When I look back on this past Easter, I'm sure I will remember the details more than usual.
Spring weather was in full effect. It was hovering around 70 degrees (in typical New York fashion, it's now a confusing 50 degrees outside), and everything was pointing towards a classic city summer. Except Meenzer (German for someone from Mainz, where the horn was made), my newest horn went missing. I had left it in a cab, after the Wednesday rehearsal for this divine Easter celebration. Most inconveniently, I had to leave town early the next morning for upstate so I would have to do most of my searching via phone.
Many people have a hard time relating to the emotions that are associated with losing a horn. Thus, the reaction you get from person to person is super rangy. Some people, even after they figured out what a french horn was (a trombone, right?) still couldn't care less. Fortunately, the majority of people's reaction was somewhere along the lines of "OH MY GOD!!!", like I had accidentally decapitated myself, or just won the opposite of the MegaMillion lottery. Not totally parallel to the trauma of the incident, however much more in line with the enthusiasm I would need if I was ever going to get my horn back.
After a couple of days of meaningless talks with various disinterested police, and literally hundreds of calls to NYC taxi garages, I had a conversation with a driver who told me that all of the cabs in NY are covered by one of two GPS companies. These companies both have their offices in Long Island City, and he said that I should go to them and give them as much info as possible, and see if they could help me. I had already talked with one of them (Verifone) on the phone with no success. This was also the company that ended up finding Meenzer.
When I went to the Verifone office on Monday, I was expecting a full fledged circus. Something like the DMV, except on crack. Instead, I found it to be really well run and the people were very easy to talk to. The lady that helped me, and eventually found my driver was incredibly nice, and did the search while I went to the other company (CMT) to check with them. I got to see way more of LIC then I'd planned, but it was a nice day so I was into it. Plus, I got to exercise my new dead-person's-ACL.
Of course, my phone died so I went to a coffeeshop to charge it. Asking to charge your phone at a coffee shop can give you a really acute sense of the vibe. I had been to this place before because it's near a friend's apartment. But, since I wasn't a regular I decided to order something before asking to suck up some of their electricity. They had cold-brewed ice coffee, which was named "Rocket Fuel". I figured it might be a long day/night so I had two.
I met up with my friend and had a burger and a beer, because that's what you do when everything else fails. I had only that day posted my crisis to Facebook, so we passed the time looking at the 90+ comments of empathy that were posted. Someone even wrote me a private message that said (in caps) "CALL ME". I knew it wasn't what I was looking for, and I didn't really know this person super well, so it was weird. I did call them, just later. And then I got the email.
The lady at Verifone sent me an email saying that she had narrowed the search down to one car fitting the description of my ride. I don't know where I get this trait, but in moments like this I tend to keep my hopes on the floor, so not to be disappointed later. The next 12 hours were still a blur of suppressed anxiety. Perhaps next time I'll just have one helping of Rocket Fuel.
I got Nestor's (my driver) call at 8:48am the next day. I missed it, because don't ever effing call me that early. But my girlfriend noticed right as it was missed, and I called him back. Nestor was nice enough. Said he had a son named David, who was in college. He insisted that he didn't touch anything. I asked him if he had fixed my high Bb. Not really, but it would have been nice if he did. Now I actually have to deal with it again. But not having my horn made me realize how much I like it. Perhaps, after months of complaining about a couple of details, this is the kick in the ass I needed to just plow ahead.
Incidentally, this is (almost to date) the ten year anniversary of the last time I left my horn in a NYC taxi. In 2024, I'll just get someone lock me in my house.