No matter how unlikely it is that their phone went missing in the last five minutes, even the thought that if they did try to locate their phone they may not be able to, at least initially, is enough to send them into Possibly Lost Phone Syndrome or PLPS (pronounced “plips”), which is characterized by frantic digging, heavy breathing, flat affect, and the inability to keep up with even simple conversation.
Of course, nine times out of ten the phone hasn’t even been lost, unless you employ the San Franciscan’s definition of “lost” which is anything you can’t see until you look at it.
PLPS can occur at any time, but a situation where it often presents is when the San Franciscan is on a bus or in the backseat of a car. One moment they’re sitting there, seemingly calm and in an okay mood for a San Franciscan, and the next they’re scrambling all over the backseat like a hamster, breathing heavily, with a face so contorted in a terrified grimace that you think they’re mocking Japanese horror movies (Not just one film, but the whole genre. It’s that contorted).
This is almost always accompanied by frantic digging in a bag (not necessarily their own), muttering about not being able to find their phone, asking you to “CALL IT!?”
Which you do, but first you have to find your phone which is in the middle console, but which you can’t see until you unblink your eyes, and so you too are frantic for a second, but then you see it, and you call their phone, and you all hear it buzzing in their bag, where they put it not three minutes before.
After that everyone faces forward again, and acts like nothing embarrassing for the whole human race just happened.
This kind of behavior would be understandable if the Phone Loser (there is a double meaning there) had just been picked up and spit out by a tornado, or in some other scenario where there’s a legitimate possibility that the phone had gotten away from them, but PLPS almost always happens in some completely contained space, like a car or their bedroom, where they go into hysterics because they just set their bath towel on iPhone and suddenly it’s like, WHERE DID IT GO?
Well, where in God’s name do they think it went? I would hate to see a San Franciscan lose sight of their toddler in a mall, because if their behavior toward misplacing their phones is any indication, their head would probably just explode.