Funny Hurricane Story, however tangential

So hurricane Sandy didn't really affect me at all - my house was spared any damage, in fact, it was very benign in my neighborhood - just some wind and rain. Hard to believe that 5 miles away in downtown Manhattan they had such hell break loose.
Here's my one hurricane fallout story.
Yesterday morning I went out to do a quick errand - one stop, before sticking my head in a coffee shop around the corner to say hello to a friend. When I got home I reached for my cell and it wasn't in my pocket. Assuming I had left it at home, I looked around for it briefly, then picked up my landline to call it. A woman obviously of foreign tongue picks up.

"Hello"
Me, realizing I must have dropped it or left it at the coffee shop: "Hello, you have my cell phone"
her: "Huh?"
"You have my cell phone"
"solly, no engrish"
(to myself), "oh for pete's sake", to her: "umm, PHONE. my PHONE. that's MY PHONE you've got in your hand"
meanwhile I'm thinking, she sounds brazilian....,
"are you portugese?"
"huh?"
"latin?"
"huh?!"
......
this is frustrating....
now even louder: "P-H-O-N-E. MINE. WHERE ARE YOU? I WILL COME AND PICK - IT - UP, the PHONE"
"sorry, I no engrish; wait" (puts someone else on the line):
"hello?"
"yes, the other woman has my phone. or, er,... you have my phone, the phone you're talking on - It's MINE"
"huh? no engrish"
"fucking hell, you've got to be kidd..,"
"is there anyone there that speaks ENGLISH. PLEASE, I NEED my PHONE!"
this goes on back and forth for a good 5 minutes. I'm amazed they don't just hang up, and eventually I start getting very nervous that they're going to and toss the phone in the trash. I'm pacing.
finally,
"umm, portugese? spanish? french? italian? japanese? chinese?"
"YES! YES! ME chinee. You speak chinee?"
"No, but don't go anywhere. I'll call you back. I'll call you RIGHT back. DON'T LEAVE."

I hang up and call my upstairs neighbor who speaks chinese. I'm in the middle of asking him to call my cell number and explain to the woman when right there in front of me is my phone.
"what the hell?! did this ring? did anybody hear this ring?"

"
no"
"come on, you're messing with me. someone picked it up and was pretending to be chinese, but the accent was whack - it sounded brazilian actually. and there's no possible way someone could live here and not know the most basic of english words like phone, mine, etc"
"nah. it didn't ring. I just saw it sitting in my room and was gonna leave it on your desk"
"hmmm" taking the phone out of her hand, "well let me check the call log" still suspicious.
sure enough, no missed calls, no received calls, NADA.


somehow the hurricane mess crossed the wires, and I called some poor chinese woman (maybe in china?!) and shouted at her in annoyed, stupid-american-speak. HAHAHAHAHA!


Graham Hawthorne 2012