The Case of the Missing Phone

You never really know what it is to suffer until you drunkenly accidentally leave your cell phone in the back of an Uber. (First world problems.)

That was to be my unfortunate fate on Friday night after hanging out with a girlfriend and getting a tad bit inebriated. I woke up Saturday morning to a missing phone that I surmised I must’ve left behind in the Uber I took home.

I have a program I can use to track my phone (thank you, Lookout Security!), but it was going straight to voicemail at this point when people tried calling it so obviously the battery was dead. I proceeded to try to track it anyway, but as expected, the site was having problems picking up a signal.

Trying to resolve this issue with Uber was like pulling teeth because it can only be done via email and while customer service is fairly quick to respond, it was a hefty delay in them being able to get in contact with the driver, which became frustrating. I was 95% sure my phone was left in the Uber because I would’ve needed it at least up until the time I ordered the Uber to go home in the first place.  There was a 5% chance I may have left it at the bar, but I didn’t think so.

The problem was that Uber was giving me the runaround about being able to reach the driver to actually confirm whether it was in fact in his car or not. I guess he wasn’t working at the time. Meanwhile, I can’t really be sure if I in fact DID leave it in the Uber, although I’m quite sure I did, or sure that even if I did leave it there, that it wasn’t kidnapped by a subsequent rider.

Lookout actually got a signal from it and sent me an email around 4:15 p.m. on Saturday to tell me they had it “near” a certain address in a town about 20 minutes away. My first thought was maybe that’s the Uber driver’s residence or something, but when I looked up the homeowners on Facebook  – an innocuous looking married couple  (I am an expert stalker, thanks) – the husband was definitely not the driver. So then I thought maybe they had taken the same Uber after me and picked my phone up for safe keeping or something?? I don’t know, but I was desparate. I relayed this information to Uber and asked if by chance they could tell me if the driver lived in the town in question at least, but they didn’t answer. I mean, I guess that makes senses in terms of the driver’s privacy, but I didn’t really care about that at the moment.

So what do I do? I drive to the house, of course. I ring the bell and the wife answers the door and I apologize for bothering her and the odd circumstance, but does she know if anyone in her house has a random cell phone? She looked at me like I had 3 heads and answered in the negative. I smiled and thanked her and did a prompt about-face. My bad.

So clearly the Lookout GPS is not exactly accurate, but it did give an error margin of 20 meters or so and unfortunately this happened to be a community of townhouses. So while my phone was not actually at the poor little hassled housewife’s address proper, it was probably in fact somewhere in that neighborhood. I briefly toyed with the idea of knocking on a cluster of doors, but I wasn’t quite ready to stoop to that level of obnoxiousness.

So alas, I returned home still phoneless and frustrated, starting to resign myself to the fact that I’ll just have to have my phone company replace my phone through my insurance plan, which would cost me a deductible but still be cheaper than buying a new one. I wasn’t particularly worried about pictures because I back them up constantly through Dropbox and thus rarely even keep pictures on the phone itself as I can just access them through the Dropbox app, but I knew there was some stuff that was stored on the phone itself and thus would be irretrievably lost and a pain to reproduce. Like my calendar information, to-do lists, etc.

Oh well. No one’s fault but my own.

I woke up Sunday morning to Lookout advising me that they had tracked my phone around 10:30 p.m. the night before to ANOTHER town about 35 minutes away from me this time. So my phone was on the move, it seemed. But getting farther away. Not good. I was still holding out hope that it was actually in the Uber itself and that some random person had not found it and taken it. I emailed Uber my findings and concerns in an exasperated tone, explaining how the chances of recovery fade for as long as they cannot get in touch with their own employee and he possibly starts driving and accepting more rides which exposes my phone to people that might be tempted to pilfer it if they find it in lieu of him.

Lo and behold, I was able to breathe a sign of relief when they wrote back a little while later and told me the driver had in fact recovered my phone. They asked where I lived; I gave them my address but added in that  I’d be willing to meet him wherever. They wrote back that he had my address, but also gave me a contact number for him to make arrangements. At this point it was later in the day and pouring rain and I was relieved at least that I knew where it was so I figured I’d just wait until the next day to call him somehow and make arrangements to get my phone back. I’d already gone over 40 hours without it, I could survive another half a day.

