Dear Whoever Who Has My iPhone:

I’m sure you thought it was weird, finding an iphone lying in the middle of the street last night, nestled in its tiny black leather case, just sitting there on the asphalt. I would have thought it was weird, too, maybe even funny. How often do you see something like that? It’s almost as common as finding a baby on the street, except an iPhone is a lot more fun to play with.

That’s what I would have thought, too, but when I woke up this morning and realized that it wasn’t in my purse, car, or coat jacket, that something was seriously, seriously wrong. I jumped into my car and raced back to where we parked last night, and scoured the street. It was nowhere in sight.

Then my sister called, and apparently you butt dialed her last night at 2:45 a.m. while you walked around for three minutes with my iPhone crammed in your pants somewhere. If it’s still there, kindly take it out. So, I’m sure the first thing you did this morning aside from moving my iPhone away from your privates—I mean, I don’t know how much radiation comes off that thing, I’m not sure of any studies to the effect, but do you really want to take that chance now, do you?—you’ll notice that there’s an listing under Lost and Found on Craigslist for my iPhone, in which I list not only my email address so that you can let me know that you have it, but the words, “REWARD OFFERED.”

And I’m serious about that. I could certainly sport you a breakfast for doing something very nice and thoughtful by returning my iPhone, in fact, I’d be delighted to.

How about breakfast and coffee? Even something complicated that Starbucks would charge extra for. Hey, my treat—after all, you’re doing me the favor, remember! No arguments!

But I just checked my email and I realize it may be too early yet for you to arise and sober up a little, I mean, judging by the phone call to my sister’s, you were up pretty late. I’m sure it will take a couple of minutes for you to figure out you found my iphone and discover that you desperately want to return it and then ran through a series of logical deductions that you should immediately go to Craigslist, which would be the reasonable place that someone who had lost their iphone would list a “lost” ad on. “Lost” ad with “REWARD OFFERED,” you know. Make sure you see that!

It’s okay. I have time. I know how it is. I was in college once, and on occasion found myself wandering the streets at 2:45 in the morning, finding iPhones and whatnot that some unfortunate soul had dropped because she was too stressed to realize it was in her lap, not in her pocket, and she stood up and well, you know the rest, right? Iphone in the street. Oldest story in the book.

So I just checked my email again and I guess you’re sleeping a little bit longer, which is fine, it’s fine. I’m cool with that. Because I’m sure as soon as you’re able, you’ll email me and I’ll email you back to ask you under what circumstances you found the phone and what my case looks like, because, after all, there is a REWARD OFFERED, and I can’t be running around, giving rewards to everyone who found an iPhone last night, you know. And I need to make sure it’s not one of those Russian mobster, “Meet me at the gas station and give me the REWARD OFFERED first and then I’ll give you the iPhone” sort of deals, because you can’t be too careful. I have to watch out for myself, after all, although I am quite appreciative of your potential willingness to even meet at the gas station, I sure am.

You’re a late sleeper, huh? Maybe you’re having dreams about returning the iphone you found in the street to its rightful owner because that’s THE RIGHT THING TO DO. Because I think it’s probably pretty obvious that no one would just go out and throw an iPhone into the street and walk away, right? Right? I mean, it’s not like people have fights with their boyfriend on an iPhone and get back at them by whipping the phone out into space like an engagement ring or something. No one would treat an iphone like that. It’s a treasure. I don’t know of one person who would. I took good care of it, why on Earth would I throw it on the ground? I stood in line for hours to get it. I had my favorite songs on it. Seriously, I had 750 pictures of my dog on that phone, not to mention some private photos I took of myself in a hat I had custom made for me by a girl named Paula on Etsy, in case you looked. I know. I know, it’s not a great photograph, I know that. None of them are. But I was trying to look tough and be funny, it’s a hunting hat, get it, with a deer embroidered on it? She did a good job with that hat. I still have the hat! That didn’t fall out of my lap onto the street. Still have the hat. So no, that’s not what I look like regularly, not at all. I look like that mainly because it is hard to take your own picture with an iphone, it is not like a regular camera at all. Did you know that? You just have to guess where the button is, and keep touching it and touching it around the area you think it might be and yes, it can get frustrating, and yes, you can get hand cramps because that’s the hand where my carpal tunnel is the worst so that’s why I was yelling in some of those pictures. But I was yelling at myself in those pictures, not at the iPhone and certainly not at anybody else, so it should not be an indication of my character or person, not at all. I’m a nice person most of the time. Eighty percent of the time. Maybe 76 percent of the time. In almost all of my iPhone pictures, I am being nice. In fact, if you flip through those photos, as I’m sure you might have—not saying that you don’t have any respect for the privacy of the person who was clearly careless enough to get out of her car with an iphone on her lap, not at all, I’m sure you do, but curiosity baits us all—you’ll see that I take photos of happy, jocular things, demonstrating my multi-faceted interests, hobbies, and things I see as curiosities.

