As I caught the Amtrak train in Santa Clara on New Year’s Day evening to head to Eugene, Oregon, I made a major blunder. Here’s what happened.
The train ended up arriving not 10 minutes late as the station signage indicated but only 2 minutes late. As I sat in the car casually talking to my wife, I saw the light of the oncoming train flash suddenly flash into my rear view mirror.
I flew out of my seat to retrieve my stuff from the back of our car and hurried onto the platform to catch the train. There were only 3 of us boarding the train that night in Santa Clara so I knew the stop would be very brief.
As soon as I entered the train, my smart phone Bluetooth earpiece beeped in my ear informing me—to my complete and immediate horror—that I had left my phone in the front of our car. The train doors closed as I returned to my point of entry. I momentarily thought about hitting the emergency stop alarm on the train but thought better of it for a number of reasons.
- I suspected I might be committing a crime for hitting an emergency stop button for what I’m sure Amtrak wouldn’t consider a true emergency, and,
- I suspected that my wife had already driven off with my phone so there was no point in trying to exit the train.
So, what to do? I’ve embarked on an 8-day trip and have no cash or coins to summon my car rental company to pick me up at my train station, my wife may not realize I left the phone in the car and, when she’s unable to reach me, will suspect something has gone wrong. My immediate thought was how to contact her to let her know of my dilemma.
I immediately booted my laptop and WiFi device and sent my wife an email to her smart phone. Fortunately, she quickly acknowledged she had my phone. We agreed she would drive to Oakland and reunite me with my phone within the hour. Thanks, Nancy! Whew!!
I am dependent on my smart phone for staying in touch with my world. The feeling of “Oh my God—I don’t have my phone,” revealed just how reliant I am on this device.
I offered to have my wife ship me my phone but that would have meant being without my phone for 2 business days—a suboptimal situation. Could I have made it 2 days? Sure. But, I really didn’t want to find out what that would be like.
A road warrior without a smart phone is a weakened warrior.
Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com
© 2013 Dave Gardner