I am probably a little more attached to my laptop and its ability to save my creative endeavors on its hard drive than someone who is not a writer, but maybe I’m assuming things shouldn’t there? At any rate, not only have I complete all 3 of my published books on this baby, but I’ve also written a million (slight exaggeration) blog posts and parenting essays on it, and it’s my work laptop. It’s as good at multitasking as I am.
I work from home for my day job, which means my ability to be online and in front of a keyboard is directly tied to my paycheck, and I like getting a paycheck. My utility companies and grocery store also really like me getting a paycheck.
Earlier this week I traveled for work to Detroit. It was a really quick trip, up on Monday back home to St. Louis on Tuesday and pretty uneventful.
Until it wasn’t.
On Tuesday afternoon I took an Uber to the airport from my company’s offices in the suburbs of Detroit. Have you ever taken an Uber? It’s truly a genius concept, regardless of the company’s CEO and his ability to put his foot in his mouth on the regular. You download an app, use that app to call for a ride from your current location to your destination. No cash is exchanged, your invoice is submitted automatically when the driver marks your ride complete and your bill is paid with the credit card you put on file. It’s easy-breezy Cover Girl.
Unless you get out of the vehicle at the airport and only realize you left your precious laptop in the van after you’ve checked your luggage and head to security.
Yes, I did. I really did.
Let me explain.
Every time I’ve ever taken an Uber the driver is beyond courteous, they pop out of the car as soon as they see me and take my suitcase from me storing it safely in the trunk or cargo area of their vehicle for me. All I have to do is climb in the backseat and ride peacefully to my destination. This driver saw me walking up to the car and hit a button that opened the side door of his van for me to climb in. At first I thought…whoa, he’s not going to take my bag? And then I remembered it’s 2017 and I am a capable, independent, self-sufficient woman who takes care of stuff on my own every day so this is no big deal. I climbed inside the van, sat my black laptop case on the black carpet of the van, and my black suitcase on top of that. I then slid my sunglasses down from their usual resting place on top of my head to shield my eyes from the summer sun and surfed my phone quietly for the next forty-five minutes until we reached the airport.
When we pulled up at the Delta curbside check-in I grabbed my suitcase, which promptly got stuck at a weird angle between the seats and wouldn’t follow me out of the van. I tugged, I realigned, I tugged again and it came free. Off I went to check my bag and head through security so I could find the nearest bathroom, hopefully as quickly as possible.
When I realized my hands were empty after I checked my bag, that’s when the panic began. Have you ever turned around and your child isn’t standing there next to you? Even for the briefest of moment you have that chest clutching panic where you can’t draw a full breath? This was like that, only no lives were in danger other than my characters whose stories are saved on that aforementioned hard drive.
After several minutes of trying to navigate how to contact my driver so I could find out how to get my computer back I finally was able to have the app contact him, and then connect me. Picture me having this conversation in the crowded DTW airport.
Me: “I left my laptop in your van.”
Him: “You left your top in my van?”
Me: “My laptop case!”
Him: “A case of what?”
Me (shouting now): “MY COMPUTER IS IN YOUR VAN!”
Countless strangers turn to stare at me…pretty much my worst nightmare.
Him: “Oh your laptop? Oh there I see it…um, let me see, I guess I could get off and turn around.”
Him: “I won’t be able to call you when I get there so there’s no way to let you know I’m there.”
Me: “OH don’t you worry I’m not moving from this spot until you get here!”
Countless people still staring. I smile awkwardly at them, trying not to look like a terrorist.
Fifteen minutes later he arrives and hits that button again that slides open the side door of his van, I practically dive inside, grab my laptop and thank him profusely for his kindness. Uber drivers only get paid when they’re carrying a passenger, so his 15-minute return trip was off the clock and could have cost him other fares he wasn’t available to take because he was returning to me. I don’t know your name Mr. Uber Driver but I’m officially a fan!
My heart rate returned to normal after about 20 minutes (and that bathroom break I was dying for) and now I can laugh about it, and how I’m sure that I’m the center of several people’s people-watching stories from the Detroit airport.
“Some crazy woman was screaming about her computer on her phone…”
If you see me traveling anytime soon and I’m clutching all of my bags to my chest like I’m about to be the victim of a purse snatching, you’ll know why!