I impulse bought a couple Apple Air Tags—those devices you attach to your valuables so you can track their location. I put one on my keys and one in my handbag.
When I got to Cape Cod a couple weeks ago, I noticed that the one on my key chain was not. Damn. It must have fallen off. Embarrassingly, it was a while later that I remembered the point of the tag, and tracked it on my phone.
There it was, last seen a couple hours earlier in Waterfront Park back home. Now 230 miles away.
I had not been anywhere near Waterfront Park in months, so I knew someone had found my tag and carried it there.
But it’s registered to me, and someone else can’t “steal it.” It’s useless to them.
Over the next week while I was in Massachusetts I checked now and then, and it remained in the park, although the specific location wandered.
On the day I drove home, it was suddenly showing up in the middle of the Hudson River. Oh no! Did someone hurl it out a car window from the Tappan Zee bridge? Nothing I could do from I95 in Connecticut.
By the time I was home and could go look for it, Tropical Storm Eliza had arrived from the south in a frenzy. My phone showed the tag back in the park and despite the rain I had to go out for other errands, so I decided to look for it. Rain? This was the middle of the deluge that flooded NYC subway stations. I parked and sloshed through ankle deep puddles to the location shown on my phone. Nothing. I tapped the “Play Sound” button. My phone said it could not connect—too far away.
I was soaked. My phone was wet. The rain was so loud I suspected it would drown out the ding of the tag. Dejected, I drove away.
The next day was clear and bright. Late afternoon I was done with meetings and had no more work that could not wait for Monday.
I drove back to the park. The location app placed the tag in a different spot. Near a tree in the divider in the parking lot.
I parked and followed the little map on my phone. My Geocaching instincts kicked in: I examined the tree, the parking sign…. I tried the “Play Sound” button. Wait, was that a ping? Excited, I tapped again.
Ping ping PING PING ping ping.
Around the tree, check the knot holes. Ping again and check the sign. Ping again and listen. Listen. Listen. There! A bright spot in the grass at the base of the tree.
My tag was still in its leather holder pressed deep into the thick grass. It was dirty, the surface scratched—proof of its adventure.
Had the finder tossed it away in frustration? I’ll never know. But I do know that Apple Tags work. You really can find them, even if they aren’t attached to your valuable.
It is back on my key chain, secured it to a solid ring,