Last night as I rode home on Scottie Scooterson, just after passing through the Stockton Boulevard and T Street intersection, the antique that is my cell phone flew out of my pocket and was dashed upon the asphalt. (Disclaimer: a pocket is not the normal, nor preferred, spot for carrying a cell phone while riding on a scooter. It was the first time I had done that, and shall be the last.)
Immediately I stopped, pulled to the side of the road and looked back. There lie the cell phone: on the double yellow line in the center of the street. Without thinking about the best way to maneuver (i.e., park Scottie), I turned around, pulled up next to the massacred cell phone, leaned down and picked it up. Surprisingly, the phone was in tact, but missing its battery. I glanced around the intersection, but didn’t see the 1 x 1.5-inch gray square anywhere on the ground. Cars seemed to speed toward me, and I zipped away before causing traffic confusion.
As I rode, I resigned myself to being phone-less for a few days until I was able to get a replacement. (I’ve been threatening to get an iPhone for weeks. But it does feel like a huge financial commitment.) Mental notes: send email to family letting them know what happened, separate email to business contacts and associates, direct message people on twitter, borrow a phone if necessary. Not ideal, but definitely doable…
When I arrived to have dinner with my boyfriend (yes, boyfriend), and I told him about what happened, he said, “let’s circle back to look for the battery.” I agreed, albeit reluctantly, and we took his car.
There’s no way that tiny piece of plastic is going to be there, and if it is, it’s probably already been smashed by a car running over it.
(That’s what was going on inside my head.)
We got to the intersection and pulled over. Both of us got out of the car and walked up and down opposite sides of the street. If you’re not familiar with this spot, it’s kind of a wonky intersection: Stockton Boulevard and T Street intersect more at a diagonal, and coming from the west there is a small side street that has access to Stockton via T Street. It’s almost a 5-way intersection. So if you are approaching Stockton from the west, there is a left turn lane, a straight lane and a KEEP CLEAR section at the light.
Since the phone had landed in the middle of the street, I tried looking for the battery in the same area. There were cars in the turn lane and I scanned the double yellow line along the tires waiting for the green light. I was looking for smashed pieces of plastic. But nothing was there. When the cars pulled away, I went to the middle of the street, walked the line, and scanned both sides for smashed plastic.
Even if the thing wasn’t smashed, it’s so tiny and light gray that if it landed on white paint in the KEEP CLEAR section, it will barely stand out. And it’s getting dark. And yet here I am, walking in the middle of the street of one of the busiest intersections in Sacramento.
In spite of my inner monologue, I kept walking up and down the yellow line, glancing back and forth in either direction to watch for oncoming traffic. I secretly wished that cars would come so that we could call it quits.
This is ridiculous.
Then I spotted a square plastic thing. I walked directly to it, picked it up and walked to the other side of the road.
“Is that it?” he said.
We got back in the car.
“This is kind of a metaphor for your life right now.”
“My cell phone?”
“Finding the battery — you found it. You didn’t give up. See what a little extra effort got you?”