Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Phone

Well, the verdict is in . . . definitely a hypochondriac. Either that, or a victim of chronic allergies with symptoms (scratchy throat, sinus headache) that arise at about 4:30 every afternoon and are gone by morning. I've decided the cure for this ailment is to just take a Sudafed at about 4:30 every day.

I went to the Verizon store this afternoon to get the family new phones (me, Flamingo Joe, Grandma, Grandpa) and get our contract adjusted downward. Of the 1400 minutes we were allotted under our old contract, we were using 500, so it seemed like there was room to adjust. And we did. But I only had 40 minutes to complete the purchase of 4 new phones and re-do the contract. I swept in there, said here are the four phones I want, here's the plan I want, and I need it all done by 3:30. So three sales reps and forty minutes later I ran out of the store and still didn't make it to Casey's school in time to chat with my friend, which was why I imposed the deadline in the first place. I also left without having any clue how to operate the new phone (I've never had a touch screen before). I needed to call Heidi, but it took me six stop lights to figure out how to unlock the screen. And then tonight, someone called me and I couldn't figure out how to answer the phone -- I kept tapping the green phone symbol, but it wouldn't pick up.

And because I bought Joe a new phone and activated it at the store, Joe's old phone stopped working. At about 7:00 this evening I was getting ready to send out a search party for him because he hadn't gotten home yet and he hadn't called (because he couldn't).

Back when cell phones were just becoming commonplace, my parents both got phones immediately and I never understood that. The live in a small town -- what did they need cell phones for? If mom needed to find dad, she could just call the record room at the courthouse, his office, or Ann (the lady who cut his hair) -- if he wasn't at one of those places, he probably had just left and they would know where he was going. It seemed really silly to me that they would buy cell phones in a town where you could almost stand on the front porch and, if you yelled loud enough, either the other person would answer you or someone else who knew where the other person was would yell back.

Now, however, I understand. I can't just not know where Joe is anymore -- I have to be able to pick up the phone and be certain he will pick up or see that I called and call me right back. It's a level of codependency I never thought I'd see in my lifetime in my own marriage, but here it is staring me in the face. It's not even a trust issue -- it's just a security issue, I guess. And if I can't reach him, like I couldn't tonight, I get a knot in the pit of my stomach and break out in a cold sweat. What if his car broke down and he's standing on the Howard Frankland Bridge and no one will stop and lend him their phone? What if he passed out from caffeeine deprivation at work and his co-workers think he's just taking a nap when he slumps over his laptop?

But most importantly, if I can't reach Joe, how will Grandma know when to get dinner on the table? It's the most important call I make all day and it starts like this: at 5:15, Grandma asks, "Have you talked to Joe today?" She doesn't really want to know if we've engaged in mildly inappropriate banter via Instant Message that day (which we have, or he's accidently engaged [so he claims] in such banter with my assistant who sometimes uses my laptop). What she really wants to know is whether or not I have called Joe yet to ask him what time he'll be home for dinner. So then I make the call, Flamingo Joe gives us his ETA and the dinner preparations begin. It's a good system, but one that doesn't work if Joe doesn't have his cell phone. I wanted to use the small town system for finding your husband, but it doesn't work if you know your husband is either at work (sitting at a desk with a phone that you don't have the number to) or on the Howard Frankland Bridge. And when I stood out on the front porch and yelled, "JOOOOOOE!" I realized I wasn't feeling so good and went in to take a Sudafed.

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