Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Story of My Laptop

For the folks who have been asking about it. It’s long. Sorry.

Just over a month ago, I lost my work laptop. I went over to Mt. Adams to help Bethany move into her new place, and I had it on the passenger side. Jon Reeve rode with me, so we moved it to the back seat. We went in and out of Bethany’s place for an hour or so, and when I came back and drove home I discovered that the laptop was gone.

My entire brain was on that thing. Not just work stuff, either: Every paper I’d written for school, every personal letter, every to-do list was on that laptop. All my contacts, everything. I had half a dozen work projects in-process on it. When I lost it, I spent the better part of three workdays just trying to figure out what I should be doing.

I figured it had been stolen, but you never really know for sure. I was killing myself with “maybes.” Maybe I took it out and put it on the ground to make room for Jon, then forgot to put it back? Maybe I took it inside with me, and it got buried under the stuff we moved for Bethany? I had no idea. In desperation, I posted it to the lost+found page on Cincinnati Craigslist.

A couple of days later, I got a call from a trucker in Illinois. He called me up and told me he’d been driving through Cincinnati and bought a laptop on the side of the road, and after using it a while realized it had probably been stolen. He looked on Craigslist and saw I was missing it, so he called to get my info so he could mail it to me. All he wanted in return was that I send him the cost of shipping, plus the amount he paid to the kid (about $200). And he wanted it up front. Via Western Union. That day.

That raised some red flags, so my distrustful self kept insisting on more details, which he was unwilling to give. The conversation deteriorated from there, with me being convinced he was a scammer and him cussing me out for disrespecting him. Ugly. I just decided I’d have to live without my laptop, and move on.

Then, four weeks later, the church IT folks got a call from a woman who lives in Mount Adams. She found a laptop on the street “two weeks ago” and discovered that it said “Property of Vineyard Community Church.” So she looked up VCC in the phonebook, told them she had a laptop of theirs, read them the serial number to confirm, and dropped it off. No muss, no fuss. It was out of battery (the charger hadn’t been in the backpack) and one corner was busted, but that was it. All of the data was intact, and the broken corner was cosmetic only.

So I still haven’t figured out what happened. There’s a 2-week gap in there somewhere… did somebody steal it from my car, use it until the battery wore out, then put it back out in the street? Did they try to use it but weren’t able to get through the password? Maybe it wasn’t stolen at all… maybe it fell out of the car and the lady picked it up, and just held it for 4 weeks instead of 2. I have no idea.

All I know is I got my data back, and I’m thrilled. I’m feeling a lot more hopeful about the trustworthiness of people than I was after the scam. And I’m thankful to God for taking care of me in a weird situation.

So anyway, that’s the story.

Cross-posted on my blog and on Facebook.

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