The bus that picked me up from Green Canyon High School was moving through the final crosswalk before the transit center, already late, when one of Utah's special drivers tried to turn in front of it and forced the driver to slam on the brakes, sending my phone through the air. I took the Lord's name in vain and extended my middle finger toward her, but she probably didn't notice. Then I went to pick up my phone, but it wasn't on the floor. It wasn't on a seat. It wasn't anywhere. The bus pulled in, everyone else got off, and I kept looking back and forth and over and under and behind with no success. I knew my phone was still on the bus because it was still broadcasting music into my headphones. I told the driver what had happened, and then to my surprise, a transit center employee came on and looked for it too. We were already late, and I knew the other passengers must hate me, and I couldn't blame them. But it wasn't my fault, it was that damn driver's fault. The employee said they'd have to look more thoroughly when the bus was out of commission.
I didn't want to leave without my phone, so I saw no alternative but to stay on for another loop. I tried really hard to take a Buddhist perspective and not be totally pissed off about this waste of my time. The smallest events change the courses of our lives in unpredictable and unknowable ways, so who's to say this waste of my time wouldn't save me from some horrible fate or expose me to some glorious opportunity? Of course, it could also have done the opposite of either of those things, but I tried not to think about that. The point was I didn't know, so I shouldn't be mad. I took the empty spot next to the one girl who had asked me what I was looking for while all the other passengers ignored me. By this point I had turned off my headphones. Maybe she would become my best friend, I thought. Maybe that was the silver lining here. I had the idea to ask if I could log into Google on her phone and use "Find My Phone" to make my phone make a noise even though it was on silent. It took me a while to build up the courage to make such a bold request, but I did, and she said yes.
I put in my email and then her phone just spun a loading circle at me and did nothing. She said she'd just gotten it from her stepdad and it didn't work very well. She played with some settings and tried to fix it. She called her mom. I got up a couple of times to look for my phone again in the same places I had already looked four times. It's not like there were a bunch of nooks or crevices for it to be hiding in. The girl couldn't get her phone to work, but she said I could get off the bus with her and go to her apartment and try to track my phone from her laptop. I couldn't believe it. We were going to be friends! So I did that. Her apartment was surprisingly well-furnished and had two cats, one of whom took an instant liking to me. The girl said that meant I was special. I was okay with that as long as she didn't start saying stuff like she could read my aura and my heart was a nice color and she could see the future. She offered me water and said she was a bad host for not offering sooner. I said it was nice of her to invite me inside in the first place. She said she likes to help people, and if most people were as helpful as her, the world wouldn't be in the state that it's in.
As you may have already guessed, I couldn't log in to Google on her computer because it required a verification code that it sent to my phone. There was literally no other way to do it. No security questions, nothing. She said I could report it as a theft to the police and they could help track it. I hoped it wouldn't come to that because I hate the police. I went back out to the bus stop in front of her apartment, and she asked if I wanted her to wait with me, and I said I didn't care, so she did. She asked about my life, and she said she wanted to go to USU, and that was when I figured out that, contrary to my assumption, she wasn't an adult. She still had a couple years of high school left. I now realized that we wouldn't be friends because it would be inappropriate for me to try to stay in touch in any way. Also, maybe she shouldn't have invited me into her apartment when her parents weren't home. But it's not like she was unfamiliar with stranger danger. When I said I didn't know my roommate before he moved in a couple of weeks ago, she said she hopes he's not a serial killer and doesn't murder me.
Because the bus on this route was so far behind schedule, only partially because of me, another bus came through this time. I went to the original bus and asked the driver about my phone. Still nothing. He said maybe it was in the lost and found. I didn't have time to check right then because I took a detour to campus to turn in my city council ballot. I didn't vote for any incumbents because they all ignored my email of complaint about the police department. Then I walked home and opened "Find My Phone" on my laptop, where fortunately I was already logged into Google. At first it appeared that my phone had somehow fallen off by Mount Logan Middle School, just a few blocks away, even though we hadn't stopped there. But I refreshed the page and saw that, in fact, it was still traveling along the bus route. I took my laptop with me back to the transit center so I could use it to make my phone make noise as soon as the bus pulled in. I could do this because a few months ago, my neighbor didn't pay his power bill, and the WiFi went out, and he gave me access to xfinity WiFi hotspots. I was very curious to see where my phone had ended up and how the hell I had missed it over and over again.
So the bus pulled in, I clicked the button, and I got on. Everyone missed or ignored the noise as they filed off, but as I headed toward the back of the bus it got louder and louder, and then my phone was right there on the floor, exactly where it should have landed when it flew out of my hand in the first place. It wasn't camouflaged by any stretch, but on top of that, the white sticker that I'd found on the grounds of Green Canyon High School and stuck on it that very day was still on it. I was too dumbfounded to be upset. And although I've all but completely lost faith that God intervenes in my life at all, I don't have a better explanation this time. Maybe he had saved me from a horrible fate or exposed me to a glorious opportunity and wanted to make sure I noticed even though I'd probably never figure out what it was.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.