The Phantom Phone
So Friday I went out for a day trip to Boston (a morning meeting and visiting a friend). I packed a bag of stuff. I took my mp3 player, a book (The Road by Cormac McCarthy. So good so far!), two magazines (Time and EW), the (groan) New York Times off my stoop, my cellphone, and some other crap. (I definitely remember putting my cellphone in my bag). I was pretty loaded up. I sent Roscoe off to the doggie day care place and headed to the great state of Massachusetts.
In the cab to the airport, I sort of started digging through my bag to make a cellphone call but I couldn't find my phone. I figured it was buried in there somewhere or trapped in a magazine or something. I decided to really look for it later. Looking for it "later" apparently meant looking for it for the rest of the day. I never found it but never really stopped looking. I went through my bag a minimum of a dozen times. Looking in little zipper pockets (maybe it climbed in there and zipped itself in?) At one point I dumped everything out on a table like a mugger who just stole a pocketbook. I patted down my pockets (cargo pants) countless times. But the phone was gone. I have no idea how it disappeared but there I was in Boston with a few hours to kill after my morning meeting-- and no friggin cellphone.
I was meeting an old friend around 3ish and fortunately I had his phone number memorized (memorizing phone numbers is becoming a lost art for me. I used to be so really good at it too! damn you technology!) I just called him from a payphone old school style (man, payphone companies are shady now, huh?) and told him I'd meet him at this bar called The Village Smokehouse. I ordered a beer a 1PM and listened to Bostoners tawk about the Red Sawx.
At first I was relieved. It was nice being cut off from the world. Different. Distractionless. No laptop. No ringing phone. No 'I can't finish #4! You suck ass!' emails popping up putting me in a mood. I read my book. I read the paper. I sipped Sam Adams. In theory I should have been able to just relax and ignore my out of touch situation.
But my stupid cellphone kept interrupting me all afternoon! It made me crazy to the point where it was disturbing. This is my ring. (I like that ring alot. I don't ever seem to get annoyed by it and I think it's downright cheery.) But while reading my book I'd hear that friggin song off in the distance in my head all day long. Phantom rings. I also had phantom vibrations in my pocket every half-hour or so. Or I'd fake hear something vibrating in my bag. My cellphone calling me from beyond the grave.
And unfortunately there was one person I really actually did need to get in touch with. So my jerky brain would also come up with stupid "solutions" to let me get in touch with that person:
- Just call them from a payphone! (I can't! I don't have
their phone number! It's in the cellphone! Remember?!)
- Fine you can't call them. But you can text them a message or something. (No! I can't! That's stupid. Shut up.)
- I know! Just get to a computer and email their cellphone! There's some way to do that, right!? (Maybe. But I don't have their number!! It's in the phone!!)
- Just call so and so to get their number! (I don't have the first so and so's number! It's in the phone!)
- Well just keep check your voicemail alot. That way you'll know if they call. (I can't check my messages "alot"!!! I don't have a phone!!!)
- Well at least email them to tell them to call you back. (What?! I don't have a computer! And they can't call me back!!)
On and on and on all day long. Phantom nuisances. Dopey brain suggestions. Wondering how the phone disappeared in the first place. When I got home I tore my place apart looking for my cellphone. Calling it from my home number and listening around my apartment all wild eared and hopeful. Listening for a vibration. For my song. But it was gone. The phone officially vanished. Vaporware. Into the ether. Joining up with other lost treasured items from my past. Old wallets. Sunglasses. Keys. My archery patches....
...and the capability to mentally separate from the wired world...