So Christoph told me today that I'm lazy because a whole week has passed without me writing this, so I decided that now's the time.
Last Monday night I lost a cell phone for the second time in my life, only 2 months after the first incident. I went to see a band with my friend Sutton and, knowing I wouldn't need the phone during the loud set, left it in his car. It's San Diego. Why worry?
Hmm well we got back to his car after the too-short set with plans to hit another bar a few blocks away (this is California - if you're going more than 2 blocks, you must drive) when I noticed the light was on inside. I said, "Hey dude you left your light on. Hope the car turns on." And Sutton said, "Yeah and I left the door open too." We looked in the car. There were papers from his glove box all over the passenger seat. And one of the three boxes of his band's t-shirts was missing from the back seat. And my crappy old dirty, disgusting cell phone was missing off the floor.
You have to understand that this cell phone has fallen down subway stairs at least thrice. If you push the number "1" it decides that you probably want "111." The keys were all black and I don't know why (really, I wash my hands regularly, I promise) and the phone weighs about 4 lbs. It's great for the biceps, and for carpal tunnel. So why exactly anyone would really want to steal this particular phone, aside from taking away all the numbers I've collected over FIVE YEARS, is beyond me. But hey, it happens.
Sutton felt really badly about it and swore vengeance. We got in the car to hit the next bar and a man wearing a "Wagon" t-shirt crossed the street in front of us. The Wagon is Sutton's band. He had another Wagon shirt over his shoulder. Sutton yelled out, "Hey nice shirt, where'd ya get it?" I yelled, "Forget the shirt, can I have my phone back please?" So Sutton pulled over and the guy announced that he's a homeless panhandler who is on parole and who doesn't "do robbery" and asked me to frisk him to prove my phone was not on his person. I took his word for it.
He then told us he had found the shirts in a box outside his house (a homeless panhandler with a house?) and offered to show us where. He also asked for a ride, which we politely refused. So Sutton followed him INTO HIS HOUSE (the lunatic) while I hopped into the driver's seat and prepared to drive off very fast in case of gunfire. But a moment later, Sutton returned with his box of t-shirts. Our new friend Tony was with him and told us to call him later because he thought "some Mexican stole the phone." We tried him later, but no luck.
I also tried to shut off my service with no luck. Did you know that Cingular TURNS OFF their system between 1am and 6am eastern time? If your phone gets lost or stolen, you can't report it or have it switched off or anything. And this incident occurred around 11pm in San Diego, right in the middle of "sorry-we-can't-help-you-if-some-random-stranger-is-using-your-phone-to-call-China time." I mentioned this several times over the course of my dealings with Cingular the next day and was always met with, "Wow that's interesting, I'm sorry to hear that." Whatever.
So the next day, rather hungover thanks to a shot of tequila that was the size of a triple, I spent 3 hours on the phone with Cingular trying to get a new mobile phone. This required rolling my account over from the now-defunct AT&T Wireless to Cingular (which ate them) and then speaking to no fewer than three different people about rate plans (I want the smallest, I'm never here), phones (oh sorry, only one free phone is available), and switching service. What a nightmare.
But thankfully my new phone arrived the next day. A fancy, shiny, super slim and ultra light Motorola L2. And the night before a fancy, shiny, friend of Huy's arrived from Germany - Christoph. We are now on... Wednesday... and I had to take my dad to the airport. So Christoph came along as well and we planned to hit the downtown area after dropping my dad off.
In my rush to get in the car, it seems I left a phone on the hood, and magically that phone stayed right there all the way down the mountain, along several streets, onto the I-5 freeway, and then across 3 lanes of traffic, which is when it suddenly went flying. I was in the left lane doing about 80 when something rolled up the windshield and over the top of the car. I watched it bounce along the side of the road before laughing about the fact that the stupid, non-working phone I'd been loaned by the Cingular store had just hit the deck. Then my dad reached into my bag and pulled out the loaner phone. It was my one-hour-old, brand new, beautiful shiny baby FREE $200 phone that had just taken a flying leap off the hood of the car. Damn.
So after dropping my dad off at the airport, I took poor Christoph, on his very first day in the United States, on an adventure few Americans (legal ones, anyway) have ever enjoyed:
It WORKS! Okay so it's missing the back (probably still in the fast lane, now smashed into gazillions of pieces) but it totally functions. Better than my old phone, in fact! And I bought a new hot-pink case on eBay for 3 bucks. Can't beat that! I'm keeping this phone forever. Or at least until I lose it in another car-related incident.
Oh, and we celebrated afterward with a beer...