Last week was one of those weeks when all of my technology seemed to be letting me down.
- My computer.
- My Garmin watch.
- My camera.
- My vacuum cleaner.
- My mind? . . .
I didn’t actually lose these things. All of us were just suffering from various degrees of breakdown.
It was a sunny afternoon when I left my computer with the Best Buy Geek Squad. As I walked back to my car with my empty computer briefcase I felt a sense of doom. Would I ever see my computer again?
For a freelance writer and editor, a personal computer is an essential appendage. It’s painful when it’s amputated. Now I was struggling with a borrowed computer, a Mac. We were trying to get acquainted with each other, with the help of my passwords file, but there were multiple complications.
Our already rocky relationship declined precipitously when Mac’s mouse batteries failed. At least they were rechargeable batteries. Yet after several hours of recharging, the batteries still didn’t work.
Oh well, I thought. No work today. At least I had an editors’ meeting downtown in the evening.
The Skytrain wasn’t crowded and I became engrossed in an old-fashioned print book on the first stage of my journey. I only realized the train had stopped at the Broadway/Commercial transfer station in the nick of time, and rushed off to transfer to the other line.
I had just nabbed a seat on the next train when I realized another vital appendage had gone missing—my phone! I was instantly horror-stricken. My phone was supposed to be in my right-hand coat pocket—where I “always” put it. I searched my bag and my purse but knew it was futile—for now I remembered putting my phone on the empty seat beside me on the first train. Even worse, my phone was unlocked!
Flooded with adrenaline, I got off the train at the next stop and immediately went to a Skytrain security guy. I blurted out my story, knowing he must have heard it many times before. He said he hadn’t received any calls about a phone being found. He told me about the Skytrain Lost and Found at Stadium Station, where my phone “might” turn up in a day or two if someone was kind enough to turn it in.
However, he would now send out a call.
[Drumroll] At that very moment, a Skytrain guy at Brentwood Station had just been handed a phone! It might be mine! . . . or not.
When I got off the train at Brentwood, I immediately saw two security guys staring at me in a meaningful way. I walked quickly towards them, and told them I had lost my phone. “Tell me about your phone,” said one of them, a huge, burly guy. I blurted out the brand, and my favourite contacts. In a matter of seconds I was reunited with my phone! Impulsively (and uncharacteristically), I hugged this bear-like security guy, my instant saviour.
It was too late for me to make my meeting downtown so I headed back home. Since my computer mouse still wasn’t working, I went to the library with a flashdrive and worked until closing time.
It was dark as I walked home the back way by the railway tracks, the nearby streetlights casting the faintest light amongst the spooky shadows. Suddenly, I saw a big coyote on the tracks, very close to me. We both froze and stared at each other. Assessing. No threat. The coyote gracefully resumed its easy lope along the tracks.
A wave of emotion welled up in me. I felt a quiet and perfect satisfaction with that moment.
So much hinges on a tiny act, done or not done. Leaving my phone on the train could have ended badly. Instead, I got some good work done and saw a coyote.
In the parallel universe that I had planned, I would have been at an editors’ meeting learning about editing speculative fiction. Undoubtedly I missed some fascinating information and conversation—but that universe is forever gone for me.
How do we end up at a particular place out of all possible Universes? Is it luck? Is it Grace? All I knew was that after a day of breakdown and frustration, I felt a vast sense of peace.