Am I the only person whose heart stops when I can’t find my phone? I’d rather go out with rollers in my hair – if you’re from the parts of Durban that I’m from, you’ll understand – than leave without my phone.  It’s more devastating than losing bank cards or an ID. Those things are relatively easy to replace. Relatively. The phone. That’s another story.

 

I joke that the only apps worth anything on my phone are my banks and Insight Timer. The rest are superfluous. But in truth, it’s my connection to the world. For starters, I can’t call anyone without my contact list. I only have two numbers memorised, Mr. T’s and the landline at my Dad’s.  

 

Very early in our relationship, still dating, we were at a party and a new acquaintance was taking down our contacts. Please don’t ask who that was. Mr. T was chatting to someone else, and I ‘disturbed’ him to ask for his number.

 

Well. You would have sworn that I had told him that I had had an affair. The disbelief and betrayal were real. Later, in private obviously, “You really don’t know my number? You actually stopped my conversation to ask for my number? Why don’t you know my number?”. My responses were inadequate, and I never wanted to let him down like that again.

 

If I’ve learned anything from Flo, it’s that children under 13 do not go shopping.

 

But back to our relationship with our phones. Just yesterday, I had the experience of ‘losing’ my phone. It was a rare trip to the mall with the boys. If I’ve learned anything from Flo, it’s that children under 13 do not go shopping. As the eldest, that was always my privilege.

 

The sole purpose for the trip was for the uniform shop – it’s become a serious grudge purchase – for them to try on sizes. It’s been so long since I bought new uniforms and they’ve shot up like weeds on a vine.

 

They get giddy off each other. I love it. But it can be inappropriate at times. Like in a shop. During a pandemic. When I’m on repeat, looking like a bad mother who can’t ‘control’ her kids; “Don’t touch. Stop that. Stand still. Stay here. Don’t touch!”.

 

I then realised that I didn’t hear the familiar beep or vibration from my bank app. It wasn’t in my bag.

 

Once we got back into the car, I searched for my phone. I then realised that I didn’t hear the familiar beep or vibration from my bank app. It wasn’t in my bag. Or anywhere else in the car. Absolute panic. I threw the boys out of the car and we scurried back into the mall.

 

First stop, the uniform shop. I tried to retrace our steps. Yielded nothing. Asked one of the sales attendants if anyone had seen a phone. Nothing. Rushed to Woolies, the only other place we stopped at. Did the same thing. Nothing.

 

The kids were trying to be helpful. My eldest, “I’ll help you find it, Mom” as he remembered the aisles we visited. KG was his usual playful self, “Here’s it, Mom!”. Funny, not funny. At this point, I couldn’t think straight so when the security guard suggested that I call my phone, it was a real brainwave. The manager duly helped, dialed my number twice. But it just rang. Ok. My heart sank to my knees.

 

Everything happens for a reason, right?

 

Fortunately, I know Mr. T’s number by heart so I could confidently leave it with the manager. Everything happens for a reason, right? This was on the off chance that there were still decent people in the world.  

 

I was no longer rushing as I returned to the uniform shop to leave contact details. My phone was gone. As we entered the now much busier store, people standing in a queue to pay, others around. Before I reached the front desk to say anything, the sales assistant who helped me looked up and said, “We’ve been looking for you, we found your phone”.

 

As I walked out of the mall, breathing normally, I felt strangely embarrassed

 

It felt like everyone in the store stopped to gawk at me. “Thank you so much! Where did you find it?” was all I could get out. As I walked out of the mall, breathing normally, I felt strangely embarrassed. As though I had lost my dignity. For those few minutes which felt like an eternity, I had behaved as though my phone was the centre of my life.

 

I then felt even more idiotic when it dawned on me that even if I had left the parking lot without going back into the mall, that my phone was not lost or stolen. It had only been temporarily removed from my aura; it would have eventually found its way back to me.

 

My faith in humanity has been restored; I still have work to do…