August 13, 2007
celling out
I had no cell phone last week. Much to the disbelief of my mother, who of course attributed the battery failure to some dumb action on my part, such as dropping it in the toilet or baking it into a birthday bundt cake, it simply failed on me. I walked to my car on Tuesday morning, pulled it out of the pocket of my brown dress pants, and the screen was dark. At each successive stoplight I attempted to give it life. I removed its back end, fed it 50 ccs of car charger, stat! and opened and closed its little pink face repeatedly. Nothing worked. When I reached my computer I quickly Googled the closest repair shop. Maryland. Open until 5. Gee, only two states away! The Beltway is a total joy at rush hour! Suddenly it dawned on me: I wouldn’t be able to make it to the repair shop until the weekend. I, Kris, would be cell phoneless for at least a full five days, unreachable after the hour of 5:30 by man and beast and beastlike men. I’d be on my own, just like the old days, when the cumbersome nature of the rotary dial made it a chore to call friends. It’s hard to describe, but a fierce calm passed over me, one I had not known in some time. I was free.

I cannot tell you how comforting this was to me. As the social butterfly who admittedly hates people, I was free to spend my time as I wanted it, free from my cellular tether. I leave the damn thing on silent most of the time that I’m home, when it’s in the deep recesses of my oversized handbag or the couch, but I always know it’s there. And, like the frosted strawberry Pop Tarts did when I once allowed them into my home, it calls to me with a voice strikingly similar to Gollum’s. Kris . . . come hither. . . text Kim and tell her you’re watching Ghost Whisperer. . . AND THAT YOU’VE ALREADY SEEN THIS EPISODE TWICE! I also got to feel a little bit of the phantom limb syndrome that poor Bug likely encounters on a daily basis; I reached for that phone in more ridiculous locations than any woman should admit, realizing with some sadness that, like his hind leg, it was no more. We both spent the week with a little bit of a limp.

So I give you, dear readers, an abbreviated list of those places that I check and/or use my cell phone but absolutely, positively do not have to:

My bed. My cell doubles as my alarm clock, so even though I keep the damn thing on one beep for calls, I crank it up to a level 3 so I can rock out to Kelly Clarkson while I’m hatching. When I didn’t have it last week, I overslept for work, waking up at 8:57 in a cold I-missed-the-final-Bio-exam sweat. Because apparently a woman with a master’s can’t program her 1994 Dream Machine for a 7 am wakeup. Admittedly, my degree is in psychology.

Bars. What’s interesting is that I’m never texting or talking to people I’m meeting out that night. But while tipsy I simply must text and know: Jorge and Mrs. Jorge, does the water go down the drain in the opposite direction in Canada? Meredith, what’s the temperature in the bathroom in your apartment? Kim, is Scott Baio really, like seriously, doing a reality series? No. Seriously.

In the elevator in my apartment building. Where I don’t get reception. And I know it.

The bathroom. Stacy and I will actually announce that we are going to use the commode when we’re speaking to one another, as if this makes this behavior a) acceptable, or b) ACCEPTABLE. I have also used the cell in the tub, which makes me feel very L.A. Law for some reason, given that my cell phone is so huge and archaic and I look absolutely nothing like Susan Dey. I have also been known to brush my teeth while taking a cell call. Because I just love when people do that kind of crap to me.

The vet’s/doctor’s/therapist’s waiting room. I text while sitting in these spots all the time. I’ll often gaily laugh out loud at innocuous content just to confuse and/or make myself the envy of those around me. Then again, I often laugh out loud at the Reader’s Digest when I’m in the therapist’s waiting room. I’m pretty sure that’s led to at least one unwarranted diagnosis.

The movies. I won’t make or take calls, but I do check my phone once or twice during any film to see if I’ve gotten a text or a phone message. Because as you well know, something important could transpire during the 120 minutes I’m otherwise occupied, like my mother requesting 50 pounds of Fresh Step on my next trip to PetSmart, or, you know, a priority call from Jesus. I hear he’s got a sweet friends and family plan.

So yes, I caved. I got a new cell phone yesterday. And I’m already thinking it might be time to bake it into a bundt cake.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have been known to use mine in the tub, but that's only when people call me--not the other way around. Also, I rarely answer my phone. I'm like, "I'll talk to you when I say so."

