Ah, I remember the good old days. When I was young, and life was easy.
I remember when winters were cold and flashes weren’t so hot.
The good old days.
When the telephone hung on the wall. And stayed there. You could talk all you wanted, but when the conversation was over, you hung the damn thing up and you walked away.
In those beautiful, carefree days, you could go entire hours without touching a phone.
I miss that.
You see, I learned this week that I have become a total slave to that infernal device known as the “cell phone”. I found this out because mine unexpectedly had a massive heart attack and died.
At first I was unfazed by my phone-free state. I only used the damn thing to talk to people or to text once in a while. My old phone didn’t surf the net, take pictures or have a GPS. I didn’t think I’d even miss it!
But as the afternoon wore on, I started to worry. Wouldn’t you know, that was the day my Mom got sick and needed to go back to her doctor for a check of her pneumonia. My brothers with their smartphones were in constant contact with each other as they organized our usual overreacting posse of helpers. My sisters both work all day at computers, so they were able to madly email each other every five minutes to coordinate who would be where when.
I, on the other hand, was busy teaching a bunch of kids about important things like decimal points, and I couldn’t stay at the computer. There was no magic device in my pocket to buzz every time someone wanted to update me on something.
So I worried.
That night it got even worse. Even though I knew that Mom was doing fine, and was safe at home and taking new medications, I wasn’t able to relax. We were having a nice little late afternoon ice/snow storm, and I had to slip and slide my way home.
And I had NO PHONE! Gasp! What if I had slid off the road?! How could I immediately call for help? And how would I know if my kids were all safe as they drove around? They couldn’t call me! And what if Paul was late because of the weather?
It hit me like a ton of bricks: I was out of touch! My heart began to race and I fought back pure panic.
Finally, I made it home, and lit a roaring fire in the old wood stove. I went upstairs to start dinner, nervously eyeing the clock to check for Paul’s safe arrival. As I bustled around, trying to stay busy, my mind wandered (as it often does) to possible disaster. What if the stove malfunctioned and there was a fire? I froze.
We. Don’t. Have. A. Land. Line.
GASP! I couldn’t call the fire department!!!
Paul finally made it safely home, with his beautiful, dependable working cell phone, and I immediately checked on all the kids and called my Mother. All was well. Sort of.
I tossed and turned all night, worried about the fact that it was snowing again, and if school was cancelled I was supposed to find out by getting a robo call from the district. On my cell phone. Which was dead.
Somehow at 3 AM it didn’t even occur to me that I could just turn on TV for the school closings list. Like we used to do in the distant past. Ten years ago.
Anyway, I broke down after all that. I accepted the fact that I am a slave to technology, that the genii cannot be put back in the bottle, and that I will never again be able to drive on a highway without the safety of an instant 911 call right there in my purse.
I bought myself a “go phone” and a prepaid card good for 250 minutes of chat and unlimited texting. Cool.
Today, at lunch time, I made my first actual call on my new phone. I called a local restaurant and asked about making a dinner reservation for the weekend. Then I pushed the button that I thought would end the call, put the phone in my purse and the purse in my desk drawer. Done.
Four hours later, I took the phone out as I got ready to go home. “Huh”, I said. “What’s this?” The little screen was showing the number of the restaurant, and the words “call holding”, and the time. 4 hours and 11 minutes. Wonder what that means?
I saw that I had a voice mail, too, so I checked it. Can you imagine my shock when I heard this?
“This is the “Old Place Restaurant” (name changed to protect the innocent), and we need to speak to an adult at this number! Some children at this number have been making prank calls to our restaurant every 15 minutes for the past 4 hours! Please call immediately and ask for Terry.”
Gulp. So I called. Asked for Terry, prepared to apologize profusely. But as soon as I identified myself as the owner of the guilty phone number, I was informed that “The police are on the other line!!” WHAT?!
I spent the next ten minutes trying to convince Terry and the local cops that the calls were not in fact made by a group of young hooligans, but instead were placed by a cell phone with buttons that weren’t clearly marked!
“See, I thought the little dash thingy meant, like, hang up. I never heard of a little dash thingy meaning keep calling this number forever.”
“But we heard children! They were loud!”
“Um. We were reenacting the Battle of Lexington Green. Its fifth grade.”
Finally, finally I convinced them that I’m not a phone criminal. I am just an old lady who really, really misses the phone hanging on the wall.
And who now needs to go purchase another 250 minutes.