Do you ever have something happen to you and you reflect on the experience and think Dammmmmnnnn I have matured so much?
Well it just happened to me and it feels like it is worth writing about, so here we go.
It was Halloween night and I had spent a good 30 hrs working on our family costume. Our theme this year was Mario Kart. My son was Yoshi, my middle child the turtle that makes you spin out of control, my youngest Princess Peach, my husband was bowzer, I was Toad, my cousin the star the gives you an extra life, her twin boys were Mario and Luigi, and our friend (lovingly known as Aunt Crazy by the kids) was Donkey Kong. These costumes included a go kart lovingly made out of cardboard with straps to wear over the shoulders and three helium balloons to indicate how many lives each character had left. It was epic. And after all that work I was looking forward to night of relaxing and making memories.
We took part in the kids parade and went tricker treating. We were all having a great time. The kids were well enough behaved given the adult to child ratio, and it seemed like it had been worth all the work.
About 2 blocks before getting back to the car I asked my cousin to do an impromptu photo session with my phone between myself and husband. Solidifying for all of time the unspoken romance between Toad and Bowser.
When we got back to the house 5 minute later I realized immediately that my phone was missing (I blame the silk pants and boxy outer layer), so we sent out a search party. My husband and Aunt Crazy thoroughly searched the two block radius where the phone could have been and oddly enough my phone was “offline” thus disabling the find my phone app.
Now the first clue here should have been that the phone was offline, which I now know to mean that it was turned off so I could not find it. I was blissfully ignorant at the time and assumed some good samaritian had picked it up and I could retrieve it the next day.
At about 7:45am the next morning I received a notification via my email that my phone had been found and then promptly went off line again. Again this should have been another indication that something was awry. However I drove an hour to where the address was and knocked on the door.
I think it is worth pointing out here that I was in a very shady neighborhood. Bars on windows, littered with trash, lucky I did not got mugged kind of neighborhood.
No one ended up being home at the address and so I had a lovely conversation with there neighbors explaining the situation and we decided it best I leave a note with my contact information.
Now I do not know if those people ever found my note or if the phone displaced my husbands contact information but shortly after the hour drive home a number began texting my husbands phone. Here is the jist of what went down:
They reached out saying they found my phone and wanted $100 to give it back.
I called the police and they refused to write a report, and told me I would never see my phone again.
My husband advised me to agree to pay the money, meet the people, take the phone and leave without paying. I ultimately vetoed this idea as it seemed the kind of situation where people get shot.
I texted the people who had my phone now understanding that they picked it up and turned it off so I could not find it and then extort my financially to get my own property back. I told them what they were doing was illegal. That I would be more than happy to come pick up my personal property, but I would not be giving them any money. And that at this point I had there phone number and 2 addresses that were clearly in their vicinity to report to the police if they would not do so.
They responded along the lines of: idgaf. your dumb. you should have just given me the money to get your phone back. i dont care about the police and now you have nothing.
So I called the police who did nothing. I spent 3 hours on the phone with different police departments who did nothing. They wouldn’t even write a police report. Unless I drove the 40min to the place where my phone was stolen. Call the sheriff’s dept. and wait for them to come and make a police report. Then drive 30 min to the city wait outside the alleged address where my phone was and call the police and have them meet me there. Then knock on the door and ask for the phone. If they said it was not there then there was nothing to be done. And then drive an hour home.
The woman on the phone from dispatch told me I was never going to see my phone again.
So me and my husband texted back my oppressors and said something along the lines of: This is just bad karma. If you ever want to turn your life around and choose a different path you now know how to reach me. I would be more than happy to help you on your path of betterment.
They never responded. I should also add that at this point I had cried a lot. Like a LOT.
So I drove the 30 min to the closest AT&T store and the whole way (while crying more) told myself that whatever the cost was for a new phone I was going to be OK with it because I really did need it for work. When I got there I was told it was the “best case scenario” because I was due for an upgrade. 2 hours later I was the owner of a new iphone 12. Which was my first new phone ever. It is on a payment plan because I could not afford it outright.
Thus being another first for me as I have never owed anyone money before ever. I payed for my college tuition out of pocket by working full time while going to school full time. I pay off my credit card in full every month as a means to have some sort of credit score. We bought our house in cash and only do as much work on the house as we can afford month to month.
So yeah, that was a lot. And so many things came up for me in the process.
The first and most notable was that normally while anger is my default, I was just really really sad.
Sad that these people would think it is OK or justified to treat others this way. Sad that this is a new way of stealing and making money that is a common occurrence (I found that out while talking to the police). Sad that these people felt like they did not have another way of making money. Sad that the crime in this area is so high that something like this is not every worthy of the polices time and energy. Just really really sad.
Second was the acknowledgement of the part I played in this. I did drop the phone creating this circumstance. However a few months ago I did also think that I needed a new phone. That to be live streaming yoga classes I needed a better camera as I was having a hard time setting my old one up in order to get my full body in the screen. In retrospect I either a) should have been happy with what I had or b) gotten a damn phone if I needed one rather than let the universe provide me with the situation where I was forced to get a new one.
Third I took ownership of the fact that I could have just given them the money for my cracked and outdated phone that I had for 3 years. It was a choice that I felt used and uncomfortable with the other peoples behaviour and no matter what even if I had gotten the phone back that day it never would have felt right. So I don’t blame the purchase of a new phone on these individuals. I will not give them my power, the choice was ultimately mine.
Fourth I allowed myself to feel joy over having a new phone.
And fifth I leaned into a place of abundance rather than panic when buying something out of my price range. I could have chosen to buy the phone used and saved $100-$150 in the long run, but I would not have had the phone that day. And after having just waited 4 weeks for a drywall delivery I decided that was not a risk I was willing to take as it would make running my business nearly impossible.
So when I stand back and review the totality of the experience it was raw, and messy, and beautiful. I understand myself and humanity a little better. And I turned what could have been a numbingly negative situation into a positive one even leaving it on a positive note with the people that wronged me. Gandhi said “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” and I would like to think I embodied that phrase in this experience. To be clear I am not saying I am Gandhi, just that I am Gandhish 😉