Meditation on a lost iPhone

On my walk to the park this morning, I came upon a huge mess on and around two picnic tables: paper, food, cans, bottles, and (the worst) a broken whisky bottle on the concrete beneath a table.  Not just a few pieces, but a million pieces.  Shattered.

Something glittered amid the trash: a new Apple iPhone.  I brought it home, turned it on, and waited.  A few hours later, it rang.  A woman said that it was her little brother's phone, and she wanted it back.

I: "Yes, I have no problem with that, but first he needs to go to the park with a dust pan and broom, sweep up the glass, and pick up all the trash."

She: "I don't know where he is.  His phone is on my account, so it's my property."

I: "I realize it's your property, but I want the park cleaned up before I return it."

She: "I can't be responsible for someone else's mess.  That's my property."

I: "Fine, I'll turn it over to the police and let them sort it out."

She started speaking rapidly, but I hung up.  She called from another number.  Again and again and again.  I didn't pick up.

The police were here within minutes.  The officer was very appreciative, said the first thing he would do was check the serial number and see if it was stolen.

Since the woman had an unusual name, I looked her upon Facebook.  She's from Khartoum, Sudan.  A refugee?  Christian or Muslim?  With friends named Ali, Mohamed, Hassan, and Ibrahim, I'm just guessing she's not Christian.  But I could be wrong.

Curious, isn't it, how soon they learn to assert their property rights, but cleaning up a mess is someone else's problem?  In Sudan, the way to dispose of trash is to pitch it out the window.  If you're feeling extra energetic, you loft the bag into someone else's yard.  Or am I thinking of some other country?

These are the people who come here as "an act of love" (Jeb Bush), who will revitalize the German workforce and offset Germans' low birth rate (Angela Merkel).

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.

On my walk to the park this morning, I came upon a huge mess on and around two picnic tables: paper, food, cans, bottles, and (the worst) a broken whisky bottle on the concrete beneath a table.  Not just a few pieces, but a million pieces.  Shattered.

Something glittered amid the trash: a new Apple iPhone.  I brought it home, turned it on, and waited.  A few hours later, it rang.  A woman said that it was her little brother's phone, and she wanted it back.

I: "Yes, I have no problem with that, but first he needs to go to the park with a dust pan and broom, sweep up the glass, and pick up all the trash."

She: "I don't know where he is.  His phone is on my account, so it's my property."

I: "I realize it's your property, but I want the park cleaned up before I return it."

She: "I can't be responsible for someone else's mess.  That's my property."

I: "Fine, I'll turn it over to the police and let them sort it out."

She started speaking rapidly, but I hung up.  She called from another number.  Again and again and again.  I didn't pick up.

The police were here within minutes.  The officer was very appreciative, said the first thing he would do was check the serial number and see if it was stolen.

Since the woman had an unusual name, I looked her upon Facebook.  She's from Khartoum, Sudan.  A refugee?  Christian or Muslim?  With friends named Ali, Mohamed, Hassan, and Ibrahim, I'm just guessing she's not Christian.  But I could be wrong.

Curious, isn't it, how soon they learn to assert their property rights, but cleaning up a mess is someone else's problem?  In Sudan, the way to dispose of trash is to pitch it out the window.  If you're feeling extra energetic, you loft the bag into someone else's yard.  Or am I thinking of some other country?

These are the people who come here as "an act of love" (Jeb Bush), who will revitalize the German workforce and offset Germans' low birth rate (Angela Merkel).

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre of a writer in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.