Ever lost your cell phone?
Panic! We’re talking cold turkey withdrawal and then some, because cell phones have become key to our lives. When did that happen? Most everyone over thirty remembers when land lines were the go-to phone connection. When one of my sons decided to cancel his land line for cell-only status, I was worried. What if the cell malfunctioned in an emergency? What if it ran out of juice? What if he lost it?
That was ten years ago, and I’m talking a different game now. I’ve become a convert of sorts. Oh, I still have my land line. And, for the record, now that my son has a child, he has one, too, just in case. But for talk, email, texting, news, weather, note-taking, shopping, camera – the list goes on – I’m as dependent as the next guy on my hand-held device!
Which is why I lost my cool recently when I was driving back from the lake. I was alone in the car, and I was nearly back to Boston. My pocketbook was on the passenger’s seat beside me, but it had been suspiciously silence since I’d left the lake – no chirps of email or dinging of texts. Thinking I must have left it on vibrate following dinner at a restaurant the night before, I reached into my bag – and it wasn’t in its usual pocket. I groped around the larger cavity, pushing things out of the way. But I knew. I knew. I’d left it charging on the kitchen counter two hours north of where I was just then.
Call Steve. That was my first thought. Steve is my husband, and, since he had a bunch of chores to do at the lake and his own car to drive back, I prayed I could catch him before he left.
But, of course, I couldn’t call him, because I didn’t have a phone. Pay phone? Did they still exist? But the next rest stop was beyond my exit, and then I would be on local roads, where there were no rest stops, much less pay phones.
I kept driving. Kept thinking what would happen if my car died and I had no way to call for help. Kept thinking what would happen if one of our kids had a problem and couldn’t reach me. Kept thinking how frightened Steve would be if he was trying to reach me and couldn’t get through. Kept thinking of all the appointments I had in the coming week, to which I would have to go unplugged. Kept thinking of the texts I wouldn’t receive and the emails I wouldn’t be able to answer on the fly.
I felt naked. I felt frustrated, isolated, unprotected, disconnected. I felt foolish for forgetting to put the phone in my bag – then foolish for having forgotten that I had lived without one for years and could certainly do it again for a week.
But I needed a phone!
So, as I drove on, I considered Plan B, which was to call our neighbor at the lake and ask her to get my cell and put it in the mail. I considered Plan C, which was to pick up one of those limited access, quasi-disposable cell phones – and Plan D, which was to turn around and drive back two hours for the phone.
Which seemed a little silly, since I was nearly home.
I pulled into the garage, unlocked the door and using – yes! – our land line, called Steve. FYI, my husband is an inveterate dawdler. Most of the time, that drives me nuts. But not this time. As it happened, he had dawdled so much that he had just left the house. Devoted husband that he is, he pulled a U-ey, drove back, and got my phone.
Thinking back on it, I’m still slightly appalled. Am I the only one who’s become so dependent on her cell? Have you ever left yours somewhere? Or had it die on you? Or been in a no-bars zone where the thing was no good at all? How did you feel?