I lost my HP laptop at 32,000 feet. Literally. I placed it in the bulkhead of a plane in my carry-on bag, took an in-flight nap on Continental Airlines flight 2622, and when I reached my destination--it was gone. This is all that I have left of it... 


At the time of our parting, our relationship was not a happy one. Over the last six months, we'd done a lot of traveling together--from NY to LA, DC, New Orleans, MA, VT, NH, SC, NC, TN, UT--17 trips altogether. I'd written my first book in the fall, and the tablet laptop was tired. The control key had fallen off after countless struggles to wrangle book chapters into the format that our publisher requested--my co-authors and I joked that the laptop was stubborn.

In Salt Lake City, my HP refused to let go of the pen stylus--ever again. An IT professional took a look and said that the pen had decided to stay and advised me to get a new one. And after a long afternoon at Ruby Tuesdays using the only customer outlet in the joint, I plugged it in a swanky Nashville loft apartment and the power cord fried. I woke up to the smell of burnt wiring and was relieved that it had been the only thing lost.

As a native Southerner, I've been well schooled in etiquette for house guests. Offering to start a fire is gracious only if there is a fire place, starting an unintentional one can ruin a friendship and produce a thin lipped smile. I said nothing, just packed my bags and headed for the airport.

Resuscitation efforts at the Nashville airport at a laptop express joint failed--it wouldn't take a new power charge, so it spent four days in New Orleans feeling like a burden. This is how it made it into the bulk head of flight 2622 instead of in my lap or under my seat in the position to which it was accustomed. If the HP had feelings, it probably felt like the Velveteen Rabbit...Only a Velveteen Rabbit that had been abandoned. Perhaps it offered itself for the taking.

I'm fortunate: I have a server. There are back-ups. It was password protected. I was able to report the serial number. The police were polite. Having something stolen on a near-empty flight on a regional jet is ideal in some ways: You know your thief wasn't armed, and the police can start out with a small list of suspects. They've promised to investigate, and I have faith that they will follow-up by placing the serial numbers in all the right databases.

I lost my laptop on the way to take a vacation--not en route to an important meeting. I didn't notice it was gone until I arrived at my destination.  I didn't cry. I placed a phone call, and then went out to dinner. So, I only felt violated by the theft at first. It's only now that I feel sad and the sense of loss, especially at losing something in a space I felt--however falsely--was secure. I write this in hopes that you won't experience similar losses.

I have a new travel buddy. This one is lighter, faster, and cheaper. We've agreed to keep in close company. So far, we are getting along.

I'm glad my HP bequeathed me the control key. It allows me to feel like I can maintain control. I get to choose how I react to the experience...and in knowing that my thief inherited no power supply, no pen, and "no control"--I still feel, in a very small way, like I can walk away!