After all, can a girl who has 750 photos of her little dog, who you may notice is sometimes wearing accessories, such as glasses and hats, on her phone be all that bad? She certainly can’t bad as someone who doesn’t deserve to have their phone returned and loses it to someone instead does something nefarious with it, right? But no, you probably won’t see any pictures on that phone of me building houses with Habitat for Humanity or volunteering in Central America, holding the mouths open of tykes while aiding Doctors Without Borders as they fix the cleft palates of little children. Probably not on that phone, but I did give them $25 once, I just didn’t think to take a picture of me donating on line. I’m sure it was used to fix a palate. Or at least part of one.

But if you wonder if I took the picture of the girl sitting on the curb with her butt crack hanging out while her boyfriend was breaking up with her, no, I did not take that. My friend thought that was funny, and in a way, it was. She really needed a belt. But even if I tried to tell her, I doubt she could have heard me over her wracking sobs.

All right, I took the picture, but listen, it was a once in a lifetime chance, you know? I saw the crack rising up and I just snapped, I didn’t even think. It was during the 24 percent of the time when I’m maybe not so nice. It was like seeing the Loch Ness monster or something similar, no one will believe you unless you offer proof. So now I have proof. So when I tell the story, I can offer a visual, and people believe me. That a girl who is very busy having her life destroyed by someone she loved can be too distracted to know that she is slipping out of her clothes.

Oh, God. I just had a horrible thought! You don’t know anyone in China, do you?

Checking my email again!

Boy. How late do you usually sleep?

If you will just get out of bed we can go have your REWARD breakfast right now, if you will just get up and go on Craigslist. Get up get up get up.

Please don’t call China. You better not have called China, if I have to end up paying for calls to China and/or any other far off lands, your reward will reflect it, and I’m just being honest. Fair is fair.

ALL RIGHT. Fine. How about a REWARD BREAKFAST and one call to China. A short call. I will do a small call, a brief call, a “Hello Ma, I am calling you on a stolen phone. I know, I laughed, too!” Okay, I’m sorry, sorry, not a “stolen” phone, let’s just say a “phone that does not belong to me and instead of flipping through the Contacts list and hitting the entry that said ‘home,’ I called China instead” phone. How about that?

Are you awake?

You’re awake, aren’t you? You know, I get the feeling that maybe you really are already awake and instead of spending efforts to find the listing for a lost iPhone on Craigslist, you just might be laughing with your ma about my unhealthy relationship with my dog, not to mention the abundance of pictures of food, and sometimes alcoholic beverages. And about the Russian dancers and slugs having sex on my patio.

The Russian dancer is not a Cossack or Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof. It is my husband. It was very cold that day so he bundled up. And wore the Diplomat, a style of hat he has. Leftover from when he was Hamid Karzi for Halloween. It is quite fetching on him. Anyway, to cheer me up, he did a couple of Russian dance moves one day and then fell over, evidenced by the photos on my iPhone and the blurry image of an ass, but with a belt. My husband always wears a belt. And yes, you were right, those were slugs having coitus on my patio. I had only seen that once before, and again, I cite proof. You should really laugh at those photos. I did. It took them forever.


Please get out of bed.

Why won’t you get out of bed?

Never mind. I already know.

You’re not going to give my phone, are you? You’re going to keep it, aren’t you, or sell it on ebay or take it to some pawn shop across the river, and there are a ton of pawn shops across the river. You know I’ll never find my iPhone. For the next month I’m going to stare at everyone I see talking on a phone to see if it’s you, talking on my iphone. At Safeway, at the mall, at every restaurant, everywhere I go, I’ll be looking. But I’ll never know for sure what you did with it, why you simply couldn’t give it back, or why you thought you deserved to keep it.

You suck.

You’re an asshole and I know it’s just a phone, but really, what did you think when you found it? Could you have possibly thought that someone abandoned it on purpose, maybe someone who was too young to handle the responsibility of the iPhone and thought that by leaving it in a wet, shiny place with lots of traffic that it might have a better chance at life with a different family? If I wanted to abandon my iPhone, I would have left it in a safe place. Like a fire station.

It’s not your iPhone.

It’s not your iPhone.

I’m still paying for it as I write this to you.

You know, my dog is holding my Visa bill in between her paws at this very moment and I want to take a picture of it and make a joke about her reading the fine print and saying, “You know, if you pay this one day late….” but I CAN’T.

I’m going back to using a Sharpie to scrawl, “This was stolen from Laurie Notaro” on everything I own.

You better not have called China.

But if you did, guess what?

Your Ma is going to get another phone call, one from me, on my new iPhone. And I’m going to tell her everything.


Laurie Notaro

PS: I hope I see you sitting on a curb one day while someone is breaking your heart.



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LAURIE NOTARO is the author of a bunch of books, fiction and non-fiction, including the NYT bestseller The Idiot Girls Action-Adventure Club, I Love Everybody and Other Atrocious Lies, Thurber Award-nominated The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death, and her newest novel, Spooky Little Girl.

