When I almost lost my phone, I was too chilled

For university students, Thursday is when the weekend begins. Even if we may have that little annoying tutorial on Friday morning, Thursday gives us life. Student night at the bar! Liquor City experiences a spike in sales on this particular day, especially around late February when all the students are coming back to school and think they’re loaded.

For me, the party ends now as first-year is no joke. I’ve been away for too long, I am too relaxed, and one of these days, it will bite me in the ass when I show up to class without work done. Losing 10% on my semester mark as part of my continuous assessment is just painful.

So, I’ve been partying enough and really though, I’m done. I had just gone out three days in a row and missed a lesson because I was too tired to go for it. Also, I’m running fast out of money (of which I’ve spent a shitload more than I ever had before). I promised myself the broke student days were over and I really need to be taking charge of my money. So no more drinking for me; I’d like to be able to shop at Woolworths Food (because Pick n Pay is so passé) more often thank you.

For the past two weeks, Thursday at my university’s popular haunt has been amazing. Each Thursday started the same: in the afternoon, we’d walk to the shopping centre and enter Liquor City and decide what we were taking, pay for our goods then leave, all the while plotting about how to sneak it into campus. For the drink ups, my room is a no go as I live in a heavily guarded part of res and the security guards insist on checking every bag that goes in (and out).

Last Thursday did not disappoint as we rounded up all the alcohol we bought, took shots, made mixes and just plain drank until the hips got drunk as well. We put on the most ratchet music we know and rapped, danced, and picked out hot outfits in one of my friend’s tiny bedroom until we agreed it was time to go. We then stumbled out of the room, heading for the main gate where there were always cabs waiting to take party-goers to their destinations. We bundled into one, told him “Stones” and we were off. I had to go to the ATM first to withdraw money for entrance. That is when trouble Part 1 began.

I thought I lost my bank card and I was freaking out, on the verge of crying. Like always, I take one for the team and find myself being the fall girl; I told my friends to go off to the club without me as I’d need to go back to school and see where I dropped my bank card, and hope my lucky stars would lead me to it. It was in my bra the whole time. New going-out rule: wear outfits with pockets or bring one handbag per person.

Thursday night was back on track as I found my friends inside, and we got down until three in the morning. More like, until the bouncers started to spray pepperspray in the air to drive the clubbers out. And I thought it was just me who was coughing like a smoker, unable to breathe without feeling like my throat was being stabbed.

The hours that went on until I woke up in my bed at around two in the afternoon… I can’t remember it all, except a few flashes.

I remember putting my friends in a cab, giving them their keys and phones and R50 to get home, and my friend telling me if the key isn’t inside the bag I gave them “then fuck you”.

I remember being at Sasol buying a packet of chips, going home with these guys and their side chicks.

I remember waking up at a friend’s house and saying “I must get back; I have a Stats lesson at nine.”.

I remember getting into a cab and hoping that nobody sees me in my party clothes at 7am in the morning.

I remember digging into my left boot for my room key.

I remember stripping and then climbing into bed after deciding that the Stats lesson wasn’t going to happen.

I remember that all that time I didn’t have my phone with me. But I knew where I left it.

When I drink to the point that my memory fails, it’s very hard for my eyes to open when my brain wakes up. I spent most of Friday morning and afternoon trying to get my eyes open. Because I didn’t have my phone with me, I had to search online for an alarm clock so that I didn’t sleep forever. I’m not playing, when I sleep, I sleep with dedication to keeping my eyes closed for as long as possible.

I eventually woke up, and finally got myself into the shower, got out awake and alert, logged onto Facebook and asked my friend if she got home safely and if she knew where my phone was.

“Yeah got home, but I thought you had your phone. I’ll check though.” That’s when I started to panic. I proceeded to eat some crisps and watch CSI online with trepidation, because not only did I not have my only effective form of communication with me, but there was a possibility that I actually lost it. Life started to mean nothing.

She replied, “No, can’t see it.” I was still in denial but very worried. To add acid to my wound, my mother angrily messaged me on Facebook about how quiet I was being. I had to tell her. She was furious, how do I know? My little sister was messaging me at the same time, telling my mother just shouted in anger. I thanked Jesus I wasn’t there to be the recipient of that rage. I made up a lie about how I lost my phone, because if she were to know how yesterday really went down, the verbal abuse was going to come in rolling punches. She started to calm down eventually and then said that she’d go to the shop where we bought the phone and have it blocked (if she could just find the contract).

I got dressed and went to my friend’s room, had problems with the security guards there because I didn’t have my phone to call my friend to tell her to come and get me. I finally got in after I let the guards rant about how irresponsible I was, and impatiently power-walked to my friends’ room.

Her room was a mess. I thought my desk was messy but it clearly comes last to what I saw. I assumed that she hadn’t looked properly, so I looked for the phone myself. The search came up with no results and it started to sink in that I really lost my phone. But I didn’t cry.

That’s the one thing that scared me the most about myself. It wasn’t even my first time losing a phone. The first time I did, it was on the school bus, and I only realised when I got to school. I cried rivers. Even the girls who didn’t like me that much had to calm me down. When I got home, I locked myself in my bedroom and my mother surprisingly wasn’t pissed. She assured I’d get a new phone soon. I did, months later.

This new incident was somehow different. I go to a university where if you so much as leave any valuable (or even “not valuable to you”) possessions lying around in the library, computer labs, classrooms or ANYWHERE… you will never see it again. The semester fees make you think that this is a learning institution for rich kids, but in fact, there are thieves among us. Even room keys were dangerous to lose, because whoever they wound up with could comb through all the residences and find where you live.

I knew that if I did in fact lose my phone, that was the end of it. I would never see it again, and because I don’t have that much money on me, I was going back to calls and texts as my only form of mobile communication. I just couldn’t let that happen, so I switched on my denial.

I kept it on for most of Friday and Saturday morning, until my friend posted on my Facebook wall that she found my phone, as it was in her bag (which she threw into her wardrobe in tipsy hysteria) the whole time. The joy I felt was like none I’ve felt in a long time. All was left was having to tell my parents the phone has been retrieved and we can all rest easy. At least when I got the phone back and I switched it on, the emergency message that BlackBerry Protect sent to my phone was flashing, so I know it works. If this ordeal ever happens again…

So I now have my phone and I’m making sure it never leaves my side, but I still can’t shake the thought of my attitude that weekend. I was absolutely unworried about my phone possibly being gone forever, the important documents I keep on there and my incriminating party photos…

Maybe I was numb. Maybe deep down, I was very convinced that it wasn’t lost. Maybe I actually didn’t care that my phone was almost gone. Maybe I had bigger issues to deal with at the time, which I’m still fighting even now. I don’t know, but I didn’t cry. Which is usually my response to emotionally negative and heart-wrenching events like this.

It’s gonna be a long time until I go out (or even just drink) again. I’m a hazard when I’ve had 17% and above to drink.

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