I dropped Max off at my mom’s this morning in order to go into work for a bit. After leaving her house, however, I made a startling realization—I didn’t have my cell phone with me! Apparently, I had left it at home on the kitchen counter! My first instinct was complete and absolute panic. What is going to happen, I wondered, if someone calls me and I don’t answer the phone? What will happen if I am unavailable for the next two hours? The answer was clear: Complete and absolute destruction of my universe. I tried for several minutes to figure out if there was any intelligent reason why I should drive all the way home to get it before going to work. But there was nothing that would stand up in a court of public opinion, so I drove toward the office.
Four years ago I didn’t own a cell phone. I was unavailable often. Frequently. Regularly. Primarily. What happened to me? I wondered as I drove the lonely stretch of highway pondering my freaked-outedness. At least three times during the drive (while fully consumed with thoughts of phone absence) I automatically reached toward the little pocket of my purse thinking of someone I needed to call, only to find it empty. Blast!
By the end of the drive, I had it figured out. Cell phones have turned even non-control freaks (such as myself) into total control freaks (such as myself). In days gone by, there were certain elements of life on planet earth that fell into the Out of Our Control category. In this category you’d find such things as Weather, Natural Disasters, Bjork’s Wardrobe Choices, Embarrassing Things Your Children Say, and Ability To Contact People Whenever You Feel Like It. But when everybody (including those first-grade girls on my street) got their hands on that magnificent shiny piece of technology called cellularphonogenous, we collectively took control of a ginormous part of the universe that was previously untouchable. And we liked it. Plus, we could play Tetris in the bathroom stall, and we liked that too. Perhaps I speak for myself on that one.
After I picked up Max, we headed home. I needed to stop at the grocery store, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was sure I’d missed so many calls that my friends and family would soon be calling the police to drag the river for my remains. I rushed in the door, tripping over Max and clutched my little phone. My dear little phone. The LCD looked at me and blinked “Missed Call”. One call. That’s all. What a relief.
“Yes,” I said to it, “I missed that call, indeed.”
So, the phone is back in my pocket, and the universe is back in alignment. Although, as luck would have it, seconds before I finished this post, the power went out for nearly a full hour resulting in my inability to post this story on the world wide web.
Universe, what are you trying to tell me?