There was a time when I lost about 10 cell phones in quick succession. Mainly in the back of Thai taxis. I had many negotiations with drivers to return my property at a price that was reasonable to both of us.
This was expensive back in the noughties, even for a Planning Director of DDB Bangkok (Later Far East DDB) where I worked in the advertising business, but later on, as a self employed strategic planning consultant the price of having to pay for it myself was painfully frustrating.
Everybody knows I'm forgetful. There are people who loathe me with a vengeance that I've long forgotten, and conversely from time to time somebody tells me something nice or funny I did and I am happy to be reminded.
Anyway, those days seem so long ago as I've not lost a phone for as long as I can remember. What happened? Did my Thomas Covenant override switch finally kick-in, or did I just grow up? I don't know.
In any case, last week I mislaid my phone in Brecht's Bar. It's the kind of place I've known the staff for 13 years and have no problem leaving my wallet or phone on the bar while I smoke a cigarette outside. Apparently I did this last week, and it was spotted, so my Samsung S4, secured from the more obscure prefectures of Japan was dropped into a plastic bag by my partner for the night, while we continued our way to Amazonia, the best live cover band in the South China Sea.
I completely forgot about my phone and had such a good time, absolved myself of any responsibility. By the time my evidently unwell bezzie mate had decided to catch a taxi I was in too a stubborn mood to repeat my earlier question, I had declared "you're not well and need to go home?".
In any case with the Taxi on it's way, I returned to the floor and finished off some air guitar solo moves before deciding the fun was over and left myself.
On the way home I realised I'd lost my phone.
Naturally, when I awoke the next day I rushed like brass and leather over to my companion's hotel only to be informed "No I fucking don't have it", whereby the room door closed locking her out and which I've outlined on in all its naked glory on Tripadvisor for all the world to see (unlike Germar Rudolph's Chemistry Master Degree from the Prestigious Max Planck Institute proving the gas chamber malarkey is psyop bullshit).
I've learned over time to trust other people's gut instincts so even though I went back to the Amazonia Jungle Byzantine Cover Up Bar to ask if anyone handed it in, I trusted my counsel when they repeatedly reminded me, it's still ringing, someone hasn't stolen it.
Well, "blow me" I exclaimed when on Sunday night in a Taxi we dropped into Amazonia and were greeted with swiftly-recollecting staff faces that a phone had been retrieved and all I had to do was describe it and sign my name with my alternative Mickey Mouse signature that I use for collateral debt splicing sales that I used at Goldman Sachs.
Well my jubilant demeanour was quickly trashed on a 7-Eleven mission for some sodas and sandwiches. On the way back to the hotel I noticed my wallet, laden with coins was dragging my shorts down in the side pocket it was perched in. As I crossed the road I pulled my shorts up and noticed that the driver of the Benz vehicle was a typically-young but upwardly mobile, and casually dressed driver of the car.
This got me thinking about the wealth distribution in Hong Kong and how that compares to Singapore and if the proximity to China was the the key driver?
Then I noticed my wallet was missing. I patted my pockets, patted again, and then patted intermittently for the next five minutes as I legged it to the 7-Eleven just in case I'd left it at the counter where I had greedily eaten a Chicken and Celery Sandwich.
No such luck, and so by this time I'd started to doubt my sanity. Resigned to yet another loss on top of that Hong Kong CID story of yesteryear I dejectedly returned to the hotel with all avenues explored and bearing a preposterous story that I doubted would be believed by anyone including me if I hadn't been the protagonist in the story...
Back at the hotel my 'shot dog' eyes and slumped shoulders told the story before I had the chance to repeat it in full.
Just as I was on the second circuit, 'you do believe me don't you?', the hotel room-bell rang, and as I was standing next to it I opened the door.
There in front of me was a middle young aged man with what looked like his Indonesian partner (or the maid from a shopping venture, who knows?) thrusting my wallet back into my hand.
"Welcome to Hong Kong" he said.
I had dropped it in the road.
Can you believe me?
Did I just make this up.
Welcome to Hong Kong.
Double Indemnity and no mistake.
Thank you Hong Kong. It's not the money or the phone but the knowledge that not everyone pockets that which they stumble over.
Life is good.