Last year in November the Kindle I brought with me to Kyrgyzstan suddenly stopped working. One day, just kaput. Nothing.
It was a sad, expected death that was followed by months of reading the random books lying around the Peace Corps office and brought by other Volunteers including a novel about a girl born with giant thumbs whose life ambition is to become the world’s greatest hitchhiker (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues), a biography of Britain’s most successful marijuana smuggler (Mr. Nice), and an account of five WWII vets who sail across the Pacific Ocean on a log raft in the 1950’s (Kon Tiki). While these were some… interesting reads, I missed the 21st century luxury of downloading the perfect book, instantly for $3.00 a pop whenever I felt like it.
Then, as they do, my parents came to the rescue with a birthday care-package complete with a brand spanking new Kindle. The whole world of books was gloriously reopened and I took full advantage of it by tearing through some great stuff for two months before (inevitably, being me) I left it in a taxi in Bishkek.
I realized what I had done before the StepWagon was out of sight, but not before it had moved far enough away that flagging it down was out of the question. As the car disappeared into the distance I contemplated the prospect of reading about girls with oversized digits and charmingly accented criminals for the rest of my service. Not a pleasant thought.
But all the same, by the time yesterday rolled around I had mostly come to terms with the situation even though I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about how I lost a second Kindle in a little over a year. Duishenbek and I were going over some project stuff in Kyzyl Adyr and were just about to wrap up our meeting when he suddenly remembered something.
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Did you lose something when you last travelled to Bishkek?”
My Kyrgyz is still pretty crummy after all this time, and quick topic changes through me off. “Huh? I don’t think I… I’m not sure I understand.”
“Here, hand me my briefcase.”
So I did and, lo and behold, he pulls out my Kindle. He was not expecting my level of excitement. I had figured that the only way I’d see it again would be in a glass display case in some second hand electronics store.
“Your taxi driver is a good friend of mine.”
Of course he is.
I thanked him profusely and since there was even some charge on it, I read on the mashrutka ride home–careful not to set it down anywhere.