Borrow my phone, borrow my life

People break their phones, lose their phones, and run out of power. It happens to everybody at least once.

When you’re the person that asks to borrow someone else’s phone on the train to make a call, you feel the their fear. Why would they trust a stranger with their phone, the hard drive storing their life?

The Smartphone is even more personal than a laptop or home computer. It holds just about everything. Allowing an unknown person to borrow it even for a minute is a quick judgement call. Trust your gut.

Of course, a lot goes into that gut decision. How familiar are you with that person? How did they behave before they asked to borrow your phone? Are they wearing a suit, jeans, or rags? Do they speak English? Does ethnicity impact your decision?

Everyone decides before they decide.. Knowledge and experience predict your bias. The only variables are understanding and guilt. Are we too quick to deny helping or are we too stupid and empathetic to give in only to be duped?

Thieves are just hackers that don’t know how to code. Yet their piracy is equally damaging and disruptive. Getting a new phone is like rebuilding a new life. It’s a lot of work even if most of your information is backed up in the cloud.

Be careful what you agree to. Saying “No” is not a copout; it’s just a way of playing it safe. Saying “Yes” is risky but potentially more satisfying. Helping makes anyone feel good.

Pity the fool for having any true feelings.

(Read more from the Train Diaries collection on Medium)

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.