the Women of Maxim) but other than that, had done no real damage. He had basically taken my phone on the equivalent of a joy ride, and when the phone’s service was cut off he lost interest. The picture featured at the top is his self portrait he left on the phone.

I ran over mine last month. I feel your pain.
That persistence of yours is admirable! You've gotten a phone out of the sewer and back from a theif. That's a pretty good track record.
my roommate dropped her phone in a sewer once (a week after losing it in a toilet). i don't remember what kind, but there was an opening big enough for her to reach her arm into. she stretched as far as she could, swiping through the muck. she gave up, though. the sprint people were not sympathetic.
You are a freak and a Ninja.

But most importantly, I love that you posted that photo.

rock on Foxy Lady,

i dropped my pink chocolate phone down the drain last nite....DOWN THE DRAIN!!! i did exactly the same jumped out my car and it fell straight down between the grates and even worse i couldnt even see it because it had a black cover on. i tried to call it in the hope that it would flash, but obviously there was so much crap around it that it was getting no signal. so tonite i thought i would go fishing for it. i bought a net and tried fishing through all the muck for it, but still no joy. i worst thing is that the drain is right out side my front door. so every day i have think about how much of a stupid cow i am.but i am determined that i will get it out...well maybe not but its worth a try.
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