How pleased was I when, 2 hours later, my doorbell rings, and it’s the driver with my phone. My precious baby! He insisted it wasn’t necessary, but I gave him 20 bucks. He came all the way back to my house to return my phone in rather nasty weather. It would’ve cost me more than 20 bucks plus a fair amount of time, effort, and inconvenience to replace my phone, so it was more than worth it to me.

CRISIS AVERTED.

I am glad I got my phone back, of course, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world being out of touch. I wasn’t dare going to try to attempt any outings without a cell phone, so I stayed close to home all weekend and got the chance to partake in an interesting series on Netflix – Slasher. Rather gruesome, but intriguing and spooky and a storyline that seems all over the place at some points but ends up making sense in the end. I liked it.

In other news, this morning I ran in a Memorial Day 5K. I allegedly ran 3.1  miles in 25-something minutes, which I have to doubt the validity of being as running is not at all my forte. But I’ll take it. It was all for a good cause. Elliot ran in it too. I don’t think I’ve seen him in person since St. Patty’s Day. We’ve texted here and there since all our near-drama or whatever to call it, but his response rate is still severely lacking. Even still, we were able to have friendly conversation in the midst of other people, which is the way it should be.

Aaaaaaaaand, I reset my Tinder account. Starting fresh. I had accumulated upwards of 710 matches yet obviously I’d not gotten anywhere substantial with any one of them, so what’s the point? Reed and I were still matched on there. Unfortunately, I felt the need to wistfully peruse our 9-month old conversation and that made me reluctant to even reset my account for some reason – like I wanted to remain connected to him somehow. For what, I don’t know. I highly doubt he’s even active on there, being as of a few months ago it appeared he was back with his homely red-headed Marine ex-girlfriend. He probably deleted the app from his phone but doesn’t realize that you have to actually delete your account BEFORE you delete the app, otherwise your profile will still show up even if you don’t have the app on your phone.

But I managed. I reset it. Goodbye, Reed. We haven’t spoken since November, so, I had nothing to look forward to there anyway. Just memories of a hopeful era that has long-since been incinerated to ashes. I did take screenshots though. UGH.

Unremarkable

So, let’s talk about my (nonexistant) love life as of late:

There was the infamous Navy pilot, Reed, who, while I still fantasize about him being shot down by ISIS on an intermittent basis, I am over. I haven’t addressed that debacle here as of yet, but suffice it to say that while the lead-up was obviously glorious and full of hopes and dreams and glitter and baskets of cute puppies and all that, and the visit started out well, it progressed badly and ended pretty horrifically, and then some simmering drama in the weeks after I was back home was the icing on the cake. The short of it is that he ended up having some scraggly Marine Corps ex-girlfriend that he was not over.

Then there was JP, airline pilot extraordinaire, who I finally met in January and spent a night with after a year and a half of will they or won’t they nonsense. The last thing he said to me that morning after he kissed me goodbye was he’s not sure where we go from here. Well apparently the answer is nowhere, since I’ve not heard an iota from him since. Fitting.

There was Chuckles, who constitutes my SOLE date so far in 2016. On Valentine’s Day of all days. Chuckles is a guy from Tinder that I’d actually been matching/messaging/texting with off and on since I’ve been on that God-forsaken app – so for like 18 months now. The very first time we matched, we actually managed to progress into texting pretty quickly, but we ended up having a falling out and so we unmatched and that was that. But every so often I’d reset my account and when he’d pop up again I’d swipe right again just for kicks and it turns out he would too. And sometimes we’d talk through the app and and/or he’d shoot me a text, but it never seemed get to the point to where we’d actually try to meet for one reason or another.

I think maybe some fresh Tinder pictures of mine inspired him to reach out in early February, and this time around for whatever reason he was actually interested in meeting me. Since we were both free on Valentine’s Day, we met for dinner. Not for an official “Valentine’s Day” extravaganza with all the hoopla, but just as two ordinary people meeting for the first time on a day that happens to be Valentine’s Day. I mean, I was kind of hoping he’d be sweet and present me with flowers or something given the occasion and the length of time we’ve been talking before actually meeting, but this is not a romantic comedy and no such thoughtfulness occurred.

