Ok, my fault. I don’t know how, but after rushing onto the Bart train and sitting down, my phone wasn’t in the holster at my waist. I was off to Taiwan for four days, and while the phone wouldn’t work there, it has become my ‘external brain’. Worse, it had some data that wasn’t as protected as it should be.
I joke that if I promise something, and it doesn’t get into my Treo, we never had the conversation. One of the benefits of knowing what brains do well (courtesy of a PhD in cognition) is also knowing what they’re bad at, and so I’ve deliberately pushed the rote remembering off onto external devices. I load it with my graphic models, ToDo’s, my calendar, contacts, etc. While everything’s backed up to my laptop, it’d still be a huge loss in productivity, let alone anything else that might happen as a consequence.
Not surprisingly, I was panicked. Finally, I bucked up the courage to talk to the guy next to me, and let him know what was up, and to ask if he had a cellphone to call my wife and see if she could go to the Bart station and look for it. He was so kind and let me make that call, and then encouraged me to make more. My wife wasn’t happy, as she had volunteered to fill in for the school librarian who’s husband had had a stroke, but understood the urgency. Then the guy had a better idea: call the phone! Which I should’ve thought of immediately; thinking in a panic isn’t the most effective approach, of course. I did call, only to find it busy, and now I was worried that our calling plan was being used up!
I called my wife to tell her this, and she said she’d reached the person, and the lady was on the train and getting off at a station in downtown San Francisco and would leave it at the station there. Huzzah. The guy let me make a couple other calls, to the lady and my wife without knowing me at all, just doing what someone ought to do. I didn’t catch the lady on the very crowded platform, but she did leave the phone and I was reunited with it before continuing on to the airport.
All I know of these two folks is that he was going to tear down a church roof, probably in the rain, and she had a black jacket, jeans, and a bit of an accent, potentially Mediterranean. And that they both were happy to do the right thing. I wish I knew more, but I’m grateful for that. They’re heroes in my book.
There’s one more thing in my Treo, too, and that’s to get some security software when I get home!