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.

Narrow Cell Phone With ChargerCall 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.

Crisis averted.

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?

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  1. Carol on August 2, 2013 at 7:20 am

    I do understand! My first cell phone was one my husband was required to have for work.he loaned it to me so I could talk to our daughter after her first ultrasound appointment for our first grandchild. I never gave it back. I had had enough experiences of not being in touch with family, especially while traveling that I felt less anxious with a cell. That was 12 years ago. Eight years ago the worst happened. We got a call on the house phone to go to the hospital because our 30 year old son was “having some trouble breathing”. He actually had sudden cardiac arrest and paramedics were trying to revive him. We were able to immediately contact our other kids, some of whom were traveling home for Thanksgiving, and divert them straight to the hospital. Eventually I had to call my daughter with the devastating news that he had died. I don’t think it silly at all to have my phone with me all the time. I have not lost my phone but have left it at work and gone back for it. We have camped in a location where my phone didn’t work. I had to go a mile or two a couple of times a day to a location where the phone worked or my anxiety about my family was too much for me. I am SO thankful for our cell phones!

  2. Gail Blackmer on August 2, 2013 at 9:03 am

    You are not alone! On a recent trip in Charleston, SC, my husband and I parked in a garage (5th floor!), and walked several blocks before I realized my phone was still plugged in in the car charger! It was 94 degrees, and my husband does not like to walk much, so we did visit the church we were almost at, but walked all the way back to the car before our next destination. Guess I don’t have to tell you that this was ” out of the way!” I left my husband about a block away from the garage, and made it up to the car for the phone. A bit more of a hot walk, and we were by the water for a slight cool down before lunch. I even used my phone (now clutched close) to make the reservation! Yes, we ARE phone dependent, even as older adults!

  3. Marsha Shtal on August 2, 2013 at 10:15 am

    A few years ago I had a cell phone that I used as a camera most of the time & a phone occasionally, no email or wifi on it at all. It’s been two years now since I purchased my iPhone. For a couple of months all I was doing was checking out apps, one of my daughters had suggested, & finding others on my own. I completely forgot that it was a phone. How silly!!! To answer your question, yes….. I go into panic mode! As it turns out, I’m searching all over the house at times. Even call my phone from my land line, oh ya, still have that too. There have been times when I still haven’t been able to locate it, because I had shut off the ringer the night before so all those pesky alerts, pings etc. wouldn’t wake me up. Bad move! Like you, I will reach into my purse, in a section where I usually put it, and it’s not there. Semi-panic sets in! Searching, moving things out of the way, still can’t find it. Did I leave it somewhere? Did I remember to put it in my purse? Keep searching. (I’ve put makeup bags into my larger purses, to hold things in place, & make it so much easier to change purses.) A couple of times though, my phone has slipped under those bags & I haven’t found it until the 2nd or 3rd search. So much for my organization idea. 😉

  4. Barbara on August 2, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I must say that I have never gotten attached to my cell phone. I carry it for emergency and most of the time I never turn it on. My daughter and grands laugh at me and my son keeps trying to “add me” to his plan. I tell them I refuse to have a phone that’s smarter than me. I am not against technology. I just hate the constant intrusion. I dislike that people will text each other in the same house (and sometimes in the same room) rather than talk to each other. LOL, maybe someday I will break down and buy a new phone and see the error of my ways, but at 64 I find that unlikely.

  5. Karen Hastings on August 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    HI Barbara,I thought that I had lost my cell phone about 3 years ago.Went back to the restaurant,looked in the car,house and all sorts of places.It didn’t turn up so bought another one 2 days later.{As it turns out,I was due a new phone!}BUT,about 3 weeks later it turned up in the dining room of all places!Sounds like a poltergeist kind of story!So now I really keep track of it.I have a {male}friend who has lost 3 cell phones in 4 years!!!So he ends up getting those track phones where there is no specific plan!

    Have a wonderful weekend,Barbara!

    Peace and blessings,

    P.S.Speaking of lakes,am just finishing up “Wish You Were Here”by Stewart O’Nan.It’s good and an oldie written in 2002!

  6. Alli Olusola on August 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    You are absolutely right! I work in a place where we are not allowed to access our phones during working ours. And even at that, I always keep it with me. I remember during the last Easter when my direct supervisor confiscated my cell phone overnight because he saw it with me. It was indeed an unpleasant experience as I was restless all through till I got it back the next day. Whether we admit it or not, like the insidious disease that creeps up without warning, cellphones have become ‘make’ or ‘mar’ in peoples lives. Yeah, even in Nigeria!

  7. Donna on August 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I despise cell phones. I do carry one but it’s only turned on when I need to make an emergency call which is very rare. Too me they have taken over our lives and have become too important. People feel like they take priority over everything. When I see someone talking on the phone while placing an order at an eating place or paying for a purchase my heart goes out to the employee. To me it’s rude and rudeness seems to be the new norm. Unless it’s a real emergency it can wait until I get home.

  8. René M. Daniels on November 9, 2013 at 2:39 am

    I have literally worked from my cell phone for more than a decade, so I always have it on me. I know this is a common story these days. The scary thing is that we can become so dependent on it, that we can get to a point where we don’t even know our loved ones phone #’s in an emergency! I learned this the hard way… I was on my way to pick up one grandbaby and THANK HEAVENS had not taken the other grandbaby with me. I stopped at a little gas station to fill up before picking up the baby, and set my keys and my phone on the front seat. Shut the door and then realized I had forgotten to open the gas cap. As I turned back, I heard the locking mechanism as my car locked me out of it. I am normally one calm, cool and collected cookie, but for the life of me I did not know what I was going to do. I couldn’t remember my daughter’s cell numbers (they both had new ones) PLUS we’d just moved into a new home mere days before, and I didn’t know the new home # yet. All I could think of was how thankful I was that I didn’t have one, or both, little ones in the car as I was panicking trying to figure out what to do! The gas station attendant was nice enough to let me call the police, and they had me out of there in no time, but what a way to learn that lesson! Don’t become dependent on your cell phone to keep the info for you and MEMORIZE important phone numbers! 😉

  9. Lisa Marie on November 26, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Several years ago if I left my cell phone at home it didn’t bother me…until the day 7 years ago that I left my phone at home and then had a flat tire on the interstate taking my son to school. We sat there for probably about 20 minutes, cars whizzing past us since all assumed that I had already called for help. it was too far and too dangerous to walk with my 6 year old to the next exit so we just sat there. Finally, a patrol officer pulled over. He said that TDOT roadside assistance was on their way. I told him that my husband was a sergeant at another precinct and asked if he could please call him so he (my husband) could call my office and let them know I would be late, etc. Since then when I forget my phone I’m not so concerned about the emails I’ll miss but what if something happens and I need to be able to make an emergency call – ugh! My husband & I that when one of us forgets their phone at home the first thing we do is email the other so we can avoid the “I called you, why didn’t you call me back” bickering that might ensue. I hate being so dependent on cell phones – but it’s the world we live in…

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