Blogger Jorge said...

We don't have water in Canada.

It's all frozen.


Blogger JacksGinger said...

Like you in the movies, I also check my phone for no reason when I'm busy doing something else. It's not just things that I don't enjoy (ie waiting rooms), but going out to dinner sometimes I'll have to check my phone just to make sure I didn't get an important message. (I don't actually check my voicemail at least, just flip it open to see if I got any calls/ texts.)

It was really bad when I was checking to see if I got a text while in church. (Granted I was concerned about a friend that was supposed to meet me there and was a no-show, still not an excuse I'm sure. Maybe I WAS waiting for that text from Jesus?)


Blogger Mamma said...

Well I'm glad to know I wasn't being ignored outright!!

Blogger Lola Goetz said...

mine went dead just before we went into the movie theater (harry potter!). and i didn't give it another thought until we got home several hours later.

although, i did reach for it in ace hardware. something about the hardware store really made me want to call my dad.


Blogger Tracy Kaply said...

I use my cell way more in Seattle, but I think that's because they put something in the water here.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

Oh sweetie, the madness! But let's talk about me. And my snazzy Treo. It makes me look important. It also makes me look like an ass. It has this touch screen and my lovely Majorca pearl earring ALWAYS taps the 'Hold' button.




Blogger sue said...

I don't wear a watch but am rather obsessive about time, so use mine frequently as a clock.

Blogger playfulinnc said...

On the potty. totally acceptable.

Blogger Crystal said...

2 things:

1. It's completely impossible to use the cell phone while pooping and get away with it. The acoustics and the plops bouncing off the walls cannot be masked. Not that I've ever pooped and talked on the phone, cos, eww.

2. You, like me, need one of those clocks that wake up and run away from you.

then again, I'd kill that motherfucker inside of 3 days.

Blogger Scarlet Hip said...

I do not have cell phone mania, thank goodness. But I do admit that if I forget it, I have a panic attack, thinking this will be the day that I'm stranded in the middle of the desert with no phone.

I live nowhere near the desert, so these fears are unfounded.

Blogger Ripe for Reading said...

I'm always afraid someone's going to hear me on the potty if I'm on the phone so I try not to chat there too much.

I totally use my cell phone for the alarm in the morn. It's a most irritating alarm, too.

Blogger supergirlest said...

am i the only person in all of life without a cell phone? having one sounds awfully complicated!

Blogger TrappedInColorado said...

Ah HA! So you're one of the ones who opens their cell phone and lets the bright back light glare out and distract me! Grrrrrrrrrrr!!! To the moon Alice!!! :)

Blogger kris said...

OH PLEASE NO. You know me better than that, no? I am SO the woman who covers herself with 18 layers of clothing and popcorn and only then opens up the phone under cloak of darkness. I wouldn't be caught dead lighting that thing up in the middle of the theater. That's SO Union Station AMC. ;)

Blogger Neal said...

Cell phones are the evilest of necessary evils. I dread the day I have to own another one.

Blogger Kate said...

I didn't have a phone until I was 18 and I was fine until I got it. But I feel naked without it. I also use it in useless places, like the elevator with crappy reception, haha.

Blogger Mymsie said...

I use my mobile as an alarm clock too, which some foolish mortals seem to think is odd.

P.S. Terlet phone chat _is_ OK as long as you announce your location. Right? ;)

Blogger Zandria said...

It's true; we just don't realize how much we use that damn thing until we don't have it. :)

Blogger Kim said...

a.) Don't tell anyone I told you this but Shawn loves the Scott Baio show. Seriously.

b.) It was very selfish of you to break your phone and not think of how it would effect me. Don't let it happen again.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, what now? Sorry, I had to flush.

Blogger Paperback Writer said...

That is some serious phone issues!


Blogger nursevl said...

Too funny!!
I often check knowing NO ONE has called me, just in case, though.
I don't like people looking at me or me making eye contact with strangers, so checking my phone makes me look "busy".
Unfortunately, the only time I get calls is when I leave it at home or in the car...........

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