File under: Future, living in the

I’d been in a meeting at a library, and at first I thought I must have left my phone on the table where we’d been talking.

Then I frantically dumped everything out of my bag, because more than once I’ve been convinced I lost it, only to discover the phone lurking coyly in my bag’s depths.

Checked under the table. Nope.

Maybe it fell out of my coat pocket between the building and my car?

Had I even had it with me when I left the house? But I knew I had, I’d been listening to a podcast.


Retraced all my steps again.

Nothing. Sinking sick feeling.

Then I heard: someone had just called the library, asking for me by name. They had my phone.

“How did you figure out whose phone it was?”

They asked Siri.

Now, I’ve always been deeply suspicious of Siri, and only ever activated it (or do I mean contacted her?) by mistake. At which point I would always get flustered, as though I’d just discovered that the room I was in was bugged, and deactivate it (dismiss her?) as quickly as possible.

But it turns out, if you happen to find an iPhone and you want to know who it belongs to, you can say “Siri, whose phone is this?” — even if the phone is locked — and if that person has associated their name with their phone, Siri will tell you.

(Yes yes, I’m certain this could be exploited for nefarious purposes, I’m sure there are extremely good reasons for naming your phone something utterly random and inexplicable and entirely unrelated to your name. But in this case I’m very glad I did not do that.)

“And then how did you know to call the library?”

Once they had my name they found this very website, or possibly my Twitter account, both of which mention that I’m a librarian as well as an author. They found the phone via running over it with their bike. So yes, it fell out of my coat pocket between the building and my car, and yes, I’m glad I have a very sturdy case.

The phone was near the library, so they put two and two together.

For which I am super super grateful. I did not get my rescuer’s name, but if you’re reading this, thank you again, you are a hero.