Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Talking in a Winter Wonderland


Bill has been bugging me—I mean, asking me—to get my Christmas letter done. I’m getting to it. After all, wasn’t it just Valentine’s Day? As I’ve said in the past, time’s racing by so fast, if I still had a watch with hands on it I could use it for a fan.

But I don’t have a watch anymore; nobody does. We all have cell phones. Who of you imagined, even fifteen years ago, that most of us would be carrying around a ringing, dinging, buzzing umbilical, from which none of us can stand to be separated for more than a few milliseconds? Why, just today I got an important call from Bill.

“Where the heck have you been?”

“At the store. I’m about to start home. Did you need something?”

“Well, no! But you didn’t answer your phone!”

See what I mean? Cell phones are vitally important! Bill wouldn’t have been able to call to let me know he wondered where I was, without one.

Before I go anywhere, I am groping in my pockets, in my bra, in my purse, or wandering aimlessly through the house on a hunt for my phone. I can’t leave home unless I have it, you know. “Call it,” Bill says, “and you’ll hear the ring.”

“I can’t. It’s on vibrate.”

“Well, call it and I’ll mute the TV, and maybe we can hear it hum.”

It’s hard for me to fathom how we’ve become so dependant on these things. People (usually cell phone salesman-type people) say, “Oh, you need one if you’re in an accident.” What for? Every time a tire squeals, police switchboards are inundated with well-meaning cell callers, anxious to put their equipment to good use. After all, it’s somehow validating to have a cell phone, even more so to have a Blackberry (or a dingle berry, as Bill calls them).

“Well, what if you need to call someone?” these same people say. What if I do? Frankly, thus far I’ve been able to resist the overpowering urge to phone President Obama about the price of turnips at the Piggly Wiggly. I’m almost never lost in the wilderness, and anyway, it’s been my experience that the first thing that goes—in the wilderness—is your phone service. Besides, the number one thing the 911 operator is going to ask me is, “Where are you?” and I’m going to say, “Well, that’s why I’m calling.”

For the most part, my cell phone has been handy for playing solitaire while waiting in the doctor’s office, and for downloading ringtones. Oh, and there are those calls from Bill. When he calls, my phone plays the old Conway Twitty hit, ‘Hello, Darlin’’. Of course my cell is frequently buried in my coat pocket, or elsewhere, so I don’t hear it ring until Bill has called me three or four times. When I finally answer it, usually juggling knives on some dangerous, covert mission at Target, he screams, “Where the heck have you been?” And so it goes. It’s so good to know he worries about me. I don’t know how I ever got home safely without his calls.

Kc and I never talk; we text. She has what’s called a ‘Qwerty’ phone, which means it has a tiny keyboard, like a typewriter—each key representing a single letter in the alphabet. My phone, on the other hand, is old-fashioned (it must be a year old) and has a regular phone keyboard, which means I have to ‘type through’ the alphabet to form the correct words. That’s why Kc often receives messages from me that read, “Gi!, Hmw aqe xot?”

Doesn’t matter. She knows what I mean.

Here’s hoping you and your year have been blessed, and that the good Lord recognizes you when you show up in church. As for us, we’re just fine. Life is and has been very good, and we are ever grateful for our blessings—even our cell phones.

Call us sometime.

2 comments:

Cameron L. Maris said...

Great blog, Linda. It's funny, my mother texts me as well, so I automatically read “Gi!, Hmw aqe xot?” as "Hi!, How are you?" :-) Happy Holidays to you and yours.

msum865048 said...

Thanks for the good giggle... you've nailed the cell-phone thing for real... except that I take the opposite view in that I purposely leave the thing behind when I leave the house. If I don't, I feel like I'm on a tether... and I don't have the attention span to phone and drive, so if it rings while I'm on the road I don't answer it anyway.