Gone in a flash

The story of what it means to lose a phone

Yesterday. My phone. Gone in a flash. First reaction – anger. Damn you, thief! My memories of the last six months, gone with the phone. In a flash, photos disappeared from my memory. They were, in fact, too many. I try to recall. Try to picture them so that not everything is lost, only the phone. I realize my memory was installed on the phone, when it should have been the other way around.

I almost bought a new phone in a [figurative] minute. I caught myself in a slight panic (on the scale of panic which overtakes most people who lose their phones nowadays, I can still proudly say, I don’t rank very high). But I, too, feared losing things. I feared losing touch with the world. That world. As if touching a screen could mean touching the world. My photos, I thought. Gone. My new contacts. Gone, too. My notes. Gone. Why haven’t I memorized anything important? Now, everything is gone and there is no hope of retrieving it. Not physically, but that is out of my hands. Not mentally, and here is where I fail. The part I could control I had mindlessly surrendered.

The Human Condition (1935) by Renee Magritte
The Human Condition (1935) by Renee Magritte

Today. The phone still missing. Electricity goes out. Lights, TV, internet gone in a flash. I catch myself reading. In a flash, I’m writing. I think “When it all returns, I’ll forget this feeling of freedom…” I will go back as if nothing happened: type out my notes, take photos, post them, turn to the TV and back to the laptop screen, all at the same time. My trusted friend, my yellow notebook, will rest by my bed, safely. Because no one steals a notebook.

Getting my old phones out of their drawers, where they have been collecting since being replaced by their newer versions, one after another, I carefully select the one I think I remember was a good one. The one that will accompany me until I make the very significant purchase of a new one. No memory of what these phones contain, either. I turn one on. Photos, endless photos of my life, then. Only photos, no flashbacks. On another, messages with people I have nearly forgotten. Conversations with then-colleagues that show a closeness, a bond that I cannot believe existed. We were friends, why do I remember “acquaintances”? Gone in a flash.
I think, I will never get the last six months of my life back. All that, now in someone else’s hands. What a relief. Thank you, thief! For stealing such a small part of my memory, petty thief. You gave me something greater in return, my dearest friends, my own flashbacks. I had missed you, memory. And you, pen. And you, paper. And you, brain. This moment is going so fast. I think, I will miss it when it’s gone. I won’t remember how much I thought I would miss it, sadly. Please, don’t disappear. Don’t go in a flash. Stay a while longer. Don’t be like everything else. My memory will thank you for it and it will never forget you.

A friend of order (1964) by Renee Magritte
A friend of order (1964) by Renee Magritte