Earlier this month, I attended an American Library Association meeting in Chicago. As the meeting ended, we discovered that four of us had flights that departed from O’Hare at about the same time. One of my colleagues called an Uber for us. Five minutes later, Jamil arrived in his Chevy Suburban. He dropped off Jim and Peter at the United terminal, dropped me at American, then dropped off Janice at Delta.
A few moments after he’d pulled away, I realized my phone had fallen out of my pocket in Jamil’s SUV. I had no ticket, because it was on my phone, no way to make a call, and no information about Jamil.
I felt dizzy. Helpless.
I checked my backpack to see what might be useful and found my iPad. O’Hare has free WiFi, so I used FaceTime to make a video call to Janice and she contacted Jamil. I used Find My Phone to:
Then I used Messages to text my wife so she would know what had happened. I asked her to answer her phone if she got a call from an unfamiliar number.
A few minutes later, Janice used FaceTime to let me know that Jamil had my phone. She said he would would bring it back in about 15 minutes. I used the Find My Phone app to track his progress on a map, along with his ETA.
Everything about this feels miraculous, privileged, and tempting to abuse.
I live my life by what my therapist refers to as my personal Halakha: edicts, rituals, ways of being. An admixture of discretion and self-soothing. I’ve pulled my name from public databases. Frozen my credit reports. Blocked spam calls and email messages, and removed myself from mailing lists. Taken myself off social media. Stopped following the news.
The way I eat, how I exercise, what I wear, what I buy. How I interact with others, how I spend my time. It’s all governed by my personal Halakha. It’s neither good nor bad. Except when it feels tenuous or when it’s more limiting than freeing. Like it was at O’Hare earlier this month. Or when I upend my sense of who I thought I was and need to create a new identify for myself.
Welcome to November 2022’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
StopTheMadness is a paid app that “stops websites from making your browser harder to use.” It also protects your privacy. I wish it were unnecessary.
One of the first things I’m going to do in our new house is install blackout curtains in our bedroom.
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.