Notaro was born in Brooklyn, raised in Phoenix, where she was a columnist for The Arizona Republic. She temporarily lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she is tormented by wanting to believe in Bigfoot, but knowing that she can’t (even though her husband might have spotted one in the woods, but with so many dirty hippies in Oregon, it was hard to get an accurate ID on which species the creature was). She has a cute dog that loves mailmen.

17 responses to “Dear Whoever Who Has My iPhone”

  1. admin says:


    I never find cool stuff like that lying around in my neighborhood. I only find things like syringes. And headless baby dolls. And Wu-Tang posters.

  2. Becky says:

    I once lost my keys AND my wallet running down a street, drunk, at 2:30 in the morning in college town.

    My keys showed up two days later at Blockbuster Video, thanks to the key chain rental tag. There was a big black mark on one of the rubber keychains and one of the metal loops was all bent up.

    They had been run over, maybe repeatedly. But someone sent them to blockbuster.

    2 days after that, I got a phone call from a man who said he had my wallet. He was a professor. He had tracked me down. I had to pick the wallet up at his office. He wouldn’t even mail it to me. Professors are such jerks. Always bossing people around.

    But I tell you all of this because there is hope. Not a lot of hope, but hope. Maybe a drunk professor found your iPhone.

  3. Slade Ham says:

    Man, that’s the worst feeling in the world. I changed my Blackberry’s home screen to say “If found, please email XXXX for a reward”.

    I’ve never lost it, but I’m hoping that will entice a return. After they’re gone through my pics and emails of course…

  4. Zara Potts says:

    Great post!
    I’m so glad to know you take pictures of people’s butt cracks – so do I.
    In fact I have been known to make U-turns in my car, if I see a cyclist with a particularly impressive crack, just so I can get a shot of it. Last year, my sister and I stalked bathers in Sydney trying to take clandestine shots of their arses.
    It’s sick, I know. But someone has to do it.

  5. It completely sucks that this person will not return your phone, but if it’s any consolation maybe you can find solace in the fact that there are no photos of you fornicating on it. My friend has fornication photos and videos on his iPhone (I’m not supposed to know this but I do because my boyfriend told me). Considering the fact that you are a person of interest such smut could make its way onto the web — and imagine the humiliation — although, now that I consider it imagine the book sales?! Hmm… Okay, there’s no upside to this situation, but be sure to put a few sex tapes/photos on your new iPhone so that you can benefit from the free publicity should you lose the phone again.

  6. Irene Zion says:

    Next time you get an iPhone, ask the salesperson to show you how to lock it so that at least no one can use any information on it. Plus they can’t use the iPhone since it IS locked.
    This totally sucks, Laurie. I’m sorry.

  7. Richard Cox says:

    I’m really sorry to hear about your loss. I’m flying my iPhone at half mast today.

    And backing it up as I type this.

  8. Marni Grossman says:

    “I had 750 pictures of my dog on that phone, not to mention some private photos I took of myself in a hat I had custom made for me by a girl named Paula on Etsy, in case you looked. I know. I know, it’s not a great photograph, I know that. None of them are.”

    I love- love!- this. Hilarious.

    Also, I concur that the person who has your iPhone is an asshole. Wouldn’t you feel weird about keeping something with all that personal information? What if the person’s friends kept calling? What would you say? “Hi, I’m the guy that stole your friend’s iPhone”? Not a good situation.

  9. Simon Smithson says:

    You so totally and completely deserve to get your iPhone back as a result of the heartbreak you’ve poured into losing it. I’ve been fortunate – I’ve never lost my own iPhone, but I hear it’s like losing a friend.

  10. JB says:

    Well, at least you still have a digital camera.

  11. jmblaine says:

    I didn’t even have a cell phone
    until a few years ago and I had to give in
    So now I have this love/hate thing
    with technology
    and this year my wife had to get an
    iPhone from the medical stuff
    and so now instead of
    slow peddling my bike
    on the dark road that runs along Lake Radnor
    I’m playing the words with friends. app
    Tomorrow, I always say.

  12. I’m so sorry you lost your phone. The fact that it’s an iPhone might make it worse, but shit, that feeling of panic and loss wouldn’t change either way. I’ve had moments when I thought I lost my phone or my wallet . . . moments of sheer, unadulterated panic. Like a pit in the stomach.

    I’d hate to lose my iPhone especially, though. There’s something more personal about it, for me, than there was about other phones I’ve owned. Which is probably the genius of Apple. My love for the phone may even win out over my loyalty to TMobile someday (if Apple won’t sell an unlocked version).

    Oh, and your final line? That postscript? Devastating. Loved the whole piece, of course, but that last line summed it all up, I think.

    I hope you get your phone back.

  13. Alison Aucoin says:

    I’ve been waiting for my Verizon contract to end so I can get an iPhone. Now I’m thinking it might not be such a good idea to put all my techie eggs in one basket. Plus, the idea of some hooligan looking at photos of my kid freaks me out even more than the calls to China.

  14. Erika Rae says:

    “I’m still paying for it as I write this to you.”


  15. boundaries in relationships…

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