Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Positive Spin

Having something stolen from you is never fun. One's phone is one of the more inconvenient things that can be stolen, given so much of our lives are centred around our phones. So, to force me to look at my phone's permanent holiday to pastures new more positively, I have decided to list a few things I have learnt in an attempt to deflect from the annoyance of it all with (albeit poor) attempts at humour.

1. Radio stations really don't play much music, do they?

On the drive back home to borrow my Dad's old phone, I had to endure one of humanity's greatest (trivial) stains: the radio show. Who do these Radio DJs think they are? Shut up and play some bloody music, I don't care what you were thinking about this morning. Although, given the quality of the music that is played when they eventually tire of the sound of their own voices perhaps I should have gone with the total silence option. There must be a gap in the market for a radio station funded by exclusively good radio adverts (the dearth of which is a sad indictment on the quality of our advertising industry. At least in America, the adverts are so utterly ridiculous so to be quite amusing) that actually plays decent music.

2. My Dad's own humour also knows no bounds.

Here is an excerpt from our email exchange:

Raphael: My phone has been stolen.

My Dad: Have you reported it to the police?

Raphael: How?

Dad: Ring them.

Har har, bloody har.

3. We really do rely on our phones for a lot, don't we?

As I went to cancel my sim, I realised I had no idea where the nearest 3 store was. I reached into my pocket to nothingness and it hit me how much I take my phone for granted. As I spent the walk trying to figure out what I had really lost beyond the material value of the phone that I was sure the insurance would cover, it struck me. Reminders, calendar events, email, communicating, music, checking if things are Kosher and, of course, google maps to name but a few things. They really are a wonderful creation. We should be grateful. It's a barren wasteland without them. I exaggerate but you get the point.

4. I truly am an idiot.

I was fooled by two guys trying to sell me Mother's Day cards. Good luck to them.

5. Sometimes, it's nice to have a break

I spent the walk back to my room undistracted by music and messaging and checking Facebook. The barren wasteland is remarkably pretty and exciting, especially in the sun.

6. iCloud is bloody brilliant, isn't it?

The main stress, for me, was that I was now going to have to replace my phone and its contents and given 3 above, this is particularly annoying. You'd think, but no. I plugged in my Dad's old phone, hit restore from iCloud backup and 10 minutes later everything was back on my phone down to the reminder to book a Chinese for Sunday. The order of my apps was the same, I had all my texts and whatsapps and emails and photos - even the weird photo with my Dad that I can never even find in my photo library was my lock-screen. It was almost as if nothing had changed.

7. People suck but it's okay.

Whether it be the two guys that repossessed my phone or the cyclist (truly the bastians of morality of our age) who felt the need to follow me and ask if it "was okay if he submitted [to whom I still don't know] the footage of me driving forwards at the red light when that lady was trying to cross." First, I have little to no idea what he is talking about. Second, I fully intend on suing him if he 'submits' this footage of me given he does not have my consent to do so. The bastard. Anyway, back to my point. Some people suck, but perhaps we can see it as an opportunity to think a little bit about why they might do and empathise or respond without anger or blame. It won't change the situation - indeed, nothing will - so we may as well try and use it to our own benefit, to improve our empathy. As Tim Minchin says here, compassion is intuitive but it is also something that can be taught and learnt. I'm not giving a time reference because the whole video is worth watching.

Why did those two feel the need to steal my phone? Have they got children to feed? Are they really just petty criminals, bad to their core or are they driven by a need for money, out of desperation and poverty? Their need is, probably, far greater than mine and if I spend time being grateful for that, maybe I can learn a valuable lesson. My phone will be replaced. It's inconvenient and unideal but I am more concerned about the two guys driven to walking around coffee shops pretending to sell Mother's Day cards months after I bought one for my Mother in the hope they might steal something worth selling. Perhaps I have the luxury of that opinion - which I am further grateful for - but it must be more productive than sitting here fuming.

Why exactly does the cyclist feel the need to cycle up to me and tap on my window to create drama? What's going on in his life that prompts such a reaction? Maybe he needs a cuddle or someone to tell him it is going to be alright. I am not sure, but who knows. I don't know his life story and what prompts him to get involved. The fact he chose to without knowing my head was a little all over the place worrying about my bank account being hacked or barristers' chambers I've applied to being emailed with rude messages to sabotage my career says more about him than it does about my driving.

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