Three Unplanned, Unplugged Days

Over Labor Day weekend, the husband and I took the dogs and headed to Smedley Park for a quick hike and to allow the dogs to burn off some energy. Husband was minding the backpack, and dropped the water bottle – twice. My iphone was in the backpack for safe keeping.

Just before putting the phone away, I set my Pacer app, GPS mode on so that my virtual coach could tell me how far we had walked. This app has become an invaluable part of my fitness journey. At one point it did occur to me that I was not hearing updates on our distance/progress, but I chalked it up to being out on the woods and perhaps losing signal.

When the dogs looked tired and husband announced he’d had enough, we walked back to the car and I went to pull out my phone so I could check if our steps had been tracked even though the virtual coach was ghosting.


Apparently, while dropping-then-retrieving water bottle, my phone most likely slipped out of the backpack unnoticed by the husband.

We back traced – repeating the steps we had just done – but no luck. Husband called my phone hoping we’d hear it ring – nothing. I assumed at that point someone must have picked it up. The kicker was this was my work-supplied phone and I really didn’t know who needed to be alerted, and when. Being that it was a holiday weekend – I didn’t think I’d be able to reach anyone, and wasn’t even sure how to go about reporting a lost phone to the provider – when it was a phone that I didn’t own – and didn’t know account-owner information, pass-codes, etc.

Losing a phone is not the end of the world. However, in the climate we live in today of cyber-attackers luring behind every bit and byte, I had set up two-factor authentication for almost every aspect of my digital presence in the world. And for that two factor authentication to work – I needed my phone. apple-iphonexs-max-gold

I found myself locked out of almost everything I do, plus I had passwords stored for certain applications that I was not able to access. With the added layer of the two-factor authentication protection – I had basically secured myself out of my own life.

I have come to rely on that flat little bit of metal and glass. Not only for contacts, but for calendaring and appointment reminders, keeping up with social media, checking school work due dates, work deadlines, virtual meetings, fitness tracking – the list goes on and on. While I was unplugged I missed a virtual meeting with one of the non-profits I am volunteering for – a meeting that I requested in the first place – because no meeting reminder, plus no way to authenticate. I had to pull out the laptop for many tasks I’d normally do with the convenience of the phone. However – without the phone to do the authentication for much of what I do – I really was dead in the water – digitally speaking.

There is a happy ending. The next day the “Find my Phone” app alerted me that my phone was indeed still in the park. Husband and I went immediately back to the park, and there was a gentleman with a metal detector in one hand and my phone in the other. It was a huge stroke of luck. I was still out of service until I could go back to work on Tuesday and get the phone reactivated, but the prospect of knowing I’d no longer be cut off from the digital universe I have put myself in was comforting. The three days of non-dinging alerts was as well.

The moral of this story is – husband no longer gets backpack duty during hikes.


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