He’s cute and rather nice in person (as compared to his texting persona, where he can be kind of a prick sometimes) and told me several times throughout the night (maybe even too MANY times) how beautiful and sexy and cool I am and how he would’ve met me way before now if he had known and would love to see me again. I didn’t feel butterflies, but I figured since he was all I had on my plate at the moment, I might just give it a whirl. But we never managed to meet back up after that and I was too indifferent about him to really care. He would ask when I’m free, but then there’d be no assertive efforts on his part to really solidify plans, and it turned me off. If I tell a man when I’m free, I like him to take the lead and let me know what we’re doing and where we are going. I’m old-fashioned in that sense. Chuckles would ask when I was available, but then there’d be no follow through, no actually ASKING me out. Even after I told him as much, he acknowledged it but there was still no forthcoming effort. I guess he was indifferent about me as well.

And then there was Elliot, who is a colleague of mine. I never really see him at work, but our circles mix from time to time so I see him out socially every once in a while. He’s attractive, but before recently, I had never really thought of him like “that.” Plus, as we’re Facebook friends, I’m privy to the fact that he tends to have a girlfriend of some sort more often than not. Not necessarily the same girlfriend, but a girlfriend nonetheless. So he had just never been someone who was on my radar. I’d see him out or wherever and we’d speak and maybe make small talk, but that was the extent of that.

Until this past St. Patrick’s Day, for which I had taken the day off to do some diligent day drinking. Elliot and I happened to cross paths. He had been out a little longer than me so he was moderately inebriated by the time we met up. We ended up talking and suddenly he started being very flirtatious and inviting and telling me all the naughty things he wants to do to me. He even gave me a few drunken pecks in front of everyone. This was all completely out of left field because he’s never given me any indication that he was attracted to me. He invited me back to his place with him, but I declined because I needed to think about this a bit and plus I was there to hang out with my friends, not to hook up in the middle of the day, so I suggested we exchange numbers instead and talk more about this later. He left soon after and started sending me texts about how sexy I am and how he knows I’m trouble, but he likes it.

I wasn’t really sure I’d hear from him again because I assumed it was just the alcohol talking, but he did end up texting me the next day and we got to talking. The thing about Elliot is that, he is a self-described “Christian Grey” type, so to speak (minus the bank account). He’s hardcore into the Dominant/submissive BDSM thing. I definitely had already picked up on that vibe from the day before because one of the things he mentioned he wanted to do to me was to choke me. He’s into rough sex – spanking, choking, various other forms of moderate sadism, giving orders…total and absolute submission from a woman.

It’s not something I’ve ever delved into. I’m not into the whole 50 Shades of Grey franchise in the least bit, but I thought what Elliot was describing sounded interesting nonetheless. Particularly because he’s intelligent and refined and pretty much just such a super typical white bread white boy on the outside, it’s just not something I ever would’ve guessed he was into. I mean, I guess you never really know what anyone is into. What gets a person off can sometimes be the embodiment of some of the deepest, darkest cracks in his/her soul. It intrigued me. As he explained more about what he likes and what our sexual activities would entail, it actually sounded fun, honestly. For several days after that we talked off and on and he was very forthcoming with compliments and generally seemed very excited that I was willing to try the submission thing out.

That didn’t last long. I have a great nose for sensing when a guy is backing off. When your texts start suddenly not being answered in reasonable time, or ever. And not because he’s genuinely busy, but because his interest is waning. After several days of this with Elliot and then confronting him about it finally, it came out that he had just started seeing someone recently and it looks like it’s going to turn into a relationship and he finds me very attractive physically and mentally but blah, blah, blah.

Like, really? Freaking annoying. You’re the one that hit on me, toolbag, and then you end up rejecting me? Who does that?! Not only that, but I had a certain feeling and so I checked Facebook. He didn’t unfriend me or block me, but he restricted my access to his page. I can’t see his timeline at all. But we’re still friends. That’s a lesser-known, passive-aggressive tactic for when people don’t want to risk confrontation or burn bridges. I know because I’ve done it before. You can’t con a con man. I’m not sure what his purpose was in that – I called him out on it but he never addressed it. If I had to guess, I’d say that he doesn’t want me seeing being privy to likely forthcoming pictures and posts with this soon-to-be-girlfriend. Again, WHY…I don’t know. He told me he’s likely about to be dating someone, does he think I’m going to fly into a jealous rage over a guy I haven’t even had sex with? In any case, I thanked him for his explanation and decided to go on my way. I generally am reluctant to fool around with men from work for this very reason – because if something goes south I don’t want to have to deal with any awkward moments at my place of business. So while Elliot’s Facebook trick annoyed me and was generally uncalled for, I do realize that he made an effort at least to be honest and to preserve mutual cordiality, and I appreciate that because this was nothing that was worth becoming a “thing” where we can’t speak to each other. He even randomly “Liked” a Facebook comment I left on a mutual friend’s status yesterday. Men are strange creatures.

