Thursday, November 5, 2009

I love my cell phone

This has really happened: I’m talking on my cell phone and I realize… I can’t find my cell phone. A wave of panic washes over me. I begin searching frantically, all the while continuing to talk. When I finally realize I’m holding my phone in my hand, I’m embarrassed, but relieved.
I admit it – I’m obsessive about my phone. An over-the-hill BlackBerry, it goes with me everywhere. At night, it resides on my bedside table. When I shower, it waits for me on a nearby shelf.  When I walk or hike or shop, it’s in my pocket. And when I can’t find it, even for a moment, I panic.
It’s not like I’m obsessed with talking on it. I don’t have thousands of minutes. I don’t have unlimited texting. I have a Bluetooth but I only use it at home when I’m interviewing someone for a story. But I have become accustomed – some might say addicted - to being able to connect with people anywhere and any time.
I have friends who archly proclaim “Oh, I have a cell phone, but I hardly ever use it,” the same way they would say, “Oh, I don’t watch television;” as if having AND using a cell phone is somehow a weakness or a character flaw.
So, yeah, I am attached. It’s an attachment that started when my daughter was in middle school. My husband and I both worked 25 miles from our home, and we found our first primitive cell phones gave us a valuable connection. We felt safer; she felt safer. And as she grew up, we depended more and more on our phones to keep track of each other (OK, I admit that we used them more than she did for that reason.)
When she went on her senior trip to Mexico during high school, she called us to reassure us she was safe.
When she rolled her pickup truck on an icy mountain road, she called us before she called 911, to tell us she was OK. We got there before the EMTs. (For a while after that, I panicked just a little bit every time she called.)
When she was in Santa Fe, N.M., with a class from her college, she was hit with a debilitating flu. Stuck in a cheap hotel room for five days, she called me often for advice or for company.
One winter night, when I found myself stuck on Vail Pass in a blizzard with a windsheild wiper that broke off in my hand, I called my husband, and he talked to me while I waited for help. When his tire blew out on a mountain pass and he spun out, landing precariously close to a creek, he called me, and I went and picked him up.
But my phone dependency isn't just reserved for emergencies.
I like having that connection. Today when I was walking my dog in the forest nearby, I was pocketless, and I carried my phone. In the forest, it rang. It was my sister, checking in while she walked her dogs. For a while, we walked and talked together.

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