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A Series of Fortunate Events

March 1, 2011

I am blessed.

This afternoon, I left our apartment in a rush, with only twenty minutes to get uptown to meet my husband for a Very Important Medical Appointment. Once outside, I realized I’d forgotten my wallet, and had to rush back upstairs to retrieve it, then wait the inevitable eight minutes for the elevator to return. Once outside the second time, I realized I’d now forgotten my hat and gloves, both left on the glass table as I retrieved my wallet. It was very cold, but I had no time to waste. On Second Avenue, I did waste time, ten or so minutes waiting for the bus that just didn’t come. I bailed and flagged a cab. I always sit in the middle of the back seat to avoid motion sickness, and from that vantage point I could see a photo (two little boys in baseball caps posing at a stadium) on the cab driver’s dash. “Your boys are adorable,” I told him. “They’re twins,” he said. “A boy and a girl.”

I called J on the way and he met me at the corner. A short walk, a long elevator ride, several twisty hallways, and we were checked in, waiting nervously for what we would learn at this Very Important Medical Appointment.

That’s when I realized I didn’t have my phone. I’d left it in the cab. I have my passwords recorded in a memo (a very big deal) but at least they’re coded. I have all my emails on it (big deal) but they’re available on my computer. I have all my contacts on it (big deal) but they’re also on my computer. I’m in the middle of eight Words With Friends games (big deal) and … there’s no bright side to that tragedy. Mostly, losing a phone is both expensive and time-consuming. And the idea of a stranger flipping through the 120 photos of my cats was uncomfortable, to say the least.

Using J’s phone, I texted my own: “Mr. Cab Driver with the adorable twins (the boy and GIRL) please oh please return to 70th and York. I’m the woman in the green coat. I will pay you if you could return my phone!” Then I called my own number.

And you know what? He answered. And you know what else? He gave me his cab number, said he’d be back in ten minutes, and said he’d refuse payment.

Ten minutes later, I stood at his open driver’s side window, and with a surprising amount of emotion handed him $30 and told him he had a beautiful family and a beautiful heart.

When I arrived back upstairs to meet J, I was beaming. Relieved. I showed him my phone. The moment I flashed it, it went black. When I tried to turn it back on, I saw the red sliver and the lightning bolt. No battery remaining. I had not realized how low the battery had been. If it had died a few minutes earlier, I would not have been able to contact the cab driver by calling it. What would he have done? We were an untraceable couple in a vast medical building. Just a woman in green and a man in black disappearing into the vast complex that is New York Hospital. Would he have found a way to charge my phone? Would he have thought it was broken?

The point is, it doesn’t matter. I am blessed.

It changed everything. Our appointment went supremely well, much better than we even hoped. The doctor was kind, informative, funny, and thorough. We left, light-hearted, and stopped for a cream puff, so good we got a second. J went on to another appointment and I took the bus home. Feeling downright frisky, I took a risk on a kid, about eight years old, and told him I liked his picture of a soccer game in progress. I did, too. He’d colored ALL the white space. He said, “I worked really hard on all the green parts.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s what caught my attention.” And for the painfully slow bus ride downtown, I got to hear about his soccer games, soccer opinions, and soccer dreams. Once home, I checked my email and found an enthusiastic chain about an upcoming writers’ retreat with some incredible women. And found another email from a dear friend and former member of our writing group here in NYC who is now starting one on the west coast.

And I thought, I am blessed.

And I thought, I will remember this afternoon.

And I thought, I love my phone. I really, really love my phone.

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One Comment
  1. Thanks for sharing a happy ending story.

    Like

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