10.16.2016

But this one goes to eleven.

Okay: story time.

So when I got the current iPhone I have now, I kept my old one. The screen was spiderwebbed across the bottom rendering it unsaleable, and I thought it could be useful on long-haul flights for music, extra storage, or basically any situation wherein two phones might come in handy. 

Specifically while traveling.

At the very tail end of last November, I had that phone in my tote bag when I got mugged in Miami Beach, and it, along with everything else in my bag, was gone forever. Thankfully, I had my current phone (and my lighter) in my hand as I was, quite irresponsibly I should add, busy texting this Argentine that I should have never dated because he was a fucking horrible person. But date him I did, and the irony has always been, like, shit. Dating that asshole may have spared me my very expensive tiny computer that I call my phone. So I consider the whole situation with that dude a wash.

Anyway, have you ever lost your iPhone? There's a Find My iPhone App that you can use to track it down. That old-ass iPhone is still registered in my name, and I'm still able to track it as long as it's turned on and someone hasn't somehow learned my password to turn off my gps or location services or whatever the fuck device allows that to work. I checked that night while the police were taking a statement, and I guess they had already found my phone in my bag and turned it off to make sure I couldn't find them, because it was untraceable and wasn't online.

BUT--in the event that you can't track your phone, there's this handy little button you can select that will notify you via email if it ever comes online again. Almost a year later, I got that email. 

There are a few stories here:

1) I didn't see the email for several hours, so by the time I tried to remotely find my old 4s via my 6, it had reverted to the same little black dot that it had been the night I got mugged and every day since then. That I've checked, anyway. And now we're a-few-days-off-from email, so I've checked many times. MANY. And unfortunately I've had no luck. 

Not that I have much interest in retrieving that phone, but I've always been so curious what these dudes did with all of my meager nomad possessions: A small notebook I used to jot addresses and notes and bus schedules. A collapsable water bottle I bought for a dollar or so in Denmark, as well as a cool Danish mechanical pencil (also a dollar). A five kroner bill from Norway. A multitude of used bus and train and plane tickets. My Chapstick. An apple, I think? Oh fuck--I had a pair of shorts in there that I loved, but even them I had bought at a thrift store in Austin for three or four dollars. Even the cash I had on me amounted to no more than $2.50. 

Arguably, the most valuable thing in that bag was my passport, which I'm guessing can be sold to someone who looks like me for quite the premium. I have had three passports in my life, and two of them were stolen in Miami. The first one was stolen in 2003 out of my parked car behind my apartment--and I shit you not about this part--that was three blocks from where I got mugged last November.

Obviously I'm not prone to learning lessons the first time even when it's the hard way.

2) When I was trying to figure out how this was possible--as in, why would someone keep my broken phone for so long when the lack-of-knowing-the-password renders it essentially a brick and totally unusable (especially when it was already undesirable?)--I realized how easy it would be to guess my password.

Seriously. 

What: is it...three? You get three tries and your phone locks you out from trying to open it for a day? I honestly don't remember exactly how many or long it is (and don't think it's quite that long), and keep in mind this is also depending on exactly what metric you use, but: if so inclined to just try EVERY possible four-number password in a methodical fashion, you could guess my password in as few as four days (eleven guesses. ELEVEN!)

So I'm realizing that it may have been possible that someone actually got into that phone? Thank god there are no naked pictures of me on it. 

If you're wondering then no: this realization has not yet made me actively think about changing the password on my current phone. I do, however, know that I prolly should.

3) If someone does turn on that phone again and connects it to wifi, I could TEXT MY OLD PHONE. I have an old VoIP app on there that likely still works that I rarely used but never deleted, and sending a text to that number would send a push notification as long as it was on and connected to the Internet. 

But here's what's weird about that: whenever I think about texting my old phone, it doesn't feel like I'd texting the thief who stole it but rather, like, I'd be somehow texting myself in the past. Like, I could say hey to 2012 Miranda who bought that phone in Bushwick on Knickerboker with 38 twenty dollar bills to take with her to Australia. Or 2013 Miranda who flew to Panama on a whim. Or 2014 Miranda who decided to move to Austin from her perch in Budapest.

This story is about how if I could, there's so much I would tell her. And when I was done explaining every mistake ahead of her, every heartbreak to come, every hangover that could have been prevented, I would want to ask her: now that you know what happens, are you going to do things differently? 

Some things, yes. She would have to! Like: I would have probably not gotten mugged in Miami, that's for sure. But even the Paris kidnapping led to a free hotel room, so she'd probably leave that one in, but instead rob him of every Euro he had before she kicked his ass out (as it did not occur to me to do that night.)

Paris kidnapping is such a good example of this. That story is far too good to give up out of fear! And there are just so many things that I've done in these years between Bought-New-Phone-On-Knickerbocker day and today that were horrible, but fuck. 

Sometimes you just can't not. Some stories are just too good to let go.

Even when they hurt.

--M

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