A tale of terror by Stanley Bing @FortuneMagazine September 4, 2014, 7:23 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons I was on just the other side of the TSA security gate when, in my customary every-five-minute self-patdown to make sure all my peripherals are in order, I realized that my front right pants pocket was empty. This ordinarily means little. But it was hot that day, and I had removed my suit jacket and packed it into my wheelie bag while I was in the Town Car to the airport, requiring the shifting of my phone to that uncustomary location. In the car I had then moved it to an even more bizarre spot on the top of my luggage for, you know, greater convenience during the ride. Upon arrival, I had, apparently, taken my bag rather heedlessly, it being an ungodly early hour, and I had left my phone behind. I saw it there in my mind’s eye, on the car’s back seat. I imagined it ringing. Bob was on the other end of the line. “Where the !#$ is Bing?” he was thinking. It takes stupidity to misplace your phone. I mean, you check yourself only—what?—six times an hour to make sure you haven’t left some part of yourself somewhere. Or perhaps it’s not simple stupidity, but something deeper. A profound need to be out of touch, maybe. Now there was only self-reproach. Terror. And a vast, aching sense of aloneness in the universe, a feeling of infinitesimal smallness in the teeming cosmos of people who do have their phones with them. The first thing that occurs to you when you lose your phone is that you don’t have a phone to call anybody with to tell them that you’ve lost your phone. Then a huge chasm of fear opens beneath your feet, a teeming Hell populated by screaming, tormented souls trying to get in touch with you. “Must get phone,” I said to myself. But … where? A computerized schematic popped up in my brain screen. There was an electronics store not 50 feet down the way! “We don’t have phones,” said the sales guy. He was standing in front of about an acre of phone paraphernalia. “But there’s a dude about a mile down on the left who might sell them.” I walked and walked and walked, aware that if this option failed, I was looking at hours—days?!—of being … nowhere. The guy had one. Cost about $100. Ugly little thing. Inelegant. He set it up for me. “I do this kind of thing for my grandma all the time,” he said as he worked. I called my key people. Made an amusing story out of it. Gave them my new temporary number. Called my office and barked some orders related to finding my real phone, which they did. Arranged for it to be sent by intercompany pouch to my pending location. It would be delivered—without fail—to my desk on Monday morning. Just one weekend without my frenemy. I figured I could handle that. I patted the ersatz little brick in my pocket. It was insufficient. But it would serve. I was back on planet business again. I should tell you the last part, when I got my phone back. It’s not a pretty story, although it ends all right. The phone was not on my desk without fail. I realized it when I was having my second cup of coffee. And—this is rich—I had left my temporary implement back on my nightstand! I really have to see a therapist about my relationship with my electronics. Well, I went nuts. I screamed at my assistant, although none of this was her fault. I screamed at the mailrooms on both coasts. I screamed at my New York office, which had, it turned out, put my phone in the wrong intercompany transport system. I yelled and thundered and threw my weight around like a little baby deprived of its rattle for about 20 minutes. And then they found my phone and brought it to me. It was swaddled in bubble wrap and cardboard. I tore it open and brushed it off. And there it was, stuffed with all my contacts and games and other apps, staring mutely back at me. I hefted it in my hand. “You again,” I said. Follow Stanley Bing at stanleybing.com and on Twitter at @thebingblog. This story is from the September 22, 2014 issue of Fortune.