my lost objects find me. The objects are not unusual: ipods and iphones, cameras, wallets and the little rubber buds on earphones. They’ve been found on sports fields, in the back seats of taxis and on street corners by friends, family and strangers. I am an absent-minded person, often described as a space cadet. Add to that a hectic lifestyle, too many parties and an affinity for high-tech toys and this should be an expensive shortcoming. Yet amazingly, ever since I lost my first Palm Pilot in 10th grade, my mislaid kit has been returned to me.
Perhaps the most amazing return took place after my 3rd semester of McGill law school. My classmates and I were partying at a bar on Rue Prince Arthur and, in addition to the usual debauchery, the night had included many photographs with regular flashes even as we stumbled towards cabs.
My next memory is of a phone-call from my girlfriend Kat at the airport. Its 11 a.m., I am still in bed. My head is throbbing and my vision blurry but I compulsively reach over to the bedside table and feel for my wallet. I try to open my eyes enough to look for my camera. It’s the original Canon Digital Rebel, a clunky silver and black machine that’s hard to miss. It’s definitely missing.
I tell my girlfriend I have to call the cab companies. Each of Montreal’s three major companies explains that I’ll have to call back when the same cabbies are working. Unhappy and in pain, I fall back asleep.
Some while later I get another call. The person asks for me and I ask his name. I recognize Eric as another law student but can’t put a face to his name. I am still hung over. Eric explains upon entering a taxi the night before he sat down on a large camera. He tried to turn it on but found it was dead. The next morning Eric went to Future Shop and they charged the camera for him. He flipped it on and the first picture was of him.
Eric then went through the rest of the photos and, with the help of a few other students who’d been out that night, tracked me down.
The camera had been lost and found many times before and after this night though: a week later I left it at a raucous exchange student house party amidst dozens of half empty bottles of beer and wine. I walked over the next day and was met at the door by a Spaniard I didn’t remember holding my Rebel.
I got my wallet back once after a stranger around the corner found it on the street, added me to Facebook and asked whether I’d lost it. Everything was untouched. She also asked about Israel having just been there herself and explored my profile. We never spoke again.
I had lost it on the same corner earlier that year. I think that must be where I pull my keys out of my pocket. There was a note waiting for me when I got home one evening saying “Si t’as perdu quelque chose, viens au dépanneur”. Confused, I went to the corner store and found out that I’d lost my wallet and that it had been found.
I owe one retrieval entirely to my father’s persistence: I had just purchased my first iPod. I spent hours converting all of my information into a format I could transfer to it when, on my way home from the gym the next night, I discovered I’d lost it. I retraced my steps, asked in the gym and wandered around the major intersection I’d crossed for 15 minutes before heading home in despair. When I admitted my loss to my parents, my father insisted we get back in the car and search some more. Sure enough, buried in the grass on the shoulder at the same intersection I’d previously been searching, there was my iPod, replete with a footprint across it, but working fine.
Two nights ago I had a similar find: after partying with my cousin, brother and his girlfriend I went to meet up with a few friends of friends at a late-night party. Using the GPS on my iPhone to guide me and a little drunk and bored, I ran the few blocks to their apartment. Within 20 minutes of arriving I realized I couldn’t find the phone. I used every phone in the place to call mine and annoyed the other party-ers by turning off the music a few times. I went on MobileMe and the Find My iPhone feature told me it was a couple blocks away but I thought it was just inaccurate. Finally I left with my friend Sara, half-heartedly looking for the phone as we walked to find a cab (she described me as looking like I’d lost my puppy). Yet again, three quarters of a block from the apartment half in a tiny bank of snow, there was my phone. It 6 missed calls, a few texts and few 5-10 minute long voicemails but wasn’t the worse for having spent a couple hours in the snow.
Luck is not always on my side: in one two week stretch in Israel I spilled a glass of water on my laptop and a pitcher of water on my iPhone, I lost my parent’s iPod touch and broke another cellphone. While the computer miraculously started working three days later despite my having plugged it in a few times in the days before, the iPhone never fully came back to life. I quickly bought a replacement for my parents iPod despite Israel’s outrageous prices only to have the ‘rents find out from a bar manager that it had been lost and found.
In Amsterdam I once left my large courier bag which as usual contained my laptop, camera and most of my other important worldly possessions under a table at a bar. It was only after getting lost for an hour (not an unusual occurrence) on the way to another bar that I realized to my girlfriend Kat’s dismay that I’d left it. Upon meeting the friends who’d been waiting for us at the second bar we told them we had to leave to retrieve the bag. We then get lost again before finding it right.
I regularly lose the rubber buds on my over-priced Apple In-Ear Headphones. Each time, after kicking myself for ever having purchased them the bud turns up: on a curb just next to a sewer, in my shoe or sleeve or, most recently, still in my ear (I had given up on it an hour after losing it while biking when my cousin asked what was in my ear). I lost the earphones outright a couple months ago only to step on another pair that someone else had lost in Pearson Airport (YTO).
In addition to the time I lost my iphone at McGill and had it returned by a random student who I called while in her next class, I once retrieved it from a 6 foot 4 black man who claimed he’d won it at a poker match. Again I’d left the phone in a cab after partying hard the previous night in Montreal. So hard that I was still very much in pain at 10pm the next evening. Over the previous twelve hours I’d asked my friend Kevin through googleChat to call the iphone. He was volunteering for Obama in Vermont so he sent the iphone an SMS asking whoever found it to call my friend Alex. Alex eventually got in touch with me over Facebook. He told me cryptically to go to a Metro stop in the north of the city where the person who had my phone would meet me in an hour. He also told me he was going out and wouldn’t be online later. With no other option and still in pain, I got on a bus and headed to the station. After 15 minutes of speed walking between the two exits to the Metro I found the hulking man, gave him the forty dollars he asked for and went back home to bed.