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It was quiet and quick. So quietly, Dave and I never noticed.

We drove into Wilmington and found a great parking space, just steps from a little street fair we wanted to visit. He and I sat there for a few minutes, laughing at pictures I had taken an hour before.  


Then, everything changed.  

The single most important artifact of my recent life disappeared in the crowd, in a small Vermont town, on a Saturday night.

My Blackberry was gone!

Like a mother whose heart leaps into her throat the moment she realizes her child has wandered away in a crowded store, my protective instincts took over. Even the-normally-laid-back Dave went into emergency mode.
 
He punched in my number, sure we would hear the muted first bars of Straight, No Chaser, somewhere in the crowd. We heard everything, but.  


Dave thought someone might have picked up on the other end, then hung up, sending him into voice mail. But, when I tried the number, I got a recording.

Was someone really holding my phone, and refusing to answer? Or, had my precious cellphone been squashed by a big rig flying down the state highway, or maybe by a heavy-footed tourist searching for that perfect Vermont souvenir?

I remember years ago, going out in the snow looking for my crazy cat, the one that always seemed to disappear on the coldest night of the year. There I was in my nightgown, scanning snowbanks in moonlight, begging my cat to come home.

Whoever took or found my PDA now knows how to reach every member of our family. He or she can look at pictures I took of our kids and grandkids, even the fuzzy ones and the goofy ones and the ones where everyone looks perfectly awful. That person also knows where I wander on the Web, and what my friends and editors have said in recent emails.

It was as if a thief had slipped in our bedroom window at night, taking everything he could off the nightstand and dressertop. Nothing of value was taken, except our sense of privacy and security. 

How had my phone taken on so much importance in my life? How did I let this happen?
 
Three days after the fact, I’ve accepted the fact my cell phone is gone. It will be replaced, and this time I’ll try not to get so dependent, so personally attached to an electronic device. Like all relationships, nothing—not even a cell phone – really belongs to us. And, nothing is forever.