The Return of the Prodigal Laptop

Someone, I’m not going to say who except that he has the same hairstyle as me and lives in the same house and also goes by the same name, left his laptop at the Burbank TSA on Sunday — he forgot he’d taken the laptop out of his backpack, and thus just collected his luggage and backpack and forgot the bin that held the computer in it. Fortunately the Burbank airport has a lost and found, and the computer was turned in to it. After the person there ascertained that indeed it was my laptop, and I was not just a scammer calling in to try to pick up free hardware, they sent it back to me. It arrived today, apparently none the worse for wear.

It was a best case scenario for a lost laptop for a number of reasons. The first was that it was found, of course, and turned in to the correct place. The second is that it incurred no damage either before or during its shipping back to me (indeed the person who shipped it to me packaged it so thoroughly that it was something of a challenge to free it from the packaging, so kudos to them). The third is that there was no incursion into the computer itself — the laptop has a fingerprint scanner and is passworded so no one can get into it without my permission. The fourth is that even if there had been I don’t keep any (unencrypted and passworded) sensitive information on this laptop, and had no critical files on it — two cheers for cloud storage.

Finally, if it had not been found, I could have just remotely wiped it and dealt with it. While it’s annoying to me to lose a laptop, I can both afford to absorb its loss and if necessary to buy a new one. It’s why, when I realized in Atlanta, between flights, that my laptop wasn’t in my backpack, my immediate reaction wasn’t a stomach-dropping panic, but rather a more mild “well, shit,” and a calm retracing of my steps to where it was lost, and a Google search to find out how to get it back. At no point did I panic or wonder how I was going to have to get along without it. I wanted it back — I’m happy not to pay for another laptop, thank you very much — but it didn’t put a hole in my life or really even my mood. That’s a privilege I don’t take lightly, and which I am grateful to have.

So, welcome back, laptop! Please do not pull a stunt like this again. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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