In any case, these last 4 examples are of sufficient sample size to be a satisfactory representation of pretty much the way my love life has always been. The guys I want never want me; the guys that want me I never want. Rinse and repeat. Literally since high school. Throughout college. In my 20s and now in my 30s – a neverending saga of rejection and disappointment. And hence the question recently occurred to me: is it possible that there really ISN’T “someone for everyone?” That some people are just destined to be alone and lonely forever? Because if the answer is affirmative, I’ve decided that I’m undoubtedly one of those people.

For one, it seems to me that the early 30s has to be the absolute worst period in life to be single. The dating pool is significantly narrower because it seems like all the guys around my age are already married, engaged, or otherwise seriously committed to their college sweethearts or people they attached themselves at the hip to somewhere throughout their 20-something adventures. So the early 30s is crap for dating. The pool will open back up as I approach my 40s because in the late 30s is when these same men will likely be on the verge of divorce, but I really don’t want to wait until then to find my Prince Charming, as I want to enjoy what’s still left of my youth with someone NOW when I’m still fresh-faced and beautiful and it feels like the world is my oyster. There are so many things I want to do and places I want to go and I can of course do these things with my friends, or alone, but it’s not the same.

Maybe that’s all my imagination, or maybe I’m just absurdly selective (and I am), but whatever the case may be, it is just way too far and in between that I find an eligible bachelor in my path at this point. There’s that saying about men being like buses because if you miss one, another is right behind it, or whatever, but at this point I’m not finding that to be accurate. It seems like another “bus” doesn’t come for weeks or months and to top it off it’s cold and windy out and starting to rain and I’m late for work and so I REALLY need that bus. But to no avail.

Secondly, I’m starting to think that maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just not really as remarkable of a person as I like to think I am. Perhaps I’m just not special or unique enough to the point where a guy would be want to choose ME. I think I’m beautiful. I’m educated. I’m gainfully employed. I’m fun. I’m interesting. I’m sexually adventurous (OBVIOUSLY). Like, I literally feel like I deserve to be the complete vortex of any man’s life, and that any guy who DOESN’T think I’m completely intoxicating probably has, like, genetic deficiencies and so I don’t want him anyway. But in the end, with my love life always being so dry and despairing, I’m ultimately just starting to feel like I must NOT be a catch because it doesn’t seem like any guy ever wants to catch me. I’m good for certain things, but that’s it…

In essence, dating perfectly represents the concept of Opportunity Cost in a romantic sense. In economic theory (my college forte), Opportunity Cost represents what you lose by settling on one choice as opposed to the next best thing (assuming mutually exclusive options). When you’ve made it known you’re taken, you’re automatically closing yourself off to other dating opportunities, so it’s important that the person you select be worth it for all the other romantic options that you lose out on. For that reason, with the amount of sites and apps out there giving people multitudes upon multitudes of romantic options, it just seems like dating is getting ever so much more increasingly competitive. It’s hard to find people who are actually interested in settling down. I even wonder if I would even be interested in settling down, so I can’t necessarily play the victim in that regard.

But I’m inclined to believe that people are always going to automatically be drawn to settling down with anyone they deem it worthy to settle down with. Meaning: when someone lets you know up front that they aren’t “looking for anything” or aren’t “ready to settle down,” although it’s phrased as a general statement, what they actually are implicitly and mentally adding on to the end of any of that kind of phrasing are the words “WITH YOU.”

In terms of the competitive aspect though, it just seems that I’m always in the “Discard” pile. There’s always “someone else” that I seem to be in competition with, and I’m never the winner. Reed had his stupid ex from May that I was unknowingly up against and I lost. JP had LMDP who I was up against from Day 1, and I lost. Elliot has his latest main squeeze who I was up against, and I lost. I’m never the winner in love, always the loser. ALWAYS on the losing end of any dating equation.  I’ve never been in a serious relationship. I’ve accomplished some pretty substantial things in life, I guess, but I feel like the quest for love and companionship is my one Achilles Heel. NOTHING ever works out

I always seem to be the expendable one. And ultimately, it just makes me feel chronically defective in some way.