5 Stages of Grief for My Stolen iPhone

I am hereby interrupting normal coverage of our family holiday with a recap of my New Year's Eve. I am also hereby reinstating comments and simple likes, and I encourage you to make use of them as you see fit.

1. Denial

I'm going up the stairs, exiting the Metro en route to a friend's apartment, earbuds in and my phone resting in my coat pocket. I feel someone brush up against me, and simultaneously the music stops. Is someone calling me? 

But as my hand instinctively reaches towards where the phone ought to be, my brain is a step ahead and, sure enough, the pocket is empty. The white cord dangles uselessly as I frantically look about every which way. I want to believe that somehow the iPhone just fell out of its own accord, and I'll find it lying on a step.

The truth is that it's gone, and I've no idea who took it.

2. Anger

Is this a joke? It's the fucking holiday season.

The other passengers have disappeared into the streets, all but one shady-looking guy who lingers near the top of the stairs. Shock has progressed to recklessness so I start to approach him, but as soon as I open my mouth it recedes. What do I say?

"Excusez-moi," I begin.

His lip curls into a sneer; once again my accent has betrayed me. I'm 70% sure he is the thief. But I don't have a dictionary and I'm too emotional to put together the questions that I want to ask. Did you bump into me on the stairs? Did you see anything?

Instead all I can think of is to ask if he has my phone. It's a lost cause. He pulls his phone out and answers it, although I'm fairly certain that it's a ruse and he's actually just talking to himself.

I walk away, seething. Part of me wants to turn around; give the guy a good shove; reach into his pockets and see how he likes it. But the further away I get from the scene the more the anger turns itself inward. I'm furious for being careless. I'm irrationally mad at my friend for asking me to bring things to dinner because the extra baggage slowed my reaction, but above all I'm upset with myself for not being able to communicate.

In six months of living abroad I have never felt more helpless than I do in this moment.

3. Bargaining

Once my friend lets me in I immediately go to her laptop and commence damage control. I log onto iCloud and pray that Apple can Find My iPhone.

As the page loads I make a promise to myself. If the location comes back I will not go apeshit on the person who took it. As tempting as vigilante justice is, I will call the police.

The search comes up empty; the phone is offline. Well, I guess the thief is not a complete imbecile.

4. Depression

Everyone knows that all of life's little events are completely trivial unless they've been simultaneously Tweeted, Tumbled, Facebooked and Instagrammed. So thanks to some random asshole, I have been socially crippled. What is the point of having a good time if you can't post about it? Does it even qualify as a 'good time' if it hasn't been validated by x number of likes, loves, shares and retweets? Does a tree make a sound if no one is there to hear it fall?

(Humblebrag: I had a decent one planned for NYE that had to do with it being Midnight in Paris).

I jest, of course, but the ordeal left me feeling quite upset. The silver lining is that the thief picked a night when it is not only socially accepted, but also expected, to down copious amounts of booze. (I managed to saber the champagne at midnight using a kitchen knife and without spilling a drop, but since it couldn't be documented I guess you'll just have to take my word for it).

6. Acceptance

My phone is gone and part of me went with it. Contacts, schedules, photos, lists, notes - all lost. But it could be worse. I wasn't physically attacked, and I still have my wallet and passport.

So although this was less than an ideal start to 2013, hopefully it means that the year will just get